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The Verdict 1981 ****

Sticking closely to the plot of Barry Reed’s novel, although with an amped-up ending, Sydney Lumet’s return to the courtroom circuit of Twelve Angry men is one of the best legal thrillers, distinguished by a wintry tone and Paul Newman’s stern turn as washed-up attorney Frank Galvin. Galvin takes on a seemingly unwinnable medical malpractice case, only to find the “prince of darkness’ in the form of James Mason, blocking his route to justice. An early David Mamet script creates just the right salty edge, and Mamet’s soon-to-be-wife Lindsay Crouse appears alongside Charlotte Rampling, Milo O’Shea and Jack Warden in an accomplished supporting cast.

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