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Edison, the Man (1940)

Passed  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  10 May 1940 (USA)
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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.



(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rita Johnson ...
Lynne Overman ...
Bunt Cavatt
General Powell
Mr. Taggart
Ben Els
Felix Bressart ...
Michael Simon
Peter Godfrey ...
Guy D'Ennery ...
Byron Foulger ...
Edwin Hall
Milton Parsons ...
'Acid' Graham
Arthur Aylesworth ...
Gene Reynolds ...
Jimmy Price
Addison Richards ...
Mr. Johnson


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Edison, el hombre  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 A. 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 »


Thomas A. Edison's hearing ability is played in the movie as being much better than it was in reality. See trivia. See more »


Ben Els: I keep worryin' about Bunt. I guess I won't get a wink of sleep tonight.
Thomas A. Edison: Ah, Mr. Els, you shouldn't try to do two things at once. If you're gonna sleep, sleep. If you're gonna worry, why stay awake and make a good job of it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Follows Young Tom Edison (1940) See more »


I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
Written by Thomas Payne Westendorf
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User Reviews

Spencer Gave a Great Performance
2 May 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Viewed this film a long time ago and enjoyed seeing the great acting performance that Spencer Tracy portrayed as Thomas A. Edison. Tracy must have put a great deal of study into Mr. Edison's life and his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J. because he looked just like him. Tom Edison had a very rough times being without money and struggling many long hours with very disappointing results. Gene Lockhart,(Mr.Taggart) had a great deal of stock in the gas companies and was trying to stop Edison from producing the electric light. However, Charles Coburn,(General Powell) had great confidence in Tom Edison's inventions and he gave a great deal of financial support among the stock brokers in New York. This is a very nice story of a great inventor and many generations will enjoy this story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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