The light, the heat…

It’s HOT! Not just in the Texas Panhandle (which I know from everyone’s weather status updates), but also up north in Ontario. People who are not from the Texas Panhandle believe conversing about weather indicates the conversation is dwindling and becomes the only commonality worth talking about. At home, I had friend or foe asking about the weather in Ontario this time of year out of genuine interest because I’m 78% certain people believe I live in an igloo. To answer the question: humid and hot. I thought about doing a Christmas in July type post to cool my readers off, but then I thought… let’s join characters on film in their suffering!

There are obvious choices like that lovely pseudo-remake in the 1980s of Double Indemnity (1944) entitled Body Heat (1981). But, don’t worry, I can’t even put myself through that kind of agony. I will watch anything once (well, almost anything) and I have seen Body Heat for a class. On the same vein as Body Heat, I think an interesting topic involving extreme weather is courtroom dramas and the presence of heat. In an interrogation room, there’s the heat from the lamplight boring down on suspects and sucking truth from the beads of sweat trickling down their face. But in the court room, the heat also influences the decision-making process of judges and jurors alike.

One film in which I find the presence of heat to have many meanings is Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957). The heat could represent a number of things. First of all, heat conjoins with the title. If these men are angry, heat is commonly associated with temper… and who can forget the scene where Juror #3 loses his mind?:

cobb12AngryMen

Secondly, heat is a bargaining tool. Henry Fonda (America’s Man) is trying to point out the severity of dishing out the wrong sentence to a young man by questioning evidence. Think about being in a stuffy room, the fan is broken, and tensions are high. Minds become weaker in the heat and patience runs thin. The heat plays to Juror #8’s (Fonda) advantage. As long as he continues to convince jurors to see his point of view, the heat becomes more intense and influential on weakening the wills and minds of the other jurors. I believe the heat was his greatest asset in creating the perfect amount of discomfort to change minds.

Tomorrow, you’ll hear about another courtroom classic… Inherit the Wind! (In which everyone wished the wind was present to cool them off…)

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