Fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy and needs feeding … Clarence Darrow

“Inherit the Wind” is one of the best movies of its kind ever made. If you have not yet seen it, I highly recommend it. Not only is it brilliantly acted, directed with a script from the actual trial, but it is shockingly relevant — shocking because the trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee, 1925.  It ought to feel old but it is as current as today’s headlines. The script for “Inherit the Wind” starring Spencer Tracy, Frederic March, and Gene Kelly, is largely based on the actual Scopes Monkey Trial’s transcript.

Inherit the Wind” (1960) was directed by Stanley Kramer. The trial was held in Dayton, Tennessee because teaching evolution had been banned by the state’s Butler Act.

You would think that we would have come a long way since then. We did but we didn’t stay there. We passed good legislation. Civil rights and all that. We eliminated the legalized part of our national evil. Then, almost immediately, we started doubling back and we are still doubling back. It’s hard to see if we will ever recover our road again. 

We’re heading down a bleak, dark road. Again. We lack a memory of having been here before. If we remembered, we’d know how badly it will end — because this kind of national regression always ends badly.

A nation led by hatred, ignorance, and fear will never find a happy ending.

Categories: Ethics and Philosophy, film, Film Review, History, Movies, Politics, Religion

Tags: , , ,

13 replies

  1. This is one of the best movies ever made. Spencer Tracy gives a great performance, as do the others in the movie. It is a movie everyone should see, especially these days.


  2. I don’t remember how Andrew Sarris categorized Kramer in his seminal “The American Cinema: Directors and Directions”, but I know he made a few great films during the 1950s and 60s. Besides the one you are reviewing here, On the Beach and Judgment at Nuremberg come to mind, along with one of the greatest visual gag comedies I’ve ever seen –It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World.


    • They are two of Garry’s favorite films. I read “On the Beach” and have seen the movie a couple of times, but it is pretty depressing. “Judgement at Nuremberg” is a great movie, but I find it hard to watch. It’s so personal for me. It doesn’t make it less great, but it makes it hard for me to watch. You have excellent taste in movies!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I enjoy reading your articles and Garry’s. They remind me of the conversations I had with classmates and friends in the 1960s and 70’s –so stimulating. Thank you!


        • Garry is a TOTAL movie buff. He was a drama major in college and wanted to be an actor — and somehow, wound up a news reporter. Which wasn’t nearly as different as it should have been. But he’s really INTO it. He doesn’t like writing reviews much. He doesn’t like movie critics and often wonders if they have seen the same movie he saw. I feel that way too. I read the review — which bears no resemblance to the movie — and wonder if they watched it or just wrote something based on the information they got from the production company.

          I think he just wrote a review of Coming 2 America, which we watched last night. We both liked it very much and it was a real sequel — not a remake of the first one, but a different movie of “what happened later.”

          This is another one where you gotta wonder if the reviewer watched the same movie or they automatically give negative reviews to anything where the cast is mostly Black.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose I should mention that he also made a few really BAD films. To be fair, most great directors made at least some crappy pictures.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember reading this and watching it in school. Such a great story, and I agree. We still have so far to go.


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