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1957, MGM Repertory, 96 min, USA, Dir: Sidney Lumet

Reginald Rose’s 1954 “Studio One” teleplay is brought to the screen by director Sidney Lumet (NETWORK, DOG DAY AFTERNOON) in his behind-the-camera debut. Henry Fonda produces and stars as Juror No. 8, the lone holdout in a racially charged jury deliberation. The all-male cast includes stunning performances by Jack Klugman, Lee J. Cobb (as Fonda’s No. 1 foil), E.G. Marshall, Robert Webber, Jack Warden and Ed Begley Sr. Nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. A near-perfect film, a true American masterpiece, championed by wonderful characters and dialogue. Joseph Sweeney and Voskovec reprise their roles from the 1954 TV broadcast.

1981, Universal, 109 min, UK, USA, Dir: Mark Rydell

Writer Ernest Thompson’s adaptation of his 1979 play gave Henry Fonda one of the movies’ greatest swan songs. In his final performance, Fonda plays Norman Thayer, a retiree living on a lake called Golden Pond with his wife, Ethel (Katharine Hepburn). When their only child (played by Fonda’s real-life daughter, Jane) arrives with her fiancé and his son, the Thayers agree to take the boy for a few weeks while the couple get married and honeymoon. As the summer passes, the cantankerous old man slowly bonds with the teenager, something he was never able to do with his daughter. This warm look at love and reconciliation in the face of advancing age won Oscars for Fonda, Hepburn and Thompson and remains one of the most popular films of the 1980s.

1956, Warner Bros., 105 min, USA, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Henry Fonda plays real-life jazz musician Emanuel Balestrero, an innocent man who is one day sucked into a whirlpool of circumstantial guilt and left to drown in New York’s criminal justice system. This seldom-seen gem by director Alfred Hitchcock, a grim orphan amongst his glossy 1950s confections, was shot entirely on-site in the locations where the story actually happened, and it expertly draws the viewer into the nightmare of the falsely accused. Hitchcock was famously paranoid of anything and everything to do with the police, and those fears reach their zenith of expression here. With Vera Miles and Anthony Quayle excellent in supporting roles.

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