Sunday 22 September 2013

Inherit the Wind [1960]

Inherit the Wind, adapted from a 1955 play of the same name, was a fictionalized account of a famous 1925 trial which had made the Creationism v/s Evolution debate national news. On one hand, this was an account of the divide between religious fundamentalism and rationalism which rages to this day, while on the other it was an underhanded slap to the face of McCarthy’s notorious “Witch Hunts”. It begins with a high-school teacher in a conservative Christian town being arrested for teaching evolution in violation of state laws. Brady (Fredric March), a former Presidential candidate and staunch opponent of Darwinism, decides to lead the Prosecution in a last-ditch attempt to gain mileage in his waning political career. His adversary turns out to be Drummond (Spencer Tracy), a renowned lawyer and a man of reason, who is appointed to lead the Defense by Hornbeck (Gene Kelly), a cynical, atheistic and influential newspaper columnist. The fact that the two veterans with mutually exclusive fundamentals were former allies made the fight that much more bitter and hard-fought. The upright teacher’s love-angle with a naïve young lady (Florence Eldbridge), daughter of the town’s venom-spewing preacher, added to the moral and personal crises. Unlike two famous American court-room dramas made 1 year on either side of this film, Anatomy of a Murder and Judgment at Nuremberg (the second by Kramer himself), this was nowhere as taut, gripping or psychologically incisive, as the director resorted to near propagandist means and loads of histrionics to drive home his point. In the end, the two strongest reasons for watching this would easily be Tracy and Kelly.

Director: Stanley Kramer
Genre: Drama/Courtroom Drama
Language: English
Country: US

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