12 Angry Men (1957)

The ekphrastic word-image at judgment





12 Angry Men. Ekphrasis. Enargeia. Amplificatio. Cinema


This essay focuses on the imagetic power of the word as a central element of the film 12 Angry Men (1957), directed by Sidney Lumet, with a screenplay by Reginald Rose from his writings and TV special (CBS, 1954, directed by Franklin Schaffner). The aforementioned film starred Henry Fonda (Davis character), among others. This approach is discussed based on the rhetorical concept of ekphrasis, a conceptual dimension already used in film analysis studies, especially by Pethö (2010), Elleström (2010), Killander et al (2014), Heffernan (1993, 2015), Gonçalo (2017) and Clüver (1998, 2019). Thus, the focus of this essay is to interpret how the cinematographic and filmic resources made by Lumet dialogue with the vast rhetorical tradition of ekphrasis. Among the considerations of this essay, it is highlighted that the film under analysis is an exemplary piece of a “word cinema”, that is, through rhetorical-cinematic resources of ekphrastic orientation, this filmic work produced, through the discursive conduction of the protagonist in opposition to the rest of the panel of judges, that in flashbacks, he reconstructs crime scenes to analyze the murder on trial. 


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1. Films cited

Lumet, S. (Director). Fonda, H.; Rose, R. (Screenwriters). (1957). 12 Angry Men. Los Angeles CA: Orion-Nova/ United Artists.

Kiarostami, A. (Director). (2007). Rug. Iran.




Como Citar

Sales, H. B. da S. (2022). 12 Angry Men (1957) : The ekphrastic word-image at judgment. Revista 2i: Estudos De Identidade E Intermedialidade, 4(5), 47–61. https://doi.org/10.21814/2i.3758