The Verdict Sidney Lumet

The Verdict Sidney Lumet
The Verdict, the 1983 courtroom drama by star director Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Network) and written by playwright David Mamet, was a defining late-period role for star Paul Newman, who dismantled his "cool guy” persona to play Frank Galvin, a down-on-his-luck alcoholic lawyer who takes on one last, seemingly impossible, case. It’s a beautifully made film and features a stunning, Academy Award nominated performance by Newman. As a character study, it’s fabulous, but as a courtroom drama, it suffers from the saturation of the genre in film and television in the last 25 years. Lumet brings his sense of style and attention to detail to bear on the story in powerful ways, and the assembled supporting cast, including courtroom adversary James Mason and best friend Jack Warden, are all excellent. This DVD, which recycles some featurettes from a 2003 issue belying this two-disc version’s "all new” sticker, tells a good story about the film’s history, including the fact that David Mamet’s original screenplay ended before the titular verdict from the jury is announced. The draw for fans is the new interviews from Newman and Lumet, whose memories of the film differ occasionally on the details, but those coming to The Verdict for the first time will discover courtroom drama that’s sub par to even a good episode of Law and Order. Newman’s performance is what makes The Verdict more than a product of its naive age. Plus: commentary, more. (Fox)