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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
In the film, Edison and his wife communicate with each other by tapping out Morse code. In the movie this is presented as a charming endearment, but in fact Edison was so deaf the only way he and his wife could talk was by tapping Morse code on each other's hands. See more »
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 sort 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 »
1st watched 9/11/2009 - 7 out of 10 (Dir- Clarence Brown): Wonderful chronicle of a maverick man and his inventions played by the always likable Spencer Tracy. The movie starts with the elderly Edison(with a nice set of makeup) being honored for his invention of the lightbulb, and then the story goes back to his early days before his first major invention. He was already twiddling with telegraph machines at this point, so we don't really get to see where his motivation came from -- just that he liked to do this. He is personally very ambitious from the beginning and knows that he has to have funds to do what he wants, so he stalks one of the richest men in town for his attention. He gets it after fixing one of his machines and he is hired and is given the space and time to create. He and his ragtag group start putting together quite a few accomplishments to the point where they have their own building and steady workforce. He's shown as having a good comraderie with his close knit fellows but has to let them go when things get rough. At least until the lightbulb is created, then things explode. I'm sure this story isn't 100% true when it comes to Edison as a person, but they do make good entertainment with it. Tracy also gives a good performance and is given a couple of nice speeches(that obviously come from the real Edison). Overall, this is light family entertainment, good for everyone, with an educational message. This doesn't happen often in the movies and MGM did well with this one as the usually did in this era.
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