However, I saw the film again last night on Turner Classic Movies (and stayed up until well after midnight to watch it, trading sleep for artistic sustenance) and I was struck be something that seemed so obvious, yet had always eluded me in past viewings. I was struck by the use of metaphor in the film. I guess that I had never seen it quite that way before as I was content to watch a simple, yet exciting play unfold. But last night was a revelation. The three metaphors that most jumped out at me are as follows: 1) The lighting. In order to simulate the growing darkness of the storm out the window, the lighting was slowly turned down through the film until it became obvious that the lights in the room would have to be turned on. When Juror-1 turns the lights on, the whole room changes. As the darkness had crept in, the room had become more and more hostile. Yet, when the light came on, most of the characters' attitudes change to more genial manor. The lights comes on after Juror-8 has made most of his points and it seems the light is the symbolic turning of the Jury.
2) The cinematography. The direct deliberately changed his lenses in the camera through the shoot to make the walls of the Jury Room seem to close in on the Jurors. This is a nice physiological trick, but it seemed to me to be more. Notice how, the closer they get to a hung jury, the closer they come to Juror's #-3, -4, and -10 simply declaring themselves hung, the closer the walls get. But in the final scene in the room, when they are all leaving, the camera lens reverts back to the proportions used at the beginning of the film. The room is big and airy again. I like the symbolism of of the room, representing the weight of the defendant's life, closing in on them.
3) (My favorite) The Rain. Prior to the storm starting, all of the Jurors have voted the way they do at the end except for #'s 3,4 & 10, all of whom are carrying "baggage" of their own. #-4 is a man possessed of intellect and sees himself as above the other's mentally. #-10 has years of racism blinding him. And #-3 has the memory of his failed relationship with his son. Then it begins raining, hard. Juror-10 has his great scene and simply self-destructs, in the process letting go of his racism, at least for the moment. Juror-4 undergoes the "eyeglasses" scene and lets go of his self-assumed intellectual superiority. And Juror-3 (Lee J. Cobb is the MAN!) launches into that most famous scene, finally letting go of his anger toward his own son. As soon as they release their own personal demons, the truth become evident to them, the rain, as it were, having washed their souls clean. No sooner is it has #-3 completed his transformation then it stops raining...and the sun begin to peak through the darkness. This is GENIUS film making! In the end, maybe that is way I love this film so much: each time I watch it, there is something new to find. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.