A Puerto Rican slum kid is on trial for the murder of his father, an open and shut case as far as members of all-white mostly middle aged jury is concerned. As the restless tribunal settles into the jury room to deliberate, anxious to depart on the mercilessly hot summer day, one lone juror insists on respecting the defendant's right of due process and thoroughly examining every bit of evidence. For his feature film debut Sidney Lumet took his know how from an early career in television and, through the brilliant use of lighting, close ups, and camera angles, the benefit of a tried and tested group of veteran actors, and an enlightened, informative microcosmic treatise on the legal system by Reginald Rose, transformed a one-set story into one of the finest dramas ever put to film. Atop the fine cast (without forgetting to mention a supremely composed turn from a hostile and bigoted Lee J. Cobb) stands Henry Fonda in one of his most nobly idealistic and memorable performances.
**** out of ****