The Verdict


1h 26m 1946
The Verdict

Brief Synopsis

A Scotland Yard superintendent makes a mistake in an investigation, causing the execution of an innocent man.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Mystery
Thriller
Release Date
Nov 23, 1946
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill (New York, 1895).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

In London in 1890, after an innocent man is convicted of the murder of Hannah Kendall and hanged, police superintendent George Edward Grodman, whose testimony based on circumstantial evidence helped to convict the man, is forced to resign. Grodman's rival, John R. Buckley, is made superintendent in his place. Later, Grodman's neighbors, Victor Emmric and Arthur Kendall, Hannah's nephew, gather at his house for a small party. When Clive Russell, a member of Parliament, arrives, however, a quarrel over politics breaks out between him and Kendall, and the party ends abruptly. Outside, Russell threatens Kendall and is overheard by Lottie, a music hall performer and Kendall's mistress. After Russell leaves, Lottie accuses Kendall of giving her fake jewels and demands the return of a watch fob she gave him. Kendall puts her off and crosses the street to his rooming house. The next morning, when Mrs. Benson, the landlady, fails to rouse Kendall from his sleep, she begs Grodman to break down the door. Grodman does as she asks and announces that Kendall has been stabbed. Buckley examines the room and ascertains that the windows and doors are locked and bolted. Later, Buckley discovers Lottie searching Kendall's room. When he questions her, she explains that she is looking for Kendall's watch fob. Because the fob is nowhere in the room, a skeptical Buckley arrests Lottie. Grodman then suggests that they check Kendall's grave for the fob, and it is found in his pocket. Later, at the music hall, Lottie tells Victor and Grodman that Kendall knew that Russell was involved with a married woman. When Russell returns home from visiting his constituency, he discovers that his room has been searched. Troubled, he consults with Grodman. Unknown to him, Victor is eavesdropping on their conversation from inside a closet. Russell tells Grodman that he was visiting the woman he loves at the time of the murder, but refuses to name her because she is not yet divorced. Later, Lottie tells Buckley that Kendall knew about Russell's love affair and demands that he arrest him. The circumstantial evidence convinces Buckley that Russell murdered Kendall, and he persuades the jury to find him guilty and sentence him to death. When Russell's final appeal is denied, he finally names Lady Pendleton as his mistress, but she dies in France before Grodman can obtain her testimony. That evening, Grodman writes the last chapter of a book about his famous cases. The next day, at Scotland Yard, Grodman reveals that Kendall killed his aunt, who was intending to write him out of her will. The night before Kendall's death, Grodman, aware that Kendall was the killer, put a sleeping potion in his drink. He then killed Kendall after he knocked down the door, to avenge both Hannah and the innocent man who died for the murder. Grodman adds that he waited until the last minute to confess in order to humiliate Buckley.

Cast

Sydney Greenstreet

George Edward Grodman

Peter Lorre

Victor Emmric

Joan Lorring

Lottie

George Coulouris

Superintendent John R. Buckley

Rosalind Ivan

Mrs. Benson

Paul Cavanagh

Clive Russell

Arthur Shields

Rev. Holbrook

Morton Lowry

Arthur Kendall

Holmes Herbert

Sir William Dawson

Art Foster

P. C. Warren

Clyde Cook

Barney Cole

Janet Murdoch

Sister Brown

Ian Wolfe

Jury foreman

Paul Scardon

Sexton

David Thursby

Sergeant

Olaf Hytten

Sergeant

Colin Kenny

Sergeant

Reginald Sheffield

Chaplain

John Goldsworthy

Chaplain

Bing Conley

Convict

Colin Campbell

Simpkins

Leo White

Cabbie

Jock Watt

Cabbie

Eric Wilton

Reporter

John Valentine

Reporter

Creighton Hale

Reporter

David Martin Jones

Reporter

Gerald Oliver Smith

Artist

John Power

Watchman

Milton Parsons

Undertaker

Billy Bletcher

Gravedigger

Mark Strong

Coroner

William H. O'brien

Constable

John Romero

Juggler

Sarah Edwards

Housekeeper

Al Ferguson

Plainclothesman

Henry Mowbray

Innkeeper

Harold De Becker

Costermonger

Crauford Kent

Professional man

Frank Hagney

Ex-pugilist

Alexander Pollard

City clerk

Arthur Gould-porter

Shopkeeper

George Kirby

Grocer

Casey Macgregor

Laborer

Herbert Evans

Doorkeeper

Alec Harford

Ticket inspector

Boyd Irwin

Judge

Albert Petit

French policeman

Marcel De La Brosse

French policeman

Herbert Clifton

Englishman

Barry Bernard

Publicist keeper

Boyd Davis

Prison governor

Arthur Stenning

Head warden

Ted Jacques

English policeman

Fernanda Eliscu

French housekeeper

Leah Baird

French charwoman

Jimmy Aubrey

Newsboy

Montague Shaw

Businessman

Harry Cording

Tough Englishman

Wilson Benge

Cockney

Betty Fairfax

Cockney

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Crime
Mystery
Thriller
Release Date
Nov 23, 1946
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill (New York, 1895).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

The Verdict


George Grodman is fired from his job as superintendent of Scotland Yard after he mistakenly convicts and executes an innocent man. Grodman's replacement, Buckley, is an arrogant man who boasts to Grodman about his superior detective skills. In an effort to both correct his mistake and get back at the pompous new superintendent, Grodman plots "the perfect crime." It all goes according to plan until an innocent friend is wrongfully accused of the crime.

The Verdict (1946) was the eighth and final film teaming Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. Greenstreet plays former Scotland Yard superintendent Grodman while Lorre plays Victor Emmric, an artist and friend of Grodman's. The two men formed an unlikely and often eerie duo. Greenstreet was a large man, weighing nearly 300 pounds, and his size contrasted sharply with the much smaller Lorre. They were often cast in mysterious or sinister roles. The first film teaming the odd couple was The Maltese Falcon (1941), which was also Greenstreet's film debut.

The Verdict is the second film to be based on the novel The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill. In 1944, Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film from RKO for a reported $13,500 with the intention of casting Greenstreet and Lorre. The duo also starred together in Casablanca (1942), Passage to Marseille (1944), and The Mask of Dimitrios (1944).

The Verdict also marked the beginning of Don Siegel's career as a director. Siegel had worked for Warner Bros. for years, but this was his first time directing a feature film. He started out with Warner Bros. as an assistant film librarian and worked his way to the head of the montage department, where he shot transition sequences for Casablanca. Siegel also directed several short films. Two of these short features won Academy Awards. After The Verdict, Siegel went on to direct such films as Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Madigan (1968), Dirty Harry (1971) and Escape from Alcatraz (1979). In American Directors, Jean Pierre Coursodon points out a connection between the main character in The Verdict and those in Siegel's later films: "Grodman is a prototype for Siegel's Madigan and Harry, cops who take the law into their own hands."

Siegel directed Clint Eastwood in a total of five films. Over the years Siegel became not only a friend to Eastwood, but also a mentor to the young director. When Eastwood directed his first film, Play Misty for Me (1971), he asked Siegel to play the role of a bartender in the film. Eastwood dedicated his 1992 film Unforgiven to Siegel, who had died the previous year.

Producer: William Jacobs
Director: Don Siegel
Screenplay: Peter Milne. Based on the novel by Israel Zangwill.
Cinematography: Ernest Haller
Editor: Thomas Reilly
Art Director: Ted Smith
Music: Frederick Hollander
Principal Cast: Sydney Greenstreet (Supt. George Edward Grodman), Peter Lorre (Victor Emmric), Joan Lorring (Lottie Lawson), George Coulouris (Supt. John R. Buckley), Paul Cavanagh (Clive Russell), Arthur Shields (Reverend Holbrook), Ian Wolfe (Jury Foreman).
BW-87m.

By Deborah Looney
The Verdict

The Verdict

George Grodman is fired from his job as superintendent of Scotland Yard after he mistakenly convicts and executes an innocent man. Grodman's replacement, Buckley, is an arrogant man who boasts to Grodman about his superior detective skills. In an effort to both correct his mistake and get back at the pompous new superintendent, Grodman plots "the perfect crime." It all goes according to plan until an innocent friend is wrongfully accused of the crime. The Verdict (1946) was the eighth and final film teaming Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. Greenstreet plays former Scotland Yard superintendent Grodman while Lorre plays Victor Emmric, an artist and friend of Grodman's. The two men formed an unlikely and often eerie duo. Greenstreet was a large man, weighing nearly 300 pounds, and his size contrasted sharply with the much smaller Lorre. They were often cast in mysterious or sinister roles. The first film teaming the odd couple was The Maltese Falcon (1941), which was also Greenstreet's film debut. The Verdict is the second film to be based on the novel The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill. In 1944, Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film from RKO for a reported $13,500 with the intention of casting Greenstreet and Lorre. The duo also starred together in Casablanca (1942), Passage to Marseille (1944), and The Mask of Dimitrios (1944). The Verdict also marked the beginning of Don Siegel's career as a director. Siegel had worked for Warner Bros. for years, but this was his first time directing a feature film. He started out with Warner Bros. as an assistant film librarian and worked his way to the head of the montage department, where he shot transition sequences for Casablanca. Siegel also directed several short films. Two of these short features won Academy Awards. After The Verdict, Siegel went on to direct such films as Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Madigan (1968), Dirty Harry (1971) and Escape from Alcatraz (1979). In American Directors, Jean Pierre Coursodon points out a connection between the main character in The Verdict and those in Siegel's later films: "Grodman is a prototype for Siegel's Madigan and Harry, cops who take the law into their own hands." Siegel directed Clint Eastwood in a total of five films. Over the years Siegel became not only a friend to Eastwood, but also a mentor to the young director. When Eastwood directed his first film, Play Misty for Me (1971), he asked Siegel to play the role of a bartender in the film. Eastwood dedicated his 1992 film Unforgiven to Siegel, who had died the previous year. Producer: William Jacobs Director: Don Siegel Screenplay: Peter Milne. Based on the novel by Israel Zangwill. Cinematography: Ernest Haller Editor: Thomas Reilly Art Director: Ted Smith Music: Frederick Hollander Principal Cast: Sydney Greenstreet (Supt. George Edward Grodman), Peter Lorre (Victor Emmric), Joan Lorring (Lottie Lawson), George Coulouris (Supt. John R. Buckley), Paul Cavanagh (Clive Russell), Arthur Shields (Reverend Holbrook), Ian Wolfe (Jury Foreman). BW-87m. By Deborah Looney

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

This was Don Siegel's first feature directorial assignment. Previously he had directed shorts and montages for Warner Bros. News items in Hollywood Reporter note that filming was suspended for one week because of Sydney Greenstreet's illness.