The Verdict: Collector’s Edition
20th Century Fox
Paul Newman’s performance as an alcoholic lawyer in this one should’ve netted him his first Oscar. It just so happened that a little guy named Ben Kingsley channeled Gandhi the same year and, of course, won the golden guy instead. The film itself isn’t half as good as Newman’s work in it, and Gandhi was a better movie by far, so that might explain the Academy’s thinking. Newman plays Frank Galvin, a lawyer who has sunk to hanging around funerals looking for jobs. He gets one last chance at a big medical case, and rather than take a hefty settlement, he decides to take the thing to trial. The trial itself is nothing special, just run-of-the-mill, court-movie stuff. Look closely at the court observers during the final speech: Yes, that’s a young Bruce Willis admiring Mr. Newman.