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Edison, the Man (1940)

Passed  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  10 May 1940 (USA)
7.1
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82 year old inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Alva Edison is honored in 1929 and he reflects back on his sixty year career of scientific achievement.

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(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Title: Edison, the Man (1940)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Rita Johnson ...
Lynne Overman ...
Bunt Cavatt
...
General Powell
...
Mr. Taggart
...
Ben Els
Felix Bressart ...
Michael Simon
Peter Godfrey ...
Ashton
Guy D'Ennery ...
Lundstrom
Byron Foulger ...
Edwin Hall
Milton Parsons ...
'Acid' Graham
Arthur Aylesworth ...
Bigelow
Gene Reynolds ...
Jimmy Price
Addison Richards ...
Mr. Johnson
...
Snade
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Storyline

Hoored at a banquet for his sixty year career as an inventor, scientist, and businessman, 89 year old Thomas Alva Edison reflects back on his long career, which includes such achievements as the stock market ticker, the phonograph, the light bulb, and the motion picture. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Edison, el hombre  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was one of the films that Spencer Tracy really believed in and actively supported not because he starred in it, but because he was a great admirer of Thomas Edison. This was unusual as Tracy was known throughout most of his career to disparage his own gifts as well as the importance of motion pictures. Also, prior to this film Spencer Tracy had been a very active member of the "Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences". He even hosted the awards show on at least one occasion. However when the nominations came out for the best films of 1940, Tracy was appalled that "Edison the Man" was so overlooked in the nominations. It was only nominated for best writing. Tracy swore he would never attend another academy award ceremony again. He never did. Not without irony is that although he was nominated another 6 times over the next 28 years, Tracy never won another Oscar after that after winning two in a row in the previous two years. See more »

Goofs

The montage sequence depicting Edison's inventions lists "electric power transmission" over a shot of a massive transmission line and the tower that holds it up. That technology was actually developed not by Edison but by Nikola Tesla. (Tesla held over 700 patents, including Radio. Marconi stole the radio patent from Tesla. The US Patent office has since revoked Marconi's claim, giving it to Tesla.) Edison insisted on powering his lights with direct current, which could only travel short distances from the generators that produced it. Tesla used alternating current, which could be run through transformers to increase its voltage so it could be moved over long distances, then reduced in voltage again for home use. Tesla's alternating current, not Edison's direct current, quickly became the standard and is what we use today. See more »

Quotes

Thomas A. Edison: Uncle Ben, I've got to do something, and I'm open for suggestions.
Ben Els: You foolin', Tom?
Thomas A. Edison: I wish I was?
Ben Els: Nobody ever asked me for advice before.
Thomas A. Edison: Why, then, you ought to have a lot of it stored up.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits appear as 19th Century sampler embroideries. See more »

Connections

Featured in History Brought to Life (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
(uncredited)
Written by Thomas Payne Westendorf
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An entertaining, but flawed bio of Thomas Alva Edison
15 February 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Motion Picture biographical representations of famous people usually remove the warts in their life history. It was not until February of 2003 did I learn that using carbon filaments, was the brainchild of African-American inventor Lewis Latimer and his partner, Joseph V. Nichols. The movie focuses around Edison's discovery of the carbon filament which lights the world, when actually Edison's filaments were made from bamboo and only lasted 30 hours.

The story as told is very pleasant and the performances of Spencer Tracey, Gene Lockhart and Charles Coburn hold the viewers interest. With the warts, this is still an inspiring motion picture. I think seeing Mickey Rooney as YOUNG TOM EDISON should be viewed first.


16 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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