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I certainly would not have watched this film if I had not known the original, the ingenious "12 Angry Men", directed by Sidney Lumet. This German TV film was made only six years later and it is almost as great as the original, mostly because of the wonderful cast, minor changes in the script and because it focuses on one setting only: the room of the jury. This creates a claustrophobic atmosphere, which is needed to understand the tension between all the characters. As far as the cast is concerned, I liked Siegfried Lowitz, Mario Adorf and Ralf Wolter in particular, but the other actors gave convincing performances as well. By the way, there is another TV remake from 1997 starring Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott, which is not only in colour but in my opinion even more compelling than Sidney Lumet's film. But since the other ones are exciting, too, make sure you watch one of them.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Die zwölf Geschworenen" is a German black-and-white film from 1963, so this one is already over 50 years old and it is a German television film that is basically the same story like the American classic "12 Angry Men". It runs for 110 minutes and features a handful actors that are still alive today surprisingly, such as Mario Adorf as the baseball-obsessed brute or Ralf Wolter who is known for his Winnetou works or Swiss actor Lukas Ammann, who is 103 today. And among the deceased, Siegfried Lowitz is known too and maybe others as well, such as Robert Graf (father of Dominik), who plays the most important character in here, but sadly died shortly after this film came out. I myself like the original American film without being a huge fan and this is also how I would describe my approach to this German movie. It was a good watch for the most part. I liked that, on some occasions, they tried to bring in new story points without going too far away from the original. Some of it worked well and added interesting new aspects, some of it added very little only. It's probably entirely subjective what you will like and not like. It may be a good idea to check this one out briefly after seeing the Henry Fonda movie. Overall, I give this film we have here a thumbs-up. The late 1950s/early 1960s weren't that great in terms of German(-language) films, but this one here is a bit of an exceptions. Worth checking out.
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