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Inherit the Wind [1960 film] (1960)

by Stanley Kramer (Director), Harold Jacob Smith (Screenwriter), Nedrick Young (Screenwriter)

Other authors: Claude Akins, Donna Anderson, Noah Beery Jr. (Actor), Ernest Gold (Composer), Jerome Lawrence (Original play)4 more, Fredric March (Actor), Harry Morgan (Actor), Spencer Tracy, Dick York

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881246,264 (4)11
A small Tennessee town gained national attention in 1925 when a biology schoolteacher was arrested for violating state law and teaching Darwin's theory of evolution in the classroom.

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Inherit the Wind (1960)

Spencer Tracy – Henry Drummond
Fredric March – Matthew Harrison Brady

Gene Kelly – E. K. Hornbeck
Dick York – Bertram T. Cates
Donna Anderson – Rachel Brown
Harry Morgan – Judge Mel Coffey
Claude Akins – Rev. Jeremiah Brown
Elliott Reid – Prosecutor Tom Davenport
Paul Hartman – Bailiff Mort Meeker
Florence Eldridge – Sarah Brady

Screenplay by Nedrick Young and Harold Jacob Smith, based on the play (1955) by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Directed by Stanley Kramer

Black and white. 128 min.


I expected a lot more from this movie. I have no idea how historically accurate it is and I couldn’t care less. This is not a documentary, so better research doesn’t necessarily make for a better movie, end of the story. The subject itself, based on the notorious “Scopes Monkey Trial”, is fascinating and unfortunately not yet as irrelevant as it would have been in a fairly normal world. The two leading roles are done more than justice by two of the greatest actors of all time. Gene Kelly is memorable as the suave and cynical journalist.

The movie has its moments for sure (e.g. the last scene between Drummond and Hornbeck), but on the whole it is slow, noisy, insufficiently dramatic but unduly melodramatic. Even Spencer Tracy and Fredric March cannot make Drummond and Brady very interesting characters. Indeed, the attempt to turn Brady, a religious bigot if there ever was one, into a tragic character is nothing short of ridiculous. The scene with his wife in the end and Drummond’s posthumous rave about the “greatness” in the man are unintentionally hilarious. The subplot with Rachel, Cates’s fiancée, and her father, another bigot of epic proportions, is largely a waste of screen time. Even the most potentially intense and dramatic scenes – notably Drummond’s summoning Brady as a witness, presumably the climax of the movie – fail to live up to their promise, and certainly not for want of trying by Tracy and March. Kramer’s stilted direction doesn’t help the matter.

In short, promising material let down by indifferent writing which no amount of acting genius could save. I understand there is a 1999 made-for-TV remake with Jack Lemmon as Drummond and George Scott as Brady. Promising as the cast sounds, I am not sure I want to see it. ( )
1 vote Waldstein | Aug 1, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kramer, StanleyDirectorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, Harold JacobScreenwritermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Young, NedrickScreenwritermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Akins, Claudesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, Donnasecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beery Jr., NoahActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gold, ErnestComposersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, JeromeOriginal playsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
March, FredricActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morgan, HarryActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tracy, Spencersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
York, Dicksecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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Based on the play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee.
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A small Tennessee town gained national attention in 1925 when a biology schoolteacher was arrested for violating state law and teaching Darwin's theory of evolution in the classroom.

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