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Law and Popular Culture

A Course Book (2nd Edition)

Series:

Michael Asimow and Shannon Mader

Both law and popular culture pervade our lives. Popular culture constructs our perceptions of law and changes the way that players in the legal system behave. Now in its second edition, Law and Popular Culture: A Course Book explores the interface between two subjects of enormous importance to everyone – law and popular culture.
Each chapter takes a particular legally themed film or television show, such as Philadelphia, Dead Man Walking, or Law and Order, treating it as both a cultural text and a legal text.
The new edition has been updated with new photos and includes greater emphasis on television than in the first edition because there are so many DVDs of older TV shows now available.
Law and Popular Culture is written in an accessible and engaging style, without theoretical jargon, and can serve as a basic text for undergraduates or graduate courses and be taught by anyone who enjoys pop culture and is interested in law. An instructor’s manual is available on request from the publisher and author.
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4. Lawyers as Villains: Assigned Film: The Verdict (1982)

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4

Lawyers as Villains

Assigned Film: The Verdict(1982)1

4.01 The Verdict—Book and film

Barry Reed’s novel The Verdict was published in 1980.2 Reed (1927–2002), a successful Boston lawyer and author of four legally themed novels, stated that the book was not based on a real case. In the book, Galvin and Concannon appear much as they do in the film, but the other characters and many plot details differ. For example, in the book, Galvin took some depositions (he didn’t ignore the case until ten days before trial). In addition, in the critical scene near the end of the film, the judge allows the copy of the admitting report to be admitted as evidence.

4.01.1 David Mamet and Sidney Lumet

David Mamet, the outstanding dramatist and director, adapted Reed’s book into a screenplay. Mamet’s father, stepfather, and two siblings were lawyers. Mamet himself worked on other movies with legal themes, including The Winslow Boy (1999) and Oleanna (1994). The Verdict’s director, Sidney Lumet, made numerous legally themed movies in his distinguished career, including Find Me Guilty (2006), Night Falls on Manhattan (1997), Guilty as Sin (1993), Q&A (1990), Prince of the ← 60 | 61 → City (1981), Serpico (1973), Daniel (1983) and 12 Angry Men (1957). He also cowrote, co-produced, and directed the cable television series 100 Centre St.



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