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Guilty of Greatness and Greenstreet
BaronBl00d14 September 2001
I don't know what to say about the other reviews here(better to say nothing as their insights offer that suitable response). This is a great film with a great pairing of that wonderful coupling of gargantuan Sydney Greenstreet and devilish, diminuative Peter Lorre. Grenstreet never was better as a Scotland Yard superintendant who mistakenly sends an innocent man to his death. He is forced out of his job by another aspiring detective played with relish by George Coulouris. Greenstreet remarks, "He underestimated the size of my britches." And so he did! Greenstreet was that special kind of actor that draws you to his every word, action, and deed. His refinement of speech and larger-than-life presence greatly enhance the film. Lorre is Lorre, a funny character actor getting a break from villains for a chance. Lorre and Greenstreet aid each other very nicely and their scenes together are perhaps the most fun ones in the film. Behind all the actions of the two men is a fine Victorian mystery that has a good, hard-to-figure out ending. Director Don Siegel shows his deftness in capturing a dark Victorian setting. His scene exhuming a casket is particularly well-done. A fine film and an unfortunately all to rare chance to see Lorre and Greenstreet together.
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That Mystery from Big Bow
theowinthrop3 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Think of the great writers of Great Britain in the 1890s - 1900s. The list is like this: Hardy, Conrad, James, Wilde, Conan Doyle, Chesterton, Wells, Madox Ford, Bennett, Beerbohm, Shaw, would probably have the major names we remember (or should remember). But Israel Zangwell...? The author of THE BIG BOW MYSTERY is best recalled for his books of Jewish life in England and America, CHILDREN OF THE GHETTO and THE MELTING POT (he apparently invented that term for American immigrant society). THE BIG BOW MYSTERY was his one mystery story, and was written as a stunt. Zangwell wrote it for a magazine, and there was a contest to see if the readers could guess who the killer was. In the end only one reader guessed who it was.

The film actually changes the structure of the story, and of the denouement - the killer confesses in both the story and movie, but his confession is unnecessary to the police, who found the flaw in his plot beforehand. So he commits suicide.

Zangwell based his novel on an actual case of great public interest in 1887. A woman named Miriam Angel was heard moaning in her locked room in a boarding house on Batty Street in the East End of London. Other roomers broke down the door of her room, and found her dying in bed. A doctor was brought in quickly and discovered she had been poisoned with prussic acid. Then more moaning was heard. Under the dying woman's bed was a man named Israel Lipski, who had apparently taken some poison too. Lipski recovered, and was charged with Angel's murder. He would claim he was forced to go into the bedroom by two men, who then poisoned Angel and framed him. He was found guilty of the murder, and was eventually hanged. But first there was a great movement led by the editor William Stead, who felt the trial was unfair. Stead's attempt almost freed Lipski (Home Secretary Matthews and the trial Justice, Sir James Fitzjames Stephen reviewed the evidence, only to reaffirm the verdict after Lipski apparently confessed). It one wants the full story, read Martin Friedland's THE TRIALS OF ISRAEL LIPSKI.

The film keeps to most of the story, and invents some novel little twists. Grodman (Sidney Greenstreet) has been the brilliant Yard Superintendent for many years, and suddenly learns that he made a stupid error that cost an innocent man his life. The innocent man claimed he spoke to a minister at the time of the crime, and that the minister was going to Wales by boat the next day. Grodman explains that everyone knows that you go from London to Wales by train, not by boat. But it turns out the minister (Arthur Shields) went to New South Wales by boat. He did not hear about the trial of the man until it was too late for him to get back in time. Grodman is condemned in the press, and forced to resign - to be replaced by his rival Superintendent Buckley. This is bad enough, but Grodman is aware of two things that gnaw at him:

1) the evidence that convicted the innocent man was the word of the nephew of the victim (and her heir)that suggested the innocent man was at the scene of the crime when he was with the minister (i.e., the nephew lied).

2) Although Grodman's official work led to the successful trial and prosecution of the innocent man, he really is not responsible for the tragedy. Buckley suspected that the minister may have taken the ship to New South Wales, not Wales, and eventually locates the minister - but he took his time doing it, and did not mention it to Grodman or anyone else. In short, Buckley let Grodman's work kill an innocent man, so he could be disgraced and Buckley could replace them.

If you keep these two points in mind the entire plot makes sense. Grodman wants to return the favor with interest to Buckley.

Furthermore, the nephew of the victim (Morton Lowry - Arthur Kendall in the film), is rather despicable due to his fighting his workers seeking for better pay. He is confronted by a member of Parliament (Paul Cavanagh) who frequently has arguments with him in public. Both Lowry and Cavanagh are friends of Greenstreet and of his closest friend Peter Lorre. Cavanagh, Lowry, and Lorre live across the street from Greenstreet.

I will not go further into the plot, but it is done with great panache. At one point or another (including one famous sequence dealing with pairs of white gloves) everyone (including George Coulouris as Superintendent Buckley) is suspected of being the killer in the plot. It was a very finely made thriller, well directed by Don Siegel and with a tiptop cast. Being the only work by Zangwell that made it to the screen, it seems he was pretty well served after all.
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Don't miss this one.....
JOHN_REID19 November 2003
It is sad that Sydney Greenstreet's career in film was relatively brief - albeit marked by memorable performances in some truly great movies. He may well have had a successful life on the stage in the bulk of his acting life but his roles in film, in a brief eight year period, are all that is preserved from a long and distinguished career. We can only guess at the performances of a young and perhaps thinner Sydney Greenstreet. Despite all this he made his debut in The Maltese Falcon and then a few films later co-starred in Casablanca, more than making up for the delay in the transition to the big screen. The Verdict sees Greenstreet at his finest as the wizened superintendent whose career has been forever marred by an error of judgment that costs a man his life. This is a perfect whodunit/noir/murder mystery that is still gripping and tight despite the slightly melodramatic ending where revenge is possibly carried a little too close to the wire. Lorre is his usual sinister self, fascinated at the thought of exhuming a dead body and Colouris appropriate as the inept detective. Highly recommended.
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A triumph of the genre
robert-temple-127 October 2007
This is one of the finest detective mysteries ever filmed. It is astonishing that the young director Don Siegel showed so much talent so early. Once again we have that wonderful pair, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre making a masterpiece together. Greenstreet is spellbinding in every scene. Lorre creates a well-rounded three-dimensional character from a two-dimensional part, and makes him eccentric and intriguing. The story is set in 1890 in London, and is based on a novel entitled 'The Big Bow Mystery' by best-selling author Israel Zangwill, which was in turn apparently based on a real case. The plot of the film is one of the most complex and intellectually challenging ever made. It 'out-Sherlocks Sherlock'. The essence of the dilemma is how can a man have his throat cut in a room in which the door and windows are locked and bolted from the inside, and there is no other way in or out. The film is helped a lot by a brilliant performance by Rosalind Ivan as a hysterical landlady who may or may not have murdered her lodger (but how??). The atmosphere is powerful, the filming expressionistic, the style impeccable, and the result magnificent. Greenstreet and Lorre are at the top of their form. This is a film no lover of the genre should miss.
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A must see for those who love a mystery
kayo_bee3 June 2005
Although there have been thousands of murder mysteries in hard cover and paper back, very few have translated to the movies well. Rarely is an audience ever surprised.

In The Verdict, Sydney Greenstreet as Supt. George Edward Grodman and Peter Lorre as Victor Emmric team up in what might be billed as the best whodunnit ever produced for the screen.

Grodman is summarily dismissed from his Scotland Yard position. After his forced retirement a neighbor is murdered and he and his eccentric friend Emmric try to solve the crime.

Why this is not among the favorites of every fan of this genre is a mystery in itself.
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Victorian mystery with one of the great screen pairs
blanche-27 May 2009
When historians talk about the great screen pairings, one hears Tracy and Hepburn and Bogart and Bacall tossed around, as well as other male-female combinations. One of the truly great screen pairings of all time was Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre - the former a large, sinister-looking man, and the latter a small, sinister-looking man with a quirky voice. They made nine films together, and when I see their names in a cast list, I know not to miss the movie.

"The Verdict," made in 1946, is a heavily atmospheric mystery set around 1890, when Supt. George Edward Grodman (Greenstreet) inadvertently sends an innocent man to the gallows for a woman's death and loses his job. The man claimed he had an alibi, but the person wasn't found until after the hanging. After many years in service, Grodman leaves with a blemish on his reputation. Replacing him is his ambitious nemesis, Supt. John R. Buckley (George Coulouris). Grodman begins to write the stories of his various cases, in the hopes that it can serve as a primer for police investigations.

When Arthur Kendall is murdered across the street from him, Grodman is pulled into the investigation, since Kendall's landlady (Rosalind Ivan) summoned him to help her get into the room. Kendall's aunt was the murder victim in the case where the innocent man was hanged. Before Kendall was killed, he visited Grodman, along with Grodman's friend Peter Emmric (Lorre) who lives in the same house as Kendall, and a politician, Clive Russell (Paul Cavanagh), who hates Kendall. Russell and Kendall come to blows outside of Grodman's house. Grodman now finds himself in a position of helping the man who replaced him.

This is an very clever mystery, brought up a few levels by the acting of Greenstreet and Lorre. Paul Cavanagh and George Coulouris turn in good performances in smaller roles, and Joan Lorring is fine as a dance hall girl who was involved with Kendall. Though not a great beauty, she has a great figure and conveys a low class background.

Highly recommended. With the Victorian times, the heavy fog, and the presence of Cavanagh and Coulouris, the film reminds one of the Sherlock Holmes movies.
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Peter Lorre shines in brilliant Scotland Yard mystery
Coventry20 March 2004
The Verdict is an absolutely absorbing and ingenious locked-room murder mystery, complete with sheer performances and irresistible gothic atmosphere. Set in London, near the end of the 19th century this intelligent movie handles about a seemly insolvable murder. Superintendent Grodman hunts down the murderer of the man who lives across him…unofficially, because Scotland Yard dismissed him after making a mistake in his previous case, which resulted in the execution of an innocent man. Grodman playfully amuses himself by fooling and not helping Supt. Buckley…the ambitious vulture successor who gladly witnessed Grodman's resignation. The characters and their backgrounds in this film are so fascinating…the speculative possibilities and ‘maybe'-motivations are so left open that the Verdict really became the most unpredictable ‘whodunit' thriller I ever saw. And I'm utterly impressed by that. Director Don Siegel based his film on the novel by Israel Zangwill and I can clearly see why this author often gets referred to as ‘the father detective thrillers'. Both basic plot and screenplay are flawless and compelling, complete with fiendish dialogues. Plus…the atmosphere and structure are genius film-noir and gothic-like which is completely Don Siegel's achievement. Siegel, who shot his first long-feature film with The Verdict delivers one of the most powerful debuts in film history ever. Almost as remarkable as John Huston's debut with The Maltese Falcon, I dare to say… There are constant undertones of diabolicalness present, resulting in a high rate finale that leaves you completely speechless. Terrifically done! At one point, we even receive a pretext of what `12 Angry Men' will look like, 11 (!) years before this one gets released!! Don Siegel's later masterpieces perhaps overshadow this little highlight but, to me, this still is his finest film. And that certainly must mean something, seeing his entire repertoire contains milestone-titles like `Invasion of the Body Snatchers', `The Shootist', `Dirty Harry' and `Escape from Alcatraz'.

Of course, The Verdict wouldn't have been half as memorable as it is now if it weren't for the brilliant acting performances. Peter Lorre on top, and not exclusively since he's one of my top 5 favorite actors ever. Lorre is genius as ever as the amiable cartoon-artist obsessed by the sinister details such as corpse digging and strangling. Like in multiple of his other films, he also has a slight drinking problem which gives the film a tiny comical side-aspect. Sydney Greenstreet (best know as Bogart's concurrent in Casablanca) makes a great Supt. Grodman as he manages to remain distinguished and irritated at the same time. Without the slightest doubt, The Verdict receives a rating 10 out of 10 from me…and naturally, it comes with the highest possible recommendation. I'll even buy you a beer if you can name the murderer's identity before the film is over.
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You sent an innocent man to the gallows this morning…
Spikeopath13 February 2013
The Verdict is directed by Don Siegel and adapted to screenplay by Peter Milne from the novel The Big Bow Mystery written by Israel Zangwill. It stars Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, George Coulouris, Joann Lorring, Rosalind Ivan and Paul Cavanagh. Music is by Frederick Hollander and cinematography by Ernest Haller.

When Scotland Yard superintendent George Grodman (Greenstreet) in error sends an innocent man to be hanged at Newgate Prison, he is forced to retire in shame. Replaced by the irritable and obnoxious John Buckley (Coulouris), Grodman gets an unexpected opportunity to embarrass Buckley when a tricky murder occurs in a seemingly locked room…

The scene is set from the off, it's 1890 at Newgate Prison in London and a man is hanged off camera. Fog and gas lighted shadows cloak the events to enhance the macabre feel of the event. For the next 80 odd minutes 90% of the story will involve fog or shadows, or both at the same tame, making this very much of interest to the Gothic/noir fan. The story had previously formed the basis of a 1934 film titled as The Crime Doctor.

The story itself is most intriguing, the mystery element remains strong throughout as the suspects are deftly dangled in the plotting by Siegel (directing his first full length feature) and Milne. Just how could a murder be committed in a room completely locked from the inside? The makers ensure that certain areas are kept grey to give off a feeling of confusion, motives and means are deliberately matter of fact and the trusted pairing of Greenstreet and Lorre is a deliciously odd-ball little and large act.

It would be harsh to decry the production for being stage-bound, because although it inevitably is, it doesn't hurt the mood of the picture at all. The story is acted and directed with skill and Haller's photography is in turn beautiful and suitably sinister. 8/10
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I don't understand why this movie is more readily available
portraitofanera19 February 2007
This was one of the most entertaining films i'd seen in a very long time. First of all, Peter Lorre gives a performance like you've never seen this master do before. a playboy! the man is a pure wolf and offers some pretty racy scenes in that respect for a '40's film. Everything that comes from his lips is a sexual innuendo. The ending is a pretty good twist that i would be used to seeing in more modern films. Sydney, of course, does a fantastic performance. the comical elements of the film work beautifully and the masterful acting of Mr. Lorre causes the film to run smoothly and above all, entertaining. WB MUST release this title on DVD!
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A locked room mystery
Cristi_Ciopron6 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The Victorian mystery film knew a blooming during the '40s,right on the eve,and then during the first phases of the film noir vogue.I would quote movies like The Spiral Staircase,The Verdict,The Body Snatcher,Gaslight,etc.,and also the several Basil Rathbone shows:Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror ,Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon ,etc..Many of them were,more or less,intentional Expressionistic pastiches,and the first works of gifted directors (like Don Siegel,Robert Wise,etc.).These films have a late heir in Jack the Ripper (1988).

The Verdict (1946) is a bitter and powerful film,very neat,elegant and intelligent,and extremely well acted by a wonderful cast (videlicet Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre,the rest of the actors being ugly,banal and uninteresting).It is,in another key,as bitter and pragmatic as Madigan (1968).It belongs to the class of the best crime movies,like MAIGRET TEND UN PIEGE and MAIGRET ET L'AFFAIRE SAINT-FIACRE,the two French masterpieces.It is immersed in the foggy,terrific and tenebrous London;it is clean,because it avoids the cheap psychoanalytical subtexts of the epoch.It looks like the movie of a very intelligent and lucid man,Don Siegel.There is not even a single drop of melodrama or of imbecility in The Verdict (1946).It makes other movies with similar themes look like childish melodramas.It has those exquisite touching and thrilling notes that only the best crime fiction displays (Arthur Conan Doyle,Poe,Paul Féval,and a few French novelists).The denouement is late,surprising and has the requisite and delightful sobriety and majesty.The atmosphere is extraordinary.

The hefty Sydney Greenstreet is an impressing,vigorous,leonine,realistic and imposing actor,in the class of Gabin,Welles,George C. Scott,Marlon Brando;his role is a jewel.He is not so famous,and this proves that,sometimes at least,fame means nothing.

The Verdict (1946) is an ingenious locked room mystery,and a copiously macabre one;it begins in a condemned cell.As for the plastic qualities,the relish this movie offers is complete.By his The Verdict (1946),Don Siegel gave the mystery movies a dignity that only Arthur Conan Doyle,Poe,Charles Dickens knew to give the crime fiction;like them,Siegel seized the whole fascination of a genre.
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Engrossing Tale Of Homicide
Ron Oliver22 November 2004
THE VERDICT in a vicious murder case impacts the lives of several London citizens.

Massive Sydney Greenstreet & diminutive Peter Lorre team once again in another suspenseful crime film from Warner Brothers. This Laurel & Hardy of the Sinister could always be counted on for their good acting and enjoyable scene stealing antics. While two of the movies they made (in conjunction with Humphrey Bogart) are undisputed classics, their lesser forays into the shadows are no less welcome.

Corpulent Greenstreet portrays a discredited former Scotland Yard superintendent, who, with the aid of eccentric artist Lorre, privately investigates the stabbing of a neighbor. Like a cello and violin duet, these two performers made a delightful team, their very different personas eliciting ominous music from their partnership.

British character actress Rosalind Ivan gives a vivid performance as Lorre's hysterical landlady. Others in the supporting cast also acquit themselves well: George Coulouris as Greenstreet's befuddled successor; Holmes Herbert as the stern head of Scotland Yard; Arthur Shields as a distressed clergyman; Morton Lowry as a playboy & Paul Cavanagh as a Member of Parliament, both with secrets to protect; and little Clyde Cook as a helpful burglar.

Movie mavens will recognize an unbilled Ian Wolfe appearing as a murder trial jury foreman.
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London-by-gaslight thriller preserves last pairing of Greenstreet, Lorre
bmacv21 June 2002
Warning: Spoilers
When they were paired in The Maltese Falcon as that sinister, fey duo The Fat Man (Mr. Gutman) and Joel Cairo, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre struck an immediate chord with audiences. So much so that, over the next five years they went on to team up in nine more movies (in one of them, Hollywood Canteen, as themselves). The Verdict is the last of them.

A London-by-gaslight thriller set in 1890, The Verdict tries to combine the atmosphere of the Sherlock Holmes stories (fog, hansom cabs, capes and toppers, bachelors' quarters) with the plot devices of Agatha Christie (pivotal points are lifted from both The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the Orient Express). Unfortunately, this cozy throwback to locked-room murder mysteries of an earlier time strikes a wrong note in the first full year of the post-war era, when the dark flowers of film noir – in which both Greenstreet and Lorre played far from incidental roles – were everywhere blossoming underfoot.

Scotland Yard Inspector Greenstreet gets nudged into early retirement when a man he sent to the gallows is found to have been innocent. He nurses a grudge against his arrogant replacement (George Coulouris) and bides his time.

When a prominent young cad is found stabbed in his locked chambers and the police get nowhere, Greenstreet steps in. Both he and Lorre moved in the same circles as the dead man, as did a Member of Parliament, around whom suspicion slowly deepens.

Though there are ties to an insolent music-hall singer (Joan Lorring) and the unseen wife of a peer of the realm, the story unfurls in the fussy Victorian world of unattached males. A vicious twist at the end leaves one perplexed: Is there enough psychological back story to justify it, or is it a desperate, last-ditch contrivance? In any case, it's much more Greenstreet's movie than Lorre's, but both contributed better work elsewhere during their five-year cinematic liaison.
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A foggy day in London town
jotix10015 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"The Verdict" a Warner Bros. 1946 release showed on a cable channel recently. The film was Don Siegel's debut as a director. Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre are seen for the last time in a movie together after being sort of a duo in the ten pictures they appeared together.

Mr. Siegel had been involved behind the cameras for some time. He knew what he wanted and how he wanted to present it for an audience. It is curious he selected this project for his directorial debut, after all, most of his later career was devoted to a different kind of film making altogether, but one can see his talent all over this third retelling of the Israel Zangwill's novel, as adapted for the screen by Peter Milne.

As the film begins, we hear a bell tolling at Newgate's Prison tower indicating the death of a prisoner. Superintendent George Grodman is at hand to witness the execution. Unfortunately, the wrong man was killed and the real culprit is at large. Grodman is demoted because of his blunder and his rival, the hateful Buckley takes over his place. Grodman sets out to make amends and straighten things out in a most unconventional way.

Mr. Siegel's London was shot at the Warner's lot. Hollywood had its own resources to reproduce, sometimes brilliantly, the locales in which the films took place. Thus, the Victorian London we see is permanently darkened by the sort of pea soup one does not see these days, but it was a must at the time this was made. Ernest Haller, the cinematographer shot the film in dark tones to give it an atmospheric feeling that works well, although at times it is somewhat exaggerated.

Mr. Siegel got good all around ensemble acting from his cast. Sydney Greenstreet was not an expressive actor. In this film he shows a bit more of an understanding for what made Grodman tick. The great Peter Lorre is at his best. Joan Lorring, playing Lottie Rawson has some good moments. The supporting cast did wonders to enhance the film. Rosalind Ivan, Paul Cavanagh, the excellent George Couloris, and Morton Lowry, among them, do impressive work.
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Well done film noir
AlsExGal13 December 2009
Greenstreet and Lorre were terrific in the films they made together, this being the best of the ones I've seen so far.

The year is 1890. Greenstreet plays the superintendent of police of Scotland Yard, George Edward Grodman, who has just been to the execution of a man he arrested for the crime of murdering an elderly woman. He arrives back at his office to discover that the man is in fact innocent, as the clergyman that the man claimed as an alibi has finally surfaced. Disgraced, he is forced to resign in favor of his subordinate, John Buckley (George Coulouris).

Grodman is a man of means, so the loss of a paycheck doesn't seem to be a problem, but his nightmares about sending an innocent man to the gallows are. He seems to be recovering, and even making plans for writing a book about his past cases, when a neighbor from across the street is murdered. The crime seems to be a perfect one - the murderer apparently killed the man from inside his own locked room and escaped without detection or leaving any clues behind. However, the brash and boorish new superintendent Buckley will not accept that, and continues seeking a suspect, although in the manner of a bull in a china shoppe. In the meantime, there are a multitude of suspects that intersect with a multitude of witnesses, and Grodman along with the help of his friend, illustrator Victor Emmric (Peter Lorre) decide to do some investigating themselves on their own time.

Greenstreet and Lorre are terrific together as always, with a timing and chemistry that makes them great at these kinds of films. You never know if the likable exteriors displayed by each is the truth or a lie in either or both cases, usually up to the end. This one will keep you guessing right up to the final scene, and I highly recommend it.
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The Verdict is Yours!
sol-kay16 May 2009
**SPOILERS** "The Verdict" was director Don Siegel's, after two minor documentary shorts, first major major motion picture that shows the talent that he had that was to become evident in movies that he later directed like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" "Dirty Harry" and of course his unforgettable "Hound Dog Man" that made the singing sensation of the 1950's Fabin a household name.

In the movie Scotland Yard Superintendent George Gordman, Sydney Greenstreet,is deeply troubled when he sent a totally innocent man to the gallows for a crime that he didn't commit: The unjustly executed man being ex-convict John Harris for the murder of Hannah Kendell whom he worked for as a gardener. Forced to retire Gordman is obsessed in finding the person who really murdered Mr. Kendell to clear his conscience. It's then that the late Hannah Kendell's nephew Arthur, Morton Lowry ends up being murdered himself in his home under very baffling and mysterious circumstances.

With Gordman's replacement Supt. John Buckley, George Coulouris, handling the case all the leads to Arthur Kendell's murder leads to member of the British Parliament Cive Russell, Pat Cavanagh. Having no alibi of where he was at the time of Kendell's murder and being the #1 suspect by having a violent augment with the man, whom he threatened to murder, the night before the case against Russell was open and shut.

At his murder trial Russell was found guilty and sentenced to hang by the neck until dead in three weeks hence.***SPOILERS FOM THIS POINT DOWN*** It's then that the real truth comes out not only in who murdered Arthur Kendell but his Aunt Hannah as well. A truth so shocking in not only exposing Kendell's murder but even far more mind boggling in who was the person who murdered him and why!

Terrific Victorian crime drama with both Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, as artist Victor Emmeric, clicking together as the Mutt & Jeff, or Fat Man & assistant, crime solving team. The ending of the movie is a real mind blower in that you'd never had figure it out, until it reviled itself, in a million years. Even though it completely explains what lead up to Arthur Kendell's murder down to a crossed "T" and dotted "I".

In the end the disgraced former Scotland Yard Superintendent George Grodman not only redeemed himself but made his arrogant and so full of himself replacement Supt. Buckley look like a total incompetent in his mishandling of he Arthur Kendell murder case that he was entrusted with. He also made up for sending an innocent man-John Harris-to the gallows in, given a second chance, having the person who did in fact murder Hannah Kendell brought to justice. With the justice not being administrated by a court of law but by George Edward Grodman himself!
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An excellent and intelligent film.
MartinHafer25 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
All too often, films are made for dumb people or the lazy or teenagers. Plot twists, intelligent writing and acting seem a lot less important in these films and this is my biggest complaint about American films today. That said, I liked this film because it DID feature all three of these seemingly forgotten elements. Plus, when some knucklehead says that older films are no good, point this one out as an example of a very good older film--one for audiences who don't minding thinking.

The film begins with the unfortunate execution of an innocent man. Naturally, instead of learning from this, the police begin with recriminations and the police superintendent (Sydney Greenstreet) is sacked--even though you could easily see why the dead man's story seemed false. In his place, the weaselly George Coulouris now ran the police department and it was obvious that he was a real toad.

Shortly after this, three friends leave the now retired Greenstreet's flat after having a get together that is disrupted by an argument. The next morning, one of the men (who happens to live across the street) is found murdered. The new superintendent goes about investigating the case all wrong--blindly lashing out for suspects in a very haphazard manner. At the same time, Greenstreet on his own begins looking into the matter as well.

When the film all comes together at the end, why the man was murdered as well as who and how were all solved incorrectly (naturally) by Coulouris. So, it's up to Greenstreet to work quickly to uncover the real why, who and how in order to save a man from hanging.

The film excels with lots of red herrings, twists and intelligent dialog. While not the best of the mysteries of the era, it sure is close and is well worth seeing. They just don't make 'em like they used to....too bad.
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Absorbing Victorian who-dun-it...Greenstreet and Lorre shine...
Doylenf21 June 2002
Fans of SYDNEY GREENSTREET and PETER LORRE should get extra pleasure out of watching these two emote in THE VERDICT, a gaslight era who-dun-it about the perfect locked door crime with a few deft touches that place it above the average mystery thriller.

Greenstreet is impressive as the Scotland Yard detective who loses his job when an innocent man is wrongly hanged. He gets his revenge in an unusual way. Morton Lowry is excellent as the victim and others in the cast all give quality performances--Paul Cavanagh, Peter Lorre, Rosalind Ivan and especially George Coulouris as the man Sydney describes as not big enough to "fill his britches". Only weak casting is Joan Lorring in the role of a lowly music hall singer--her cabaret routine is not the least bit convincing although it doesn't matter much because the film belongs to Greenstreet and Lorre.

As an overly imaginative landlady, Rosalind Ivan is a scream (literally!) Will keep you hooked until the finish.
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Masterful mystery, first-rate script and film with great actors
SimonJack29 December 2013
Others have noted the pairing of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre in this and other films. Aficionados of mystery movies and early films in general find it hard to beat this acting combination. Every film in which they appeared together was a box office success. One can see why in this wonderful whodunit, based on a book by a little-known English author. Greenstreet and Lorre will raise any film they are in a couple notches by their acting personas. And when a film such as "The Verdict" has a great script, plot, and direction, the masters will make it sizzle.

I won't discuss any of this plot – others have given more than enough to whet the interest of anyone who may not know about this film or the actors. This is such a great mystery and entertaining film by the two stars and the entire cast that too much about it in advance would have taken away some of the enjoyment for me. Suffice it to say that this is one of the best mystery movies ever made. It had me guessing to the very end. And, that's great entertainment to me.

I quit watching television years ago, so I don't know about movies that appear in the late hours on some TV stations. Since fewer than 1,000 viewers have rated this film as of the end of 2013, I can guess that it has not been shown much on TV. But it's out now on DVD and I heartily recommend it.

Greenstreet and Lorre were in nine movies together, eight with major roles. Those were: The Maltese Falcon, 1941 (number 133 on the IMDb top 250 list at the end of December 2013); Casablanca, 1942 (number 27 on the IMDb list at the end of 2013); Background to Danger, 1943; Passage to Marseille, 1944; The Mask of Dimitrios, 1944; The Conspirators, 1944; Three Strangers, 1946; and, The Verdict, 1946. They were uncredited table waiters in one other film, In This Our Life (1942). Besides The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca, Greenstreet and Lorre also starred with Humphrey Bogart in Passage to Marseille; and individually they appeared with Bogie in several more films.

While both were known especially for their mystery and drama roles, Greenstreet also did very well in comedies. He usually played a straight man to great satisfaction. Greenstreet got a late start in films, at age 62, with The Maltese Falcon. He made only 23 movies in all, and died in 1954 at age 74. Lorre was much younger but had been around longer and had three dozen movies under his belt before 1941. He had many more movies and TV episodes, but died at the young age of 59 in 1964. The IMDb Web pages have more interesting info on both actors. I'm one of those fans who would enjoy having seen many more pairings of Greenstreet and Lorre in movies.
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"There's Always A Clue"
bkoganbing10 April 2013
Without the box office clout of Warner Brothers leading players, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet made two crackerjack films for their studio, Three Strangers and The Verdict. One only wishes they had done more together.

Greenstreet and Lorre are neighbors in Victorian London and Greenstreet is a Scotland Yard inspector. Another neighbor Morton Lowry has provided invaluable information in the murder of his aunt, a case Greenstreet was assigned to. But after the execution of the suspect which is what began the film, new evidence comes to light proving that an innocent man had been hung.

Greenstreet's rival on the job, George Coulouris practically dances a jig with this news. He's been doing a lot of back channel maneuvering to get Greenstreet canned and himself to take his place. He's truly one hateful dude.

But later on Lowry is found dead in the proverbial locked room and Coulouris is the one now with a baffling case. Greenstreet and his artist friend Peter Lorre who like a bit of a nip now and then are around to offer help which Coulouris would rather die than accept.

How was the murder committee? The only thing I will say on the subject is that when one is good, one can make people believe they see more than they really do.

Lorre and Greenstreet play beautifully off each other and add the presence of Coulouris, you've got the makes of a great film that needs no star power. Such other colorful character players like Paul Cavanaugh, Joan Lorring, Arthur Shields, Rosalind Ivan are also in the cast.

When the solution is given at the end, you'll think it so confounded simple you'll kick yourself you didn't think of it.

Greenstreet and Lorre are not to be missed in any event.
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Peter Lorre at his best!!
logangiese23 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This film stars the great-unappreciated Peter Lorre and the large villainous Sydney Greenstreet as they match wits to try to solve a murder. This is a classic who-done-it murder mystery set in London during the late 1800's. The foggy backdrop that plays through the entire story sets the mood of murder and mayhem. The film starts out with Judge George Gordman (Sydney Greenstreet) making a fatal mistake by convicting an innocent man to death and therefore has to be relieved of his duties and is comforted by his friends and neighbors Victor Emmric (Peter Lorre) and Arthur Kendall (Morton Lowry). Arthur is a Member of Parliament and seems to have many enemies including a political rival and a former mistress threatening him and later that night Arthur is found stabbed to death in his room with the door locked from the inside. After they find their friend dead, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet are on the case to figure out who is the murderer. The film keeps you interested but that is about it. The story itself seems like it was torn out of a Sherlock Holmes novel that had an incredibly mild theme. The beginning was great but it dragged through the middle of the film making it so that you are detached from what's going on. The only thing that saved "The Verdict" was the ending where they reviled who actually the murderer was. This was considered a B film and not a lot of money went into it, but bearing that in mind they made a fine quality film with great acting that shouldn't go unnoticed. Peter Lorre once again is amazing as he plays the same old mysterious villainous type character that he is best known for and which he perfected since "M". Sydney Greenstreet also plays the villainous role flawlessly and seems to demand attention when he is in the room because of his large physique. These two starred in nine movies together because of the chemistry they have with one another but it seems that Peter Lorre's star shines brighter every single time. You can't deny the fact that Peter Lorre had that swagger that is only found in a handful of actors. This is not a great movie by any means but it is a good murder mystery.

2.5 out of 5 stars

Cool Factor: Peter Lorre being Peter Lorre

Lame Factor: The Film could have been Great
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Greenstreet and Lorre -- Excellent As Always
utgard1429 June 2014
Scotland Yard inspector Sydney Greenstreet sends an innocent man to the gallows. As a result, he's disgraced and forced to resign. His replacement is an arrogant, obnoxious rival. Greenstreet decides to commit the perfect murder to ruin his successor's career just as his was. Excellent movie with a smart script and wonderful cast. Any movie with Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre in it is a must-see in my book. They both give terrific performances here. The rest of the cast is also good. Director Don Siegel's first full-length feature film and it's a doozy. He would, of course, go on to a long career with many great movies under his belt. This is a good start, if you ask me.
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Great Whodunit
GManfred16 April 2013
I really wasn't expecting "The Verdict" to be this good. I should have expected a good movie as Don Siegel is one of my favorites ("Dirty Harry", "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers"). The picture combines characteristics of two of the best mystery writers ever in John Dickson Carr's 'locked room' murder stories, and Agatha Christie's inscrutable plots. And don't you think fin de siecle London settings are the best and most atmospheric for murder mysteries?

This one has it all, except perhaps a handsome leading man, but the movie works utilizing an obese senior citizen and a geeky Hungarian as co-leads. They play well off each other and are augmented by some of Hollywood's best support actors, especially George Colouris as Greenstreet's incompetent successor as a Scotland Yard Superintendent.

Very little down time here as Siegel keeps the story moving and holds the viewer's interest throughout. Unlike some reviewers, I thought the premise was plausible and possible. Loved every minute of "The Verdict", and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery as much as I do. It is one of my favorite genres, and I was surprised on two counts; the the confounding mystery of the story, and the surprise of stumbling across it.
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His Defenses Are Down,,,,,
mark.waltz24 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A prosecution attorney must eat crow when, thanks to an error by his assistant, an innocent man is hanged. Forced to resign amidst scandal, he watches and waits while the assistant (now in his old position) prepares to make the same mistake again. "The Fat Man" (Sydney Greenstreet) is back with diminutive Peter Lorre at his side, and before you can say, "Thank You, Mr. Moto", the two are searching for a murderer tied in with the one which doomed the innocent man. Set in the gaslight days of England in the early 20th Century, there is enough fog and eccentric characters to fill the entire Sherlock Holmes series. Greenstreet and Lorre are both very good, with Greenstreet very touching in the scene where he sees the press's reaction to the accidental hanging. Joan Lorring, the trouble-making teen from "The Corn is Green", is all grown up here, while Rosalind Keith emulates Una O'Connor as the high-strung landlady.
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Justice is done
AAdaSC14 January 2012
Sydney Greenstreet (Grodman) is relieved of his position at the police force after an innocent man is hanged under his watch. Devious George Coulouris, who has contributed to Greenstreet's downfall by not helping in the investigation, replaces him. When Morton Lowry (Kendall) is found murdered, Greenstreet can sit back and watch Coulouris make a hash of the investigation, a role that he relishes.

The cast are all good with Greenstreet and funny, morbid artist Peter Lorre (Victor) leading the way. The story is set in Victorian times in England and has plenty of foggy atmosphere. It's a murder mystery type of film that keeps you guessing as to who the murderer could be. You're bound to change your mind a few times but will you get it right? The film moves along at a good pace and is an enjoyable experience as you watch it thanks to the cast. Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet deliver their lines perfectly and they can be very funny as well as very misleading. They have great chemistry together as always.
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Solid mystery is the best sort, it keeps you guessing until the final denouncement
dbborroughs28 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre star in a good little mystery about how Greenstreet's detective sending the wrong man to the gallows and how he tries to solve the crime the right way, only to run smack dab into another murder.

The pairing of Greenstreet and Lorre is wonderful. The mystery is kind of mysterious and the sort of thing you're not really sure of, even if you're like me you work it out. The joy in this film is that the finger of suspicion keeps passing over each and every character repeatedly so its hard to know, until the final fade out who done it.

One of the better mysteries I've seen recently.(Its kind of a proto-noir set in 1890's England.)
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