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 duke1029@aol.com

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 »


Thomas A. Edison: [after the latest attempt to find a filament that will work in the electric light] Well, we failed again. That's the net result of nine thousand experiments.
Michael Simon: Too bad, Tom. We know the work you have done. We are as sorry as you are that you didn't get results.
Thomas A. Edison: Results? Man, I got a lot of results. I know nine thousand things now that won't work.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


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


Meeting in the Rain
Music by David Snell and Herbert Stothart
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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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