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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thursday,15 April '09: My verdict? American filmaking at its best


Another pleasant moment of the long weekend was viewing 'The Verdict' (1982) with the inimitable Paul Newman. Leone and I tasted her delicious beef casserole and sipped our glasses of fruity dry white in silence, eyes fixed to the screen. Both of us had seen the movie years before; both us had long forgotten the twists and turns of the plot. What do you remember?

Paul Newman plays a down and out lawyer, divorced, disillusioned and hitting the bottle far too often. The only case he has is almost impossible to win. He resists being fobbed off with a generous out of court settlement. Instead, in the interests of honour and right, he risks the court and the verdict of a jury and takes on the combined powers of the Church, an illustrious law firm and a biased judge. Charlotte Rampling plays Jezebel to Newman's jaded Galahad. She is sloe-eyed, wan, desperate and unscrupulous. Was there a feminist outcry in 1982 when an outraged and betrayed Paul Newman struck her through the face, throwing her to the floor and drawing blood? I cannot remember.

The genius of the movie is that it is restrained; the courtroom interactions are understated. And the director, thank goodness, resists the temptation of providing a glib, happy ending. Now this is what I call American filmaking at its best!

9 comments:

willow said...

Newman and Rampling are both excellent in this film! I think I have a DVD copy in my library. Time to pop it in again. Excellent review, Eleanor.

Smilingsal said...

I remember this film. almost anything Paul Newman (or Joanne Woodward, for that matter) ever did was wonderful.

TheWritersPorch said...

I have not seen this film in years but anything with Paul Newman bears watching again and again !

dulcy said...

Hello Eleanor......thanks so much for hopping all the way from South Africa to my little blog in the Ozarks! Yes, I remember this film, and now I'm thinking that renting a Paul Newman movie for the weekend sounds like such fun. I also loved "Missing Mom"...Joyce Carol Oates is one of my favorite contemporary authors. I am retiring soon, and like you, am wanting to have all the time in the world to create, craft, and read! By the way, I just love the name of your blog! I'll be back....
Dulcy

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

One of my favourites. Newman should have won the Oscar for this.

Poetikat said...

My parents took me to see this when it came out - it is a great movie and one of Newman's finest hours.

I had this great Newman joke somewhere. I'll see if I can dig it up.

Kat

Sreddy Yen said...

Erm...I think I'm too young to be "in time" for the film...LOL :O) Court scenes are enjoyable, but sometimes they can get too much~! Thanks for popping by my blog.

Sreddy

Sreddy Yen said...

Oh yes...I wanted to ask you how you got your text in the header to be green?

Mary said...

I don't remember this one but will add it to my Netflix Q so I can watch it when I get back.

Off to England tonight - luckily a direct flight from Raleigh to Heathrow (7.5 hrs.) couldn't be easier than that. I'm grateful because I'm not feeling well at all due to pollen allergies - and want to get there as soon as possible, traveling is not fun when one is under the weather! Have to add the coach trip to Devon (4+ hrs.) but worth it to sit on the cliff top looking across the bay and knowing I'm home again!

Hope life is good for you Elizabeth.
Hugs - Mary.