The Verdict | 1982
Washed-up lawyer Frank Galvin (Paul Newman) finds unexpected redemption when he takes on a medical malpractice case in this David Mamet-scripted courtroom drama.
Galvin’s local bar, where he plays pinball and meets up with glam divorcee Laura Fischer (Charlotte Rampling) is 7B Horseshoe Bar (formerly PH Vazac’s), 108 Avenue B at Seventh Street, at the southeast corner of Tompkins Square Park in the East Village – familiar from films such as The Godfather Part II and Crocodile Dundee.
The funeral home, from which he’s ignominiously ejected when it’s discovered he’s a lawyer on the make, is the real Boston, though. More surprisingly, it’s not only a real funeral home, it’s still in business. William F Spencer Funeral Home, 575 East Broadway at H Street, South Boston, and only a little modernised since 1982.
Although the courthouse itself is a studio set, the staircases and the grand rotunda are those of New York’s Tweed Courthouse, City Hall Park facing Chambers Street. Officially the New York County Courthouse, its name comes from ‘Boss’ Tweed, the entrepreneur who notoriously embezzled vast sums of money from the city during the building’s construction.
The office of the Bishop, where Galvin refuses an offer of $210,000 is is the Otto Kahn Mansion, 1 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue on New York’s Upper East Side. This was the apartment block robbed in the same director’s 1971 The Anderson Tapes, and crops up on-screen again as the Osborn residence in The Amazing Spider-Man 2,.
The hospital and the courtroom corridors are Massachusetts State House, Beacon Street, with its Gothic interior designed by Charles Bulfinch. The ‘hospital’ entrance, where Galvin talks to Dr Gruber, is at the junction of Mount Vernon Street and Hancock Street. There are free tours weekdays. Its golden dome is featured in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed.
But the deeper Galvin digs, the more things begin mysteriously to go wrong.
Dr Gruber’s ‘Boston’ townhouse, where Galvin discovers the doctor is out – having suddenly decided to go away on holiday – is 151 Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights. The house was the former home of playwright Arthur Miller, who wrote not only Death Of A Salesman and The Crucible, but also the screenplay The Misfits for his then-wife, Marilyn Monroe.
Galvin has to bring in his own expert witness, Dr Thomson (Joe Seneca), whom he meets at Boston’s South Station, opposite the old (now gone) Essex Hotel.
Laura Fischer is supposedly staying at the ‘Sheraton Boston’, but the hotel bar in which Galvin has an unpleasant confrontation with her is in the – now closed – Sheraton Russell Hotel, 45 Park Avenue at East 37th Street, New York.