Wednesday, March 16, 2011
the verdict

The film, "The Verdict", is a 'must see'. No, it's not a new film, but in truth, it is so beautifully done, it is a timeless piece of work...Except, they don't make films like this anymore.....It is a film that "stands the test of time", in my opinion.....The script, the direction and the actors are all, superlative. This film was up for a number of important Academy Awards, for 1982. Best Picture; Best Director--Sidney Lumet; Best Adapted Screenplay, David Mamet; Best Supporting Actor--James Mason, and....Best Actor---Paul Newman.....and, winning none of the above.......And, for me, I think this was the greatest role of Paul Newman's career. It is such a beautifully layered and nuanced performance. It is about an over-the-hill alcoholic ambulance-chasing lawyer who will do anything to get a case, but who has really lost his 'mojo'.....This film is about redemption and reclaiming one's integrity, against all odds. It is a great story and one that touches on so very many things that are part of our life and times---it is filled with such humanity. Paul Newman brings all of his life experience to this role and an understanding that seems very very personal, to me.Downtrodden and over-the-hill drunk, Frank Galvin, takes on a malpractice case in a half-assed kind of way---ready to settle for a rather paltry amount, just to get it over with and show that he still has 'it', as a lawyer, and some would say, taking the easy way---case closed....But something changes his mind. Somewhere along the way, during all the negotiations, something happens to Galvin and he decides to fight the case even though almost no one thinks he can win it. It is not a new story, in a way....little guy takes on the big bad Big Guys, but.....it is the greatness of all the wonderful actors in this film and the really superlative script and the outstanding direction that puts this film way above almost any other that I can think of in this genre.James Mason is perfect, as always, as the High Powered lawyer from the High Powered Law Firm, representing the Doctors and the Hospital and the Church who runs the Hospital. Jack Warden, a wonderful and truly underrated actor, is Galvin's law partner in this case---Warden never seems like he is 'acting', which is true for all the actors in this terrific film---he just "is"......The beautiful Charlotte Rampling, plays the woman that Galvin falls in love with--and it is such a refreshing pleasure to see an actress actually look her age, having done nothing to hide those facts----she is lovely in this film......And there are so many other really spectacular actors in this picture....Every part, down to the smallest role, is played by truly consummate performers; Milo O'Shea, as the Judge; Edward Binns, Julie Bavasso, Roxanne Hart, James Handy, Wesley Addy and Joe Seneca to name just a handful.......
All these choices were made by the great Sidney Lumet, directing another gem of a film...(The list of his films is astounding---"Dog Day Afternoon", "Network", "12 Angry Men", "Prince Of The City", "Murder On The Orient Express" just to name a few....). Then there is David Mamet's perfect script--lest we forget, it starts with 'the words', and what great words they are.....This is such a satisfying film in every way....And most importantly, at the center of this film, is the brilliant performance of Paul Newman. His finely etched portrait of 'Frank Galvin' is what carries this film over the goal line, so to speak!
I first saw Paul Newman on Broadway in the 1950's in William Inge's play "Picnic"....such a lovely young actor---and such a beautiful man, too...And then starring in the the Original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams great play, "Sweet Bird Of Youth" with the amazing Geraldine Page, which they then transferred to the screen with both Newman and Page repeating their original roles, once again.....Paul Newman has made an abundance of really wonderful films during his long career---"The Hustler", "Cool Hand Luke", "Somebody Up There Likes Me", "Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid", "The Sting"...and later..."Nobody's Fool".....But something about this role---this broken alcoholic man who has stopped caring about everything, who seemingly suddenly finds his passion for the law, once again---his caring for humanity, really---this is a deeply deeply touching performance....A case of the right material in the hands of the right director at the perfect time in the leading actors life! And there you have, "The Verdict".If you have never seen it...Do rent it! And if you have seen it, well....watch it again---I just did, for the...what....10th time? It's a real lesson in what makes a very special and incredibly memorable film. And the joy of seeing a stunning and unforgettable performance by one of the 'greats' of our profession; a man who was always been so much more than just a pretty face. I could watch this picture right now and relish every minute of it all over again....! And, by the way, one of the last books that dear Betty read in this past 6 months was the most recent biography of Paul Newman, and she loved it!






More To Come........










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29 Comments:
had this to say:

my oh my, you most certainly could have been a movie "critic"!!! You too have the emotion and skill to write about things that make people read and listen!
Excellent review!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 3:28:00 AM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

I still feel sad that Paul is no longer with us. He seemed to have such a great relationship with his wife and when they saw the Albert Memorial in London she teased him that she would build one when he passed on.
He was a very un-actorish actor and seemed real in every part he played.
I haven't seen 'The Verdict'- but after reading your excellent post will try to put that right.
Those lovely blue eyes...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 4:44:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I've never seen this movie, and I thought I'd seen most of his movies. The premise sounds interesting. I'll put it on Netflix. I wish we had more people standing up to the powers that be. We're in a boatload of mess right now and could really use some heroes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 6:24:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

These are fine actors! I always learn something new when I read your posts, Naomi. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 9:33:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I love Paul Newman. I really love Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.

I haven't seen this film, but now I must, it sounds great!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 10:26:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Fabulous photos and recommendations (as usual) and whew! Those eyes! :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 12:30:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

How are you lovely lady, well I hope. Ah Paul Newman, a gorgeous looking man and from all accounts a gorgeous and charitable human being too. I must see this movie. I love reading your reviews - I agree with DesLily you are a fine critic!! Oh and no I am not moving to hong Kong but going there to visit. LA one day soon perhaps!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 9:57:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I was 21 when this came out and in my own little world and seemed to have skipped right over it. I will definitely add it to my netflix. And not because of Paul Newman - although I adore him - but because I am a HUGE James Mason fan. I am always happy to see Mason in something I have not seen yet. Thanks!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 2:10:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You really can sell a movie Naomi. As soon as I hang up here, I will visit Netflix. Hope since we are all heading off to get the movie, there is one left for me.
Paul Newman was always a favorite of mine, pretty face for sure, but also as a fine actor.
Thanks again.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 6:23:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Love your reviews, Naomi!
I saw this film more than once and I have a copy... I must watch it again...
Paul Newman was great.
Thanks for the post.
I hope you have a nice day!

Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 9:05:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I thought I commented last night.

I love Newman, especially in The Verdict. As law movies and TV episodes go, it's one of the most authentic. I'm also a James Mason fan and I think he's underrated. So that's a double bonus for me.

Cheers.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 9:29:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

He is my all-time favorite. I don't recall seeing that film, but I will look for it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 12:56:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Absolutely my favorite Paul Newman role ever. He was brilliant.

And James Mason...there are just no words.

Rent this film immediately if you haven't seen it, folks! It is riveting.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 3:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I've seen it several times
I love the court room tension and I adore Paul, he just got better and better

you're so right about how wonderful it was to see a woman be beautiful at her own age :)
just like you my friend

Hope sends hugs

Friday, March 18, 2011 at 7:29:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Those Paul Newman, Ellen Degenerous, Meg Foster eyes---so mesmerizing. I would watch him in anything. I saw this movie when it came out, now I want to see it again. I miss him. (The man, the actor I can always find easily.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 7:49:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I agree it was a great film. It's one of those, and they are few, that I saw in the theater. He was a wonderful man to watch at any age. One of my favorites though of him was Long Hot Summer when he and Joanne Woodward. They were so in love and they married during the filming of it. The sparks just flung off them both and it added a lot to the film

Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 8:49:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I remember loving that movie when it came out but I can't remember that much about it now. I love Paul Newman, person and actor. I can hardly believe he's gone.

I just watched Back up Plan (romantic comedy/forgettable but fun enough) and saw Linda Lavin and I was thrilled to recognize her and see her not trying to hide her age either.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 9:18:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Raquel
had this to say:

I have this DVD sitting by my TV to watch with my husband who's never seen it. I saw it only once, but it has remained my all time favorite movie, even though I don't remember any of the details 20+ years later. It is one of those that stays with you forever--so I totally agree with your review!

Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 9:35:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I dont remember if I have seen this one or not.. I know my mom has a lot of movies around her house and its hard to say which ones I have actually seen and which ones I havent seen in her collection over the years.lol..

Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 7:59:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Just checking in on you darling girl. I saw this movie and LOVED it even as a young teen. Paul's eyes have always mesmerized me.

Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 10:26:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh those blue eyes! I've always thought Paul Newman was a marvellous actor and he was pretty easy on the eyes too! I was very impressed with his egg eating in Cool Hand Luke. Must watch that film again and see if it's as good as I remember! And I'll have to re-watch The Verdict too.... I'm sure I saw that film a long long time ago.

Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 5:05:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Paul Newman came to my hometown of Sheboygan, Wisconsin when I was a teenager to campain for George McGoven. I stood right next to him...weeee. so exciting at the time. Then he came again to film the movie “Winning”...another time my brother and I were at the Road America race track and there was P.N. in a race car , needing a push. My brother pushed his car. What a sight! If only I had a camera that day. He is by far one of my all time favorite actors. Thanks Naomi

Monday, March 21, 2011 at 9:02:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

This movie sounds really wonderful. I will see about renting it. I hope you are doing okay Naomi! I think of you often!
xox

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 9:10:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Paul Newman has always been one of my favourite :) I will check it out when I get back home :D

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 10:44:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I enjoyed this Paul Newman movie, too. He is one of the actors whose work I've always enjoyed seeing. "Mr. and Mrs. North" was interesting though not necessarily my favorite of his roles.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 11:50:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Sometimes I still can't believe Paul Newman is gone... in fact, I had to go double check on the Internet that I was remembering correctly. His eyes were absolutely stunning, as was his work and humanitarian efforts. Truly an amazing person.

Friday, March 25, 2011 at 8:09:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a beautiful review Naomi. I have always liked Paul Newman but I have not seen this movie yet. Now I’ll make sure I see it. I value your reviews as you can tell when someone can act. Hugs, VB

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 3:22:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, I loved this movie as well as Nobody's Fool...I don't think I've seen a movie that I haven't liked Paul Newman in... It seems like the older he got, the more seasoned he was... Just awesome...

Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 11:56:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

An excellent movie and I'm so glad you posted about it because I'm going to hunt up all the Paul Newman movies on Netflix and have a Paul Newman marathon!

Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 12:43:00 PM PDT 

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