Pulp Fiction: The Verdict (1946)

2023 is the year I’m decoupling some of my long-running features from a specific day. I’ve already done it with Album Cover Art. It’s Pulp Fiction’s time.

Pulp Fiction Thursday has been a regular feature since I was a solo artist at my eponymous blog. It continued when I joined the First Draft band. I’m making it less day specific because The Sunday Dozen is time-consuming and hard to do every week. I need something else to fill the void when I don’t have the time to do a listicle justice. That’s why we’ve stricken the Thursday from Pulp Fiction and made it a free-wheeling and free-floating feature. There weren’t any riots in the streets when Album Cover Art ceased being a Wednesday feature. I didn’t get any complaints from Wednesday Addams either.

On with the show, this is it.

I felt compelled to provide a date for this week’s movie because of the 1982 Paul Newman film of the same title. They’re different stories and the 1946 Verdict doesn’t have a handsome leading man. Instead, it stars the character actor odd couple of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. If I were casting them in The Odd Couple, I’d pick Greenstreet to play Felix and Lorre as Oscar.

The Verdict is a period piece set in Victorian London. Ernest Haller’s cinematography highlights the London Fog, which was caused by coal burning stoves and furnaces. It was always dark in the winter in London back then. How noir is that?

Greenstreet plays a police inspector who sends an innocent man to the gallows. He tries to make up for it by finding the real killer. There are a few more homicides along the way as well as a terrific twist at the end of the movie. Whodunit is a real shocker and I’m usually good at figuring these things out. The guilty party in my house is usually Kitty Perry Mason. He’s mischief on legs.

One more still. Holy exhumation, Batman:

The other noteworthy thing about The Verdict is that it was Don Siegel’s feature film directorial debut. Siegel is one of my favorite genre picture directors. He didn’t like the whodunit storyline but still did a good job with The Verdict. What’s not to love about working with Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre?

I neglected to mention co-star Joan Loring. Here’s her big musical number:

The Verdict is based on an 1892 novel by Israel Zangwill, The Big Bow Mystery:

It’s time to get all arty and shit with some posters:

They misspelled the director’s name. Oy just oy.

Here’s the quad poster with Siegel spelled correctly:

It’s time for us to join the confectionary conga-line and follow them to the lobby:

I wonder if that soda is spiked.

Lobby cards for The Verdict are scarce online. This one is as crooked as Kasper Gutman:

That made me so dizzy that I decided to post this one of a pensive Paul Newman:

Holy minimalist lobby card, Batman.

Back to the 1946 movie The Verdict with the trailer:

I could only find the German language trailer. Peter Lorre *was* German, after all.

The last word goes to Eddie Muller with his Noir Alley intro and outro: