Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

THE VERDICT (1946)


THE VERDICT (1946). Director: Don Siegel.

Scotland Yard superintendent George Grodman (Sydney Greenstreet) loses his job to a rival, Buckley (George Coulouris), when it is discovered that a man he sent to the gallows for a murder was actually innocent. Then another murder occurs in the same family as before, and Buckley sets out to find the killer as Grodman does what he can to help him. Peter Lorre is cast as Victor Emmric, an artist friend of Grodman's, and Paul Cavanagh is Russell, who becomes a major suspect in the second murder. Rosalind Ivan is the hysterical landlady, and Joan Lorring is Lottie, a nightclub singer who was involved with the dead man. The picture at first seems to go in many different directions, but it eventually builds up quite a bit of suspense as to the identity of the murderer. The acting all around is excellent, although at times it may seem as if that wonderful team of Greenstreet and Lorre are just going through the motions (although it may just be some consummate underplaying). Terrific ending, and the film is fascinating on many different levels. Very well-directed for maximum tension by Donald Siegel, who also directed the science fiction classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This was his third directorial assignment. Lorring also appeared with Lorre and Greenstreet in Three Strangers.

Verdict: Greenstreet and Lorre are always fun! ***1/2.

2 comments:

Colin said...

I'm a huge fan of both Lorre and Greenstreet and I could watch them reading the telephone directory. I have always hoped that WHV would see fit to put together a box of their films headlined by the sublime Mask of Dimitrios. However, the way things are going I fear these films may eventually get dumped into the unspeakable Archive scheme.

William said...

If ever there were two actors who could make the telephone book sound fascinating it was Lorre and Greenstreet, who somehow seem to bring out the best in each other, especially in 3 Strangers and Dimitrios -- great movies!

Thanks for your comment.