Newman amazing as drunken lawyer in story of redemption... (by Don-102)
The title of this movie is deceiving. THE VERDICT suggests a courtroom drama, something like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, or INHERIT THE WIND. It does have some riveting court scenes, but what happens outside of court and to Paul Newman is the real attraction here. The title not only refers to the inevitable decision of the important case of the film, but also to how the Newman character is going to live the rest of his life. Should he sell out and take the easy settlement, or take the highly regarded archdiocese of Boston to court for real justice. These are the questions Newman must face in this <more>
profound drama that seems more like a picture of the 70's than an 80's film.Director Sidney Lumet has dealt with the legal system before in his first film, 12 ANGRY MEN. He takes it to a more personal level and Paul Newman, one of the finest actors of the past 40 years, is the person to do it. He is a legend and he bares his soul as attorney Frank Galvin, a lonely, corrupt drunk whose license to practice law is hanging by a thread. Jack Warden plays his trusty assistant who gets him a case that could help Frank change his life. Warden, however, has had enough.Newman plays an excellent drunk, even cracking an egg into an 8am beer to start his day. This is a dim looking movie, shot during a cold winter in Boston. There are no great shots, or even any emotionally-rousing speeches, but this is Lumet's style. It is plodding and we see into the life of a lawyer on the ropes. James Mason is perfect as the slimy defense lawyer. Newman is constantly underestimated because of past failures. He is a drunk, but he still has some tricks up his sleeve.NOTE: Look closely at the closing argument given by Newman. In the background, you can glimpse a then-unknown Bruce Willis.
This one really isn't to be missed, certainly among the best of the courtroom dramas. The acting. Well, first of all, nobody is bad. The most nearly negligible performance is by Wesley Addy, who at least looks the part of the elegant doctor and who is a competent actor. The other principals are outstanding. Charlotte Rampling with that odd face -- sultriness imposed kicking and screaming upon boniness -- is unusually good and even manages to project a kind of believable guilty remorse, which has never been her strong suit. James Mason is almost unflappable as Concannon, attorney for the <more>
defense. Marvelous, the way he puts quotation marks around the word "expert" while questioning the plaintiff's witness. Edward Binns is stolid as the savvy but moral bishop who wants to wrap things up without making waves. "What is the truth?", he asks Newman. Jack Warden is plumply likable, as always. He's seems to have aged more than Binns, with whom he'd worked a quarter of a century earlier in "Twelve Angry Men." Lindsay Crouse in a small but crucial role is appealingly Irish. Milo O'Shea is sliminess itself. I don't know why, perhaps his impish accent, but there is always something amusing about him, as if unable to quite shake what Erving Goffman called "role distance," the knowledge that he's playing a part accompanied by an awareness of the absurdity of doing so. Even Bruce Willis is in this, playing a visitor to the courtroom. I was an atmosphere person in a Boston courtroom too, in "From the Hip" -- a far superior movie. Ask anybody. Ask my mother. And Paul Newman is flawless. Robert Redford was supposed to play Frankie Galvin, but he wouldn't have been up to the part. The role requires the compelling anguish that Newman brings to it, and he does it perfectly. Redford is much too cool for that. I will mention just one scene of Newman's that is emblematic. He stands in his darkened office -- Warden watching soundlessly from the background -- and calls the defendants' law firm about a settlement they have already withdrawn. He paces around talking into the phone, hardly able to breathe, congested with not just mucous but self hatred, cajoling them, pounding on the desk with his knuckles, filled with an empty bravado. Redford couldn't do it. Practically nobody could do it.Almost everything fits together perfectly in this film. Sidney Lumet opens with a shot of Newman alone in silhouette playing a pinball machine in a Boston bar, drinking beer. The pinball game serves as a token for the trajectory of his life during the course of the film. Wardrobe: first-rate. How "New England." Multi-layered dark clothing, in Newman's case black , woolly and fussy. Sound: excellent. Little noises, hardly noticeable, form almost a background score. The old wooden floors creak when people step on them. An example of one or two good creaks: the scene in Concannon's office when he is welcoming Laura back to the law. Twirled-up telephone lines squeak when someone pulls on them. The tinkling of ice cubes in liquor glasses. The heavy breathing of nervous or defeated people. The slamming of ancient desk drawers. Garbage trucks groaning and whining in the city streets at dawn. Production design: as good as it gets. Everything looks old, as if it has been used and lived in for years, not shabby but burnished with age, all mahogany wood and scarlet carpets. Lighting and photography: up there with the best. Most scenes are dark -- it's midwinter in Boston -- but not too dark, cleverly lighted. The snow in the streets is literally blue, as if it had just leaped out of an impressionist landscape. Tree branches glisten with moisture on slick night-time streets. Tinsel draped along a bar ceiling twinkles with fraudulent joy. The weakness? The movie is so good I hate to mention it, but the script leaves something to be desired. It almost betrays the characters. I don't mind the legal absurdities so much. Okay, so things would never really happen this way. The judge would have to grant a continuance and so forth. It's not so much that as the motivation and the set speeches that are bothersome, especially Newman's, and they're critical. The banter and small talk are fine. But Newman's conversion from a drunken, cynical ambulance chaser to a principled attorney of reawakened morals in the course of two-minute photo session with a comatose patient is patently unbelievable. Where did all that conscience if that's what it is? suddenly come from? He flops backwards as if stunned. Why? The script does its best to back up his epiphany. The images of his patient develop as a real person, not just a dollar sign, on the Polaroid photos, a mirror image of what's going on in his mind. But as Warden repeatedly points out, his job is to win some money for his clients so they can leave their comatose sister in good care and get on with their lives in Tucson. Instead he turns down the church's offer because he sees a trial as a challenge to his personal pride, as a "means of redemption". Is that kind of pride a mortal or a venial sin? He loses sight of what the whole legal process is about because of this self-involvement. It wouldn't be so bad if he realized this but in fact he never gives it a thought.Finally, Newman's summation: it sounds as if it had been put together by some high school kid whose homework assignment was to write an essay of at least two hundred words about "what life means to me." "I believe there is justice in our hearts," says Newman, more to himself than to the jury. No kidding.None of this criticism can subtract from all the other virtues of the film. It's among the best of its kind.
I've always believed that actors are drawn to courtroom material because of the inherent conflict within them makes for good drama and good parts. They're quite a few of them in The Verdict.This has always been my favorite Paul Newman film, it's the one he should have won the Oscar for. His Frank Galvin is not the noblest of creatures, he's a once promising attorney now an alcoholic ambulance chaser. But the skills are still there and he shows them battling tremendous odds. Thirty years earlier Frank Capra could easily have made this the subject of one of his populist <more>
dramas.Newman gets great support from an outstanding cast. James Mason, Jack Warden, Charlotte Rampling, Joe Seneca deliver some outstanding performances. The one I particularly liked here was Milo O'Shea as the corrupt and biased judge. Most of the great courtroom dramas have been about criminal cases. The Verdict was a landmark film that set the stage for the success of other great films about civil cases, including A Civil Action and Erin Brockovich. Those I don't think would have been made but for the critical and popular success of The Verdict.Paul Newman was never better on screen.
an old story, an important question, a great performance by a great actor (by blanche-2)
I saw "The Verdict" when it was released in 1982 and just watched it again. It is amazing what of the film I retained in memory. Most of what I remembered was the sheer brilliance of Paul Newman. In seeing it the second time, I'm 24 years older, I've worked for attorneys, I've had an experience with the justice system. And still, what I take away from "The Verdict" is the sheer brilliance of Paul Newman. After Matthew McConnaughey made "A Time to Kill," he asked his agents if he could meet Paul Newman. I guess someone told him they were similar. <more>
Newman said to him, "This is a time to not take yourself seriously and your work very seriously." When Matthew McConnaughey has a 50+ year career, you'll talk I'll be gone - but it's evident that Paul Newman takes his work very seriously indeed."The Verdict" is an old story - the drunken attorney who takes a case -think "The People Against O'Hara" for one - but this one has a stunning cast which includes Jack Warden, James Mason, Charlotte Rampling and Lindsay Crouse. And it asks one of life's great questions - what do you do when losing is just not an option? Drunken, disillusioned, ambulance-chasing Frank Galvin takes a slam-dunk hospital negligence case thrown to him by an investigator friend Warden . His expert witness tells him he can win. So Galvin doesn't tell his client about a lowball offer, takes the thing to trial, loses his star witness, hires a pathetic expert, is reported by his client for failing to give them the offer they would have happily taken - simply put, there's no paddle but if he doesn't get down the river, any hope of reconstituting his life is over. Gone. David Mamet's script stacks everything against Frank but when you're fighting for your life, failure is not an option.Newman is a wonder with his loser posture and hyperventilation and his desperateness. It's in his voice, it's on his face, it's in his smile, it's in his shaking hands. He's up against James Mason and his huge law firm, a smug, well-dressed bunch who will stop at nothing to win. One might think this type of firm is a cliché; it isn't. One of the characters says it best - "You have no loyalty to anyone, you don't care who you hurt. You're all whores." Unfortunately in real life, all attorneys are pretty much the same, but at least in film we occasionally are shown a decent one. When this film was made, the public had not yet been subjected to the Dream Team, the Robert Blake Case, the Menendez Brothers. But even today, knowing better, you can't help but buy into Newman's frantic sincerity.The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent, with top honors going to Mason's smooth Concannon and Lindsay Crouse, who gives us the most powerful five minutes of the film with her magnificent performance as the admission nurse.Is it a manipulative film? As hell. Is it feel good? You betcha. But take it from someone who knows an unfortunate truth - that justice is for the rich who pull in favors and have the money to fight, everyone lies their teeth off, and the jury system is sad - if I can be swept away by "The Verdict" and by Paul Newman's performance another Oscar he was cheated out of - you're gonna eat it up.
One of the Best Courtroom Dramas of Cinema History (by claudio_carvalho)
In Boston, the former successful lawyer Frank Galvin Paul Newman is presently a divorced and decadent alcoholic ambulance chaser, searching funerals in the obituary to get new clients. His friend and former professor Mickey Morrissey Jack Warden brings one client to Frank, Deborah Ann Kaye Susan Benenson , who reports that her sister lost her baby in the delivery and had brain damage in the St. Catherine Labouré Hospital due to the medical malpractice.Frank meets Dr. Gruber Lewis Stadlen , who tells that the woman received wrong anesthetic and drown in her own vomit due to negligence <more>
of Dr. Marx and the anesthetist Dr. Towler Wesley Addy . Further, he offers to witness in court and Frank sees the chance of going to trial against the Archdiocese of Boston and win the case. Frank goes to the hospital to take pictures of Deborah's sister and he is affected by the vegetative state of the woman. Out of the blue, Bishop Brophy Edward Binns summons Frank and offers an endowment of US$ 210,000.00 to drop the case. However Frank sees the chance to bring justice to the family; save his career and earn respect and he does not accept the small fortune.Frank calls Mickey to help him in the investigation, but he finds difficulties, since his unethical opponent Ed Concannon James Mason anticipates his actions and Dr. Gruber mysteriously travels to the Caribbean to spend a week on vacation and Judge Hoyle Milo O'Shea tries to force him to accept the settling. Meanwhile Frank meets the gorgeous Laura Fischer Charlotte Rampling in a bar and they have a love affair. But when Mickey seeks cigarette in her purse, he makes a discovery that will hurt Frank."The Verdict" is one of the best courtroom dramas of cinema history with one of the best performances of Paul Newman. Directed by Sidney Lumet, "The Verdict" is also the third work of the talented David Mamet that wrote the great screenplay with an unusual open end for an American movie.I saw this film in the 80's in the movie theater; than on VHS and today I have just seen on DVD and I realize that after almost thirty years, this film has not aged. The magnificent cast has top-notch performances and I love Charlotte Rampling in this film, who is also very elegant and beautiful. My vote is nine.Title Brazil : "O Veredicto" "The Verdict"
Having watched The Verdict at least a half-dozen times since its release, I finally picked up a DVD copy of it. Paul Newman and the rest of the cast are nothing short of outstanding. His portrayal of an alcoholic has-been lawyer is right on the mark, along with the challenges and recovery he undergoes while rendering service on the trail case. My background is in anesthesiology and I can say that the aspects regarding the profession were given taking very little in the way of "literary license." These aspects are very close to how things really can happen. This is not a Friday night <more>
movie meant to let you sit back and be entertained. This is a Saturday night movie when you've gathered your wits after a long week and you're prepared to watch a dramatic endeavor that challenges you to think about what you would do if you found yourself in a similar situation.
maybe not one of the very best I've seen from Lumet, but from Newman... (by Quinoa1984)
Sidney Lumet reaches into a certain style in this film that took me a few minutes to, if the word is right, adjust to. One might almost think the way he keeps the camera on a character or goes for the shots keeping the characters far away long-shots or in dark spaces when not in the courtroom or seemingly small in the scope of the areas around then, as detached. It is, but there-in lies his talents as a director, by letting the acting- slow but very sturdy and all based on David Mamet's script also not one of his very best, but then again different from his plays . It's not a <more>
great film by the director as some have gone to lengths to write about, but it is one that is resonating further as I write this, and does successfully dig into further what it means to be a lawyer, or just trying to live, when odds are stacked against you. I'm almost reminded of a European director here, searching under the obvious in the story- points of which in the case that could just as well be on an OK episode of Law & Order- doing more of a character study than a full-on courtroom drama.It helps, however, that Paul Newman is at the top of his game here, giving a performance that is textured, if that's a word to use as well, and kind of sad. He's playing Frank Gavin as much of a tragic figure as a real human being here, and there's a scene where he is in his office at a big moment of doubt "there is no other case, there is no other case". Newman is able to tap into what Lumet and Mamet have in the material superlatively, as if he knows how this character thinks. The early scenes show him as a low-level guy, ambulance chaser, who gets a case of a malpractice of a woman. In one of the most crucial and successful scenes in the film for both director, writer and star , Gavin takes a couple of Polaroids of the girl in the hospital, seemingly just doing his work, but then has a pause, and the photos come into focus. This kind of change-of-thought has been done in other dramas to be sure, but here it really clicks with the pace, the mood and timing from Newman, and how this situation is given room to breathe.If the rest of the film doesn't follow this same pattern it's not necessarily a full-on crutch. The courtroom scenes themselves are very good, with James Mason among other British character actors convincing in their roles of the more 'weighty' side of the court. Jack Warden adds some presence too as Gavin's partner and adds a memory of Lumet's own classic 12 Angry Men . Only the sub-plot between Newman and Rampling seems just slightly off. Her character is necessary for the film, and there are one or two excellent scenes with her in it particularly the one with him feeling most shaky before the trial . But her part is that of a more conventional picture, and her motivations are only made so clear as to not be totally believable. The final scene between her and Newman is maybe the best out of all of them, but it goes without saying that it's mainly a credit to him and Lumet, a kind of catharsis that is laid on that does add a fine point.The Verdict is not really one of those films that is "over-rated" in the scope of things, and it's possibly more of the deserved Oscar nominated turns for Newman when compared to The Color of Money good, not great there . It's worth seeing again, even as it is a different kind of courtroom picture, where the good and evil in man is not as revealed as in Lumet's first feature, but there are some poignant scenes of the need of redemption for a broken person.
The Verdict is a pretty good film. I would not say it is the best courtroom drama of all time as others have said see "A Few Good Men" with Tom Cruise . Nor would I say that it is Newman's best film - it doesn't have that upbeat, cool, comic quality that characterizes many of his films such as "Cool Hand Luke", "Butch Cassidy..." and more recently, "Where the Money Is", Overall it is a pretty good film - 6/10.The one major error in the plot of the film that I noticed was the timing of the incident that the trial was all about. In Kaitlin <more>
Costello's testimony she states that she was the admitting nurse in 1976. The check that Laura Fischer receives from Edward J. Concannon is dated February, 1982 same as the release year of the movie . That would make the operation six years earlier. However, several times in the film it is mentioned that the "operation" took place "four years ago". So within the film, there is a discrepancy of two years from the "operation" to the trial.
It'll be difficult to find a better courtroom drama. (by Councillor3004)
"The Verdict" has to be called one of the finest courtroom-law dramas of all time, certainly a movie which deserves more recognition than it actually received over the course of the years since its publication. While the plot itself remains rather grounded and straight-forward without any particularly groundbreaking elements, Paul Newman's masterful performance as well as the great supporting actors and actresses are what helps this drama in succeeding at depicting what it aims to depict.Newman plays an attorney who needs to pull himself together from his drinking problem in <more>
order to win a lawsuit surrounding the case of a woman suffering severe brain damage at a hospital. It should come as no surprise that Newman completely immerses himself in the role in a way only Paul Newman can be expected to. The dialogues are another main part of the movie's most intriguing aspects, flowing so well together that it's almost impossible to lose attention of what's happening. At its heart, the movie is not just a courtroom drama, it's about humans dealing with their personal conditions and problems, and it's a movie which knows how to form a bond with viewers and keep them connected to the characters.Sadly, the movie has not reached a status as a classic of the 1980's. Perhaps it simply was not memorable enough to most viewers, or perhaps it is too fine a movie in a decade remembered mostly for action movies, horror flicks or comedies. However, if you love watching a great performance in a great movie, then "The Verdict" cannot be recommended highly enough.