The Verdict Film Analysis

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Developing A Connection The Verdict

In The Verdict, (1974) Sidney Lumet directed Paul Newman’s portrayal of Frank Galvin, an alcoholic lawyer hoping to get his life and his career back on track. An old friend gives Frank a lead on a medical malpractice case. Frank talks with relatives of the victim and makes notes about how much money he might make. Frank starts to review the paperwork, changes his mind, and visits the woman who would be his client.
Wearing a black suit, black tie, and a white shirt, he enters the hospital room where his potential client and many other patients are unattended. He removes a Polaroid camera—a selling point of the Polaroid system was that pictures developed before your eyes.
Perfunctorily, Frank takes a picture of the client and puts the print at the foot of the patient’s bed. He moves, takes another picture of
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He races through a room and into a tall and wide mirror. The mirror breaks.
By the power invested in the movie industry, the broken glass and the cigar are removed. Groucho now faces Harpo, dressed as Groucho is in a nightshirt, nightcap, socks, glasses, and a mustache. Like Groucho’s, Harpo’s mustache is painted in with greasepaint.
Groucho and his “reflection” appear to be introspective. Groucho and his reflection nod at each other. Groucho lowers his glasses and his body, Harpo does the same. They perform a series comic prances. They dance, they spin.
The actors mirror one another well, but not perfectly—this does not diminish the joy they display.
Then a rule they appeared to be following—each mimics the other—is broken. They carry different hats.
Another rule they had—each stays on his side of the room—is violated. They switch sides of the doorway. They clown some more, and switch places
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