Lumet Laments State of Film-Making, Fears Schlock Will Become Standard

A world dominated by MTV and bad movies--that's what Hollywood director Sidney Lumet believes Americans have to look forward to.

"What I see down the road is MTV expanding and taking over the world," said Lumet in a presentation last night as part of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals Directors' Series.

After a showing of "The Verdict," a film directed by Lumet, the actor-turned-director told an audience of 70 at the Hasty Pudding that movies will only get worse in the future.

"I do think movies are getting worse," he said, adding that the film industry suffers from bad scripts and wasted talent.

"I feel this is particularly dangerous because so many idols are made by the teeny-boppers and then thrown away three years later," Lumet said.

Lumet, who said he works a minimum of 14 hours a day while filming a movie, has directed films for over 30 years, including "Network," "Deathtrap," "Long Day's Jouney Into Night," and "The Wiz." His latest film, "The Morning After," starring Jane Fonda, is scheduled for release this Christmas.

Lumet said that any director working with Paul Newman, who plays an embattled lawyer in "The Verdict," must be able to draw the actor out ofthe part-time race car driver.

"Paul is so gorgeous that they threw him rightinto leading men parts, and he is uncomfortablewith that," Lumet said. "He is best at characterparts like in "The Verdict," and that is thechallenge I faced directing him."

After a long acting career and a stintdirecting television shows, Lumet began directingfeature films in 1957 with thecritically-acclaimed "12 Angry Men," which starredHenry Fonda.

Lumet said his directing has benefited from hisacting experience. "I've never had any problemwith so-called difficult actors because I thinkthey feel I know my job," he said