By Corey Quinto-
This 1982 courtroom classic portrays Frank Galvin (Paul Newman), a down on his luck lawyer trying to get his career back on track, who takes on medical malpractice case that will send him on the journey unlike any other. Along the way, Galvin must learn to overcome his alcohol addiction so he can defeat his past and move forward in his assigned case. Paul Newman’s portrayal of the character is one of the finest performances from his career. Galvin is hard to take seriously at first but as the movie goes on, you’re rooting for him to succeed. Director Sidney Lumet uses all of his elements from his first movie, 12 Angry Men, but digs a little bit deeper through acting, setting, and screenplay to make a far more superior movie.
In June 2008, The Verdict was ranked number four out of ten on the American Film’s Institute’s list for best courtroom dramas. In addition, the role was heavily in demand and topnotch actors such as Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voigt, Roy Schneider, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Robert Redford all auditioned for the leading role as Frank Galvin. Frank Sinatra even offered to take the role for no pay.
Many thought The Verdict was a remake of the 1946 Hollywood black-and-white film also titled the same, however it was not. The 1946 production was from Warner Bros. whereas this version was produced through 20th Century Fox.
There were many inconsistencies throughout the film. In an actual court of law, a judge would have shown the use of unethical conduct and subjected the lawyers to disbarment. When Galvin’s delivers his summation, “Today you are the law” he used a common tactic called jury nullification. However, in Hollywood, the truth can sometimes be a deception simply to sell tickets at the box office.
The production for The Verdict was shot in forty-three days and the majority was filmed on a sound stage in New York City, even though the movie was set in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Verdict received five Academy Award nominations including Best Actor for Paul Newman, Best Director for Sidney Lumet, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for James Mason, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay. Unfortunately the film failed to win any Oscars and went home empty handed.