One of the first books I ever read on the art of filmmaking was Sidney Lumet's 'Making Movies". It was the perfect introduction to a world that I wanted to be a part of. It was level-headed and even-keeled and didn't veer away from a life spent in the craft of telling stories in pictures. Sidney Lumet was a writer's director - a true story teller. Unlike many directors that want to create a style that leads the audience to wonder about the 'auteur' behind the camera, Lumet always put story and performance first. As a director he was always transparent and unseen. The only way you could know you were seeing a Lumet picture was that it was so good.
There are many great films to rhyme off - Serpico, 12 Angry Men, Fail-Safe, The Verdict, Dog Day Afternoon, The Pawnbroker and Network. Every one of these films enunciate Lumet's great contribution to filmmaking - all were great stories and all featured memorable performances. Lumet had an ear for great material and he made those scripts into great films. Network is the only film I know of that credits the writer with the title card 'by Paddy Chayefsky''. Even if this was a stipulation from Chayefsky, you always get the sense that Lumet was a true collaborator. He respected the talent of those he worked with and he got the most out of it. He was the greatest journey-man director of his time. He will certainly be missed and our only consolation is that he left us so many great films to revisit. For this he will live on for a very long time.