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Frank Galvin was once a promising Boston lawyer with a bright future ahead. An incident early in his career in which he was trying to do the right thing led to him being fired from the prestigious law firm with which he was working, almost being disbarred, and his wife leaving him. Continually drowning his sorrows in booze, he is now an ambulance chasing lawyer, preying on the weak and vulnerable, and bending the truth whenever necessary to make what few dollars he has, as he has only had a few cases in the last few years, losing the last four. His only friend in the profession is his now retired ex-partner, Mickey Morrissey, who gets Frank a case, his fee solely a percentage of what his clients are awarded. The case should net Frank tens of thousands of dollars by settling out of court, that money which would at least get him back on his feet. It is a negligence suit brought on behalf of Deborah Ann Kaye by her sister and brother-in-law, Sally and Kevin Doneghy, against St. Catherine... Written by
Robert Redford was originally involved with this film. After writer David Mamet delivered his draft, Redford was uncomfortable with the main character and hired another writer to do another draft, and so on until Redford decided he didn't want to do the film. He was uncomfortable because he did not want to play an alcoholic. Sidney Lumet was offered the project. He read all the drafts and identified the original Mamet version as the one to make. At that point, Paul Newman agreed to star. See more »
The case Concannon cites at a key moment is described with an incorrect legal form. For the United States legal reporter, the citation should be a whole number followed by "U.S." or "United States" and then another whole number, not a decimal. See more »
[testifying why she kept a copy of the admittance form]
After the operation, when that poor girl she went into a coma, Dr. Towler called me in. He told me that he'd had five difficult deliveries in a row and he was tired... and he never looked at the admittance form. And he told me to change the form. He told me to change the '1' to a '9'... or else... or else he said, he said he'd fire me. He said I'd never work again. Who were these men? Who were these men? I wanted to be a nurse!
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One of the Best Courtroom Dramas of Cinema History
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 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")
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