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The Story of Mankind (1957)

The devil and the spirit of mankind argue as to whether or not humanity is ultimately good or evil.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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The Spirit of Man
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High Judge
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Spanish Envoy
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Storyline

The council of elders of outer space is deliberating on a very important subject: Must mankind be allowed to survive, or is it so esentially evil that it must be destroyed? A devil and an angel act as prosecutor and defense for the human race, and the movie presents in a very interesting way a series of episodes of the human history. What will be the final veredict? Innocent, or Guilty? Written by Jose Beltran-Escavy <pepe@prince.pe.u-tokyo.ac.jp>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No Greater Cast Ever! Rarely So Vast An Undertaking! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

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Details

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Release Date:

8 November 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La historia de la humanidad  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film uses a great deal of stock footage from earlier movies, including Land of the Pharaohs (1955) and Helen of Troy (1956). See more »

Quotes

Christopher Columbus: And so Father, the ship sails east from Spain over a long and tedious route and finally, after much travel, it lands in the Indies. Now, just suppose it were possible to reach the Indies by traveling in the opposite direction. West instead of east. And just suppose the route was shorter and more direct.
Monk: Impossible. Impossible.
Christopher Columbus: Why?
Monk: I'll show you why. Only madmen would sail on the alchemy. You would sail right off the end of the earth into a dark abyss. Boom. No more ship.
Christopher Columbus: But suppose Father, ...
[...]
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Connections

Edited from King Richard and the Crusaders (1954) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Story of Mankind in under 2 hours
7 August 2011 | by (Steubenville, Ohio) – See all my reviews

The technological development of the H-Bomb has caused the court of heaven to put mankind on trial.

Should man not be-allowed to proceed with his new invention or should he be allowed to blow himself to eternity? Somewhere in outer space (for it could hardly be held in heaven) the trial of the centuries takes place. Arguing for allowing man to blow himself up is Scratch (Vincent Price). Arguing for the goodness of mankind is The Spirit of Mankind (Ronald Coleman).

Scratch and Mankind then take the court (and the audience) on a tour throughout history showcasing some of the most interesting and important events and people that have shaped the world in which we live. The premise of the film is similar to a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where Picard and the Enterprise crew have to defend the obliteration of mankind from a high powerful being known as Q who has put mankind on trial.

It is a film that touches on philosophical and theological issues but is more interested in highlighting historical events so it doesn't become a deep spiritual film filled with profound thought and insight. It starts out with an interesting premise, but as it travels along through history, although still interesting, seems somewhat respective and begins to be a tad bit tedious and thus maybe a little bit boring.

Of the more interesting moments includes Groucho Marx as Peter Minuit who swindled Manhattan Island from the Indians and Harpo Marx as Isaac Newton. Chico Marx plays a monk advising Christopher Columbus about why sailing across the world would be a bad idea. How can you go wrong with the Marx Brothers.

Overall 'The Story of Mankind' is interesting enough to watch especially if it is in a history class. It could have kept the hosts and perhaps could have had more engaging portraits of history. It has a fun premise and some good dialogue between Scratch and Mankind. But as an intriguing and gripping film about history it would be better to go with 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure'.

What does the court decide in the end? At the very least they decide to end the film.


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