Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies: Inherit the Wind

(This post originally appeared in somewhat different form on January 24, 2007.)

I remembered watching this movie many years ago and enjoying it, so when I noticed that the local PBS affiliate was running it, I decided to watch it again. I'm happy to report that it holds up quite well.

It's the story of the Scopes Monkey Trial, with Spencer Tracy playing Clarence Darrow, Frederic March playing William Jennings Bryan, and Gene Kelly cast against type as H.L. Mencken. The characters have different names in the movie (and the play it's based on), but it's obvious that's who they all are. The cast is good from the big names all the way down to the character actors and bit parts, although Frederic March does some pretty shameless scenery-chewing. But that's the way his role is written, so you can't really blame him.

The movie is rather heavy-handed at times, which you'd expect from a Stanley Kramer production, and often stage-bound, revealing its origins as a play. But the good writing, the crisp black-and-white photography, and the fine job by the actors, especially Tracy and Kelly, all combine to make a very good film. I'm glad I watched it again.


Rick said...

It is a good film. It also shows how much society has changed. A one-eighty. Waiting for the return pendulum swing.

Anonymous said...

Hardly forgotten, but an excellent film, worthy of reminding people to see again (or even for the first time).

Ron Scheer said...

Haven't seen this since it was new, but I remember its excellent portrayal of Darrow.

Cap'n Bob said...

I like it, too. Harry Morgan as the judge and Dick York as Scopes deserve mention.