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4.7 out of 5 stars
Inherit The Wind [DVD]
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 June 2003
This film is based on the play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee about the 1925, Scopes Monkey Trial. It is tricky to keep the differences between this play and the real trial apart in one's mind. Spencer Tracy (Henry Drummond) and Fredric March (Matthew Harrison Brady) spar over the legality of teaching of evolution in Tennessee. This combination is guaranteed to keep you glued to your seat. In this movie Scopes, while teaching evolution to a high-school biology class is arrested and placed in jail.
Some time the other characters get lost in the shuffle yet one other will show through. That is Gene Kelley who plays E. K. Hornbeck who reports the trial.
I will not give a blow by blow of the trail but to say it gets rather heated and is broken up with several adjournments with time to reflect on what was said and going to be said.
If you are interested in the real thing then read Scopes Autobiography "Center of the Storm."
Pr 11:29... "HE WHO TROUBLES HIS OWN HOUSE WILL INHERIT THE WIND,"
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2007
As courtroom dramas go, this is unsurpassable: 'JFK', 'Anatomy of a Murder', even Spencer Tracy's later masterful performance in 'Judgement at Nuremberg'...none are quite as good as this. What makes it remarkable is that the trial of John Scopes for teaching evolutionary theory in Tennessee happened in 1925 and ought to feel like old history - but it isn't! America is still full of creationists who believe every word of the Old Testament is literally true - in many polls, it is the MINORITY in the States who side with Darwin.

In fact, this film is very balanced in terms of faith and science: it doesn't kick the Book of Genesis out completely. From today's perspective, here in a largely secular UK, parts of it seem a little quaint, not least the final revelation that Spencer Tracy's defence lawyer is actually a bit of a Bible buff deep down. Clarence Darrow, the real lawyer on whom Tracy's character is based, was rather less sentimental. I also suspect that Gene Kelly's big city journalist was intended at the time to be unpleasantly cynical, but by today's standards he seems spot on - his parting line is brilliant!

Of course, the film plays a little fast and loose with what happened in the real trial (which is presumably why all the names have been changed). It is still, however, a masterful piece of work, with scintillating dialogue and real drama - as topical today as when it was made.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2011
Hot on the heels of his `On The Beach', Stanley Kramer brings us `Inherit The Wind'.

This is a fine courtroom drama and much more, pitting theology against science. Filmed in B&W, Spencer Tracy heads an entirely believable cast of characters, who work a witty and insightful script to the full. An unexpected surprise is Gene Kelly featured in a rare straight role as a cynical reporter. The plot is based upon a true case of a US teacher prosecuted for teaching evolution at school (in the 20th century, would you believe).

Kramer's is a timeless movie where the pyrotechnics are exclusively cerebral. If anyone thinks that special-effects and big bangs are needful entertainment, this is the stuff to prove the opposite. I just thought the ending flagged a little.

The DVD supplied by Amazon was satisfactory in all respects. Soundtrack is claimed to have been restored, but is still in original mono. Run-time is given as 123mins, Viewer rating is `U'. There are no extras.

Recommended. Less than [] quid at time of purchase.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
B.T. Cates is arrested for teaching Darwin's theory on evolution in his classroom. Famous lawyer Henry Drummond is brought in to defend his right to teach such a theory. In opposition on the prosecution side is preaching fundamentalist/ politician Matthew Brady, whom the town dearly loves.

Inherit The Wind is based on the real life {farcical} case in 1925 Tennessee, where John T. Scopes stood trial for violating state laws appertaining to material taught to children in class. It became known as The Monkey Trial, and here we get the film version of that trial, cobbling together bits from the transcript of the trial and using dialogue taken from the play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E Lee. Inherit The Wind perfectly captures the stupidity of that court case, excellently photographed by Ernest Laszlo, and directed with aplomb by Stanley Kramer {to me a career high}, it ultimately climbs thru the roof of greatness on account of two blunderbuss performances from Spencer Tracy & Fredric March as Drummond and Brady respectively. Anyone proclaiming these two performances as overacting should quite frankly be punched repeatedly in the face, for it's a lesson in emotional driven acting of the highest order. Bolstering the show is Gene Kelly offering slimy comic relief out in the wings, Harry Morgan as the judge caught between the two balls of fury, and a smashing little turn from Fredric March's real life wife Florence Eldridge, as ironically, Brady's erstwhile spouse.

Inherit The Wind was nominated for four Academy Awards, not winning any in what was a great year for cinema, but really it doesn't matter because the film stands up even today as a monument of great acting and a lesson in just how skew whiff things can get in the name of tired old beliefs and religion gone berserker. Watching it now, I still find myself pondering just how far forward the world has got in its pursuit of adequate teachings, but hey! That's just me, hopefully you will watch this film and not only be entertained royally, but also be forced to think a little more about its subject matter. 9/10
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Based upon a true story, in a small, American town. A science teacher (Dick York - who went on to play the beleagured husband, Darren, in "Bewitched") is accused, under an ancient law, of wrongly teaching Darwin's Theory of Evolution, rather than accepting the Creation, as told in The Bible. Thrown in jail for no more than teaching scientific fact, he is to be prosecuted by the most pious Matthew Harrison Brady (Fredric March), who is determined that the truth be told! However, rather than leaving the poor school teacher's fate to the hands of the Almighty, Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy) decides to take up his case and the two great adversaries are prepared for battle.

From the outset, the town is divided: the majority are in favour of Christian teaching and values and even march around the town proclaiming that they'll hang the schoolteacher; pretty violent stuff for a supposedly forgiving religion. Was this the birth of religious extremism?

The trial is a farce, as well as a show. However, despite the passion and fervent attempts to see justice stifled, the defence continues. The heat is unbearable - both weather and atmospherically.

The scriptwriting is perfection; the acting flawless and the entire film is an absolute masterpeice; a story that simply must be told - and understood - for future generations. It is a story that has significance even (and especially) in the so-called modern world. When fanatics are allowed to do as they please, it is frightening to see how their own prejudices and stupidity mirror precisely the very things they purport to stand against. Watch this film and be afraid: it could still happen again!
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2001
This is one of my favourite films. The best thing about it is undeniably the incredibly written script, eloquent and thought provoking in the extremes. And the actors are all perfect. Spencer Tracey and Fredric March are incredible actors portraying the the friends on opposing sides of a court case, and I reckon this is Gene Kelly's best role as the sharp cynical reporter from New York. Overall this is a stunning film!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2011
movie wasn't so much a debate about creation v evolution, as the value of free speech. The issues were analogous to the mcCarthyite "red under the bed" witch hunts in 1050's America. By use of rich caricature (though not removed from reality - the 'actors' are still with us in contemporary life)and dynamic dialogue, the script penetrated to the core of the issues. This compelling drama made good use of humour and i found it easy ti identify with the charachters. This is scriptwriting and directing of the highest quality. I wish there was more of it about. The value of free independent thought, free from persecution of any kind (however subtle - the media was criticised too) is of utmost value to our Human community.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2013
Two brilliant performances by Spencer Tracy and Frederick March highlight the conflict which typifies America to this day. Any country which has as its motto 'In God we trust' still dwells in medieval bliss. The simple fact is that gullibility is the national characteristic. The Templeton Foundation still represents the worst aspects of creationism or 'intelligent Design'. The 'Bible Belt' still predominates in the south. These people are just as bad as the Muslim radicals who are equally seduced by misconceptions. March embodies the worst aspects of ignorance which will not tolerate the threats of reality. Tracy offers common sense. But no one is prepared to have a monkey as an ancestor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2014
This is one of my favourite films of yesteryear, just as good now as when I first saw it more years ago than I would like to admit !! Tracey and Marsh are really superb central characters that provide the film with the drama, funny moments and depth that makes it a joy to watch. A great film with excellent acting, entertaining characters and an engrossing (true) story. If you are after a change from the noisy, puerile, shallow, over-cooked eye-candy that seems to be the hallmark of so many of today's films then you simply must buy it. You won't regret it.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2003
I first saw Inherit the wind as a teenager around ten years after it was made. I was just getting into courtroom dramas and would watch Perry Mason and others of its genre. I thought it was a "good" film and left it at that. Some ten years later I saw it again and this time through different eyes. The characterisations of the leading characters was perfect, sufficient to bring the roles to life but not to overwhelm the story. Each time I see the film I get more out of it. The arrogance of government trying to tell the people what they can and cannot hear and learn, the pomposity of the so called religous moral majority who take it upon themselves to prosecute a teacher who does not follow their teachings, the newspaper who will follow any course to grab a headline. Through all these plots and sub-plots the story winds a path which eventually results in the realisation in the viewer that the most important thing mankind has is his right to form his own views providing he has all the facts to hand. As the line from the film says "even a sponge has the right to think".
In these times when newspapers raise people to celebrity status only to knock them down, when the religous right tries to stop freedom of choice over many aspects of our lives such as abortion, when wars are fought based on religion, colour, tribal loyalties, this film shows us that eventually the freedom of thought is our greatest asset. Spencer Tracy, Frederick March and Gene Kelly give masterful faultless performances,despite the film being in black and white the atmosphere generated is consuming. This is a film which I watch every three to four months to remind myself of the performances and of my right to think.
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