“You seem to have greater interest in Kendall dead than alive.”
After accidentally sending the wrong man to the gallows, Superintendent Grodman (Sydney Greenstreet) is released from duty and replaced by ambitious Superintendent Buckley (George Coulouris). When another murder takes place, both Grodman and Buckley try to determine who among a host of suspects — including a dance hall singer (Joan Lorring), a landlady (Rosalind Ivan), a detective (Paul Cavanagh), and an artist (Peter Lorre) — is guilty.
Don Siegel’s directorial debut received decidedly tepid reviews upon its release, with Bosley Crowther of The New York Times labeling it a “thoroughly unimpressive picture”. But Crowther’s assessment is inaccurate: while The Verdict isn’t quite a classic, it’s both atmospheric and suspenseful, and certainly worth a look. It’s great fun to see Greenstreet and Lorre in their final onscreen pairing, with Lorre’s performance especially enjoyable (what other actor could get away with calmly stating, “I’ve done three stabbings in a row; how about a nice strangling for a change?” and make it seem realistic?). Siegel does an excellent job pointing fingers at a host of possible suspects, and the final plot twist comes as quite the surprise.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Sydney Greenstreet as Grodman
- Peter Lorre as Grodman’s loyal friend, Victor Emmric
- Highly atmospheric lighting, with ample use of shadows
- The surprising final plot twist
No, but it’s recommended, and probably must see for fans of Peter Lorre and/or Don Siegel.