Monday, December 3, 2007

Inherit the Wind

Inherit the Wind; Drama, USA, 1960; D: Stanley Kramer, S: Spencer Tracy, Frederic March, Gene Kelly, Dick York, Harry Morgan, Donna Anderson

In the town of Hillsboro, professor Bert gets arrested because he taught in school that man was created by evolution, not by God's intervention. Religious citizens are appalled and organize a trial that is observed by the journalist Hornbeck. Lawyer Henry was hired for professor's defence, while the views of the church are represented by the religious lawyer Matthew. Bert's lover Rachel suffers a breakdown as a witness, while Henry's friends, the scientists, get stopped by the judge to give a scientific statement. In the end the jury declares Bert guilty, but the judge sentences him to pay only 100 $ of fine to ease the negative publicity of the town. Matthew dies from a heart attack.

Based on real events, trial drama "Inherit the Wind" is one of the most bizarre, daring and intriguing Hollywood films from the 60s that handled the theme of religious fanatics and was thus nominated for 4 Oscars, 3 BAFTAs and 2 Golden Globes. Enriched with unusual shots and sharp lines, the story about a professor on trial for his teaching of the evolution in school manifested the absurdity of life already with the sole reactions of the citizens when the lawyers show up - they greet Matthew, who represents the church, with cheers, while they meet Henry, the agnostic lawyer, with boos and swishes. In the courtroom Henry examines a member of the jury who admits that his wife "takes care of going to church for both of them" while in the strong finale he even poses a few tricky questions to Matthew, like how did Eve's sons find women or if making a phone call is considered a sin since it isn't mentioned or allowed in the Bible. Even though the ending is a little bit disappointing and not all potentials were exploited to their fullest, this is truly a brave film that questions the public perception and the clash between religion and science, while Spencer Tracy is in great shape.



J Luis Rivera said...

Hey! I've been looking for that one for a while now. My girlfriend saw it at school and says exactly the same as you did. I'm not a fan of Tracy but I'll try to give this a go soon.


Marin Mandir said...

Well, I think the subject of the film is even relevant today.