In my 3.12.06 rave review of Sidney Lumet‘ s Find Me Guilty (Freestyle, 3.17), I wrote that the courtoom drama “is being sold the wrong way — the one-sheet and the trailer are telling you it’s a jaunty mob-guy comedy, a kind of farce, and the music toward the end of the film tries to convey this also, and this feels like a sell-out to the moron trade. Is everyone listening? The advertising is dishonest .”
And ineffective, I could have added two or three weeks later. The critically-hailed film only brought in less than $2 million worldwide.
But now, over eight months later, there’s a ninth-inning attempt by Guilty producers T.J. Mancini and Bob DeBrino to persuade critics and Academy voters to reappraise Lumet’s film as the superbly focused, well-layered entertainment that it is. They’re doing this intially by issuing a new one-sheet that represents what it actually is, as opposed to the light-hearted goof-off that distributor Bob Yari tried to sell it as. I’ll be posting the new art later this afternoon, but a piece by L.A. Times writer Bob Welkos says it “shows Diesel looking positively Perry Mason-like in a courtroom, and banners a number of rave reviews.'”
Mancini says he’d also like to send out screeners to Academy members as well as members of the various guilds, but he also says that Yari’s ongoing lawsuit with the Academy over his being elbowed off the list of Crash producers last year is interfering with this effort. Yari Film Group spokesperson Susie Hayasaka that the lawsuit is only preventing the mailing of screeners to Producer’s Guild (PGA) members. Otherwise, she says, “We are very supportive of Find Me Guilty…we’re very proud of it, and we want to do everything we can to remind people of its quality.”