Kenyon Hopkins‘ delicate musical score for 12 Angry Men creates a counterpoint mood to the film’s heated and acrimonious jury deliberations. It could be a score for a film about an elderly woman living in a musty old house with eight or nine cats and too much clutter. Stillness, solitude, lament. A portrait of who the jurors are within themselves, before and after the shouting.
Hopkins (1912 -1983) composed in a moody jazzy vein. His music didn’t surge or cascade — it sprinkled as if from a garden hose. He also created the scores for Baby Doll, The Strange One, The Fugitive Kind (directed by 12 Angry Men‘s Sidney Lumet), Wild in the Country (the final half-serious Elvis Presley film), The Hustler (Hopkins’ jazziest and most downbeat Manhattan-ish score), Lilith, Mister Buddwing and This Property Is Condemned.