Inherit The Wind

inherit-the-wind

Inherit the wind is a fictionalized story of the 1925 famous “Monkey” trial. The trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee, in 1925. The trial did put a young high school teacher named John T. Scopes prohibiting the teaching of any theory that denied the biblical account of divine creation. Scopes was defended by the legendary Clarence Darrow, and the prosecution was led by three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan. Darrow’s expenses were paid by the Baltimore Sun papers, home of the famous journalist H.L. Mencken. In Stanley Kramer’s film, Darrow becomes Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy), Bryan is Matthew Harrison Brady (Fredric March), Mencken is E.K. Hornbeck (Gene Kelly), and Scopes is Bertram T. Cates (Dick York). Certainly most of the citizens in the film’s fictional town of Hillsboro, Tenn, believe in the literal truth of Genesis. “There’s only one man in this town who thinks at all,” Drummond roars, “and he’s in jail. ” The judge clearly admires Brady, even addressing him as “Colonel” in court. Drummond objects to this, so, as a result, the mayor reluctantly makes him a “temporary” colonel just for these proceedings. March and Tracy bring the full force of their talents to their roles as opposing lawyers (and one time friends) who face off on the issue of evolution vs. creation.The film features an iconic performance by Spencer Tracy. Florence Eldridge, March’s real life wife, is excellent as March’s film wife who recognizes the flaws in her husband, but loves and admires him anyways. March is at turns witty, cunning, over-the-top, hammy or contrite, depending upon the demands of the scene. His scenes on the witness stand with Tracy are among the best written and beautifully acted pieces in film history.What Kramer so effectively captured in the tightly shot film — was the intense claustrophobia and choking heat of the setting, the barely contained violence this conflict engendered.

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