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Movie review of inherit the Wind - Essay Example

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The film adaptation was theatrically released in 1960 and starred Spencer Tracy and Gene Kelly. It was produced by Stanley Kramer Productions…
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Movie review of inherit the Wind
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Inherit the Wind: A Review The movie, Inherit the Wind, is Stanley Kramer’s adaptation of the play of the same written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin. The film adaptation was theatrically released in 1960 and starred Spencer Tracy and Gene Kelly. It was produced by Stanley Kramer Productions. The film earned for Tracy an Academy Awards nomination.
The movie was a historical account of the classic legal drama wherein Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan were battling over the right to each evolutionary theory in public schools. Inherit the Wind fictionalized the Scopes “Monkey” Trial (one of the most famous trials in American legal history), which happened in 1925, in order to explore the then current controversy – the McCarthy trials. However, although the movie based a large portion of its scenes from the actual trial transcript, it is still a composite depiction of the Scopes trial. Kramer added several elements to the original tale, adding a love interest here, a fiery character there – all for the sake of embellishments and dramatization of the film and the messages it wanted to convey.
The movie explored the subject of individual freethinking and how it was put on trial when a high school biology teacher was charged of illegally teaching Darwinism. The film attacked religious fanaticism and sided with Darwinism, including the ideas that it represented during the time.
Three of the points in the film that proved pivotal in the progression of the story and the successful delivery of the message the director wanted to convey include: 1) the many scenes added to open out the courtroom-bound drama such as the separate depiction of the arrivals of the lawyers, establishing the characterization immediately; 2) the climactic scene between the two lawyers wherein Brady forced Drummond to admit that the Bible could be interpreted in a nonliteral fashion, allowing the argument that evolution could be consistent with the biblical account of creation; 3) the religious hymns and folk songs used in the film in an apparent effort to counteract negative criticisms of fundamentalists that the film was anti-Christ. The second point in the film mentioned previously, underscored the role of the two lawyers, Darrow and Bryan, in outlining, explaining and resolving the problem posited by the film.
One aspect in the movie that I found unappealing was the extreme stereotyping committed by the movie. For example, Bryan was portrayed as an ignorant, a bigot, and religious fundamentalist. The man was indeed a fundamentalist but that his character is more complicated than what was presented. One sees here the prejudice being committed by filmmakers emboldened by their artistic license. The movie was able to typecast Bryan, then religion and its devout observers.
There are two things I have learned from the movie: first, that religion has its excesses and the liberal movement must be credited from trimming them down. Secondly, artists and filmmakers such as Kramer could be so emboldened by their artistic license that they tend to view the world from a myopic point of view, or rather, based from their points of view alone.
All in all, I would recommend this movie because it has a wealth of insights on our history and that the elements found therein could still find relevance in contemporary times because the institutions mentioned are still very much with us.
Reference
Inherit the Wind. Dir. Stanley Kramer. Perf. Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly. DVD. United Artists, 2001 (DVD Release). Read More
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