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Inherit the Wind (1988)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | History  -  20 March 1988 (USA)
6.7
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Based on a real-life case in 1925, two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution.

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Title: Inherit the Wind (TV Movie 1988)

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Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

A teacher has taught about evolution in a small town in Tennessee. He has violated state law by doing this. Two great lawyers appear, one to assist in his defense, the other to help prosecute him. The town is divided in many ways which become apparent as the trial progresses. This is a dramatization of the Scopes Monkey Trial that pitted William Jennings Bryan against Clarence Darrow in a real case. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

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20 March 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Brady-Skandal  »

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Trivia

The real William Jennings Bryant ran for President three times: 1896, 1900, and 1908. Bryant was the first Presidential candidate to extensively barnstorm during a Presidential campaign in an era when most candidates did not. Although it's suggested that he might be contemplating a run in next election, which would have been 1928, it's highly unlikely. He did serve in public office twice - as Congressman from Nebraska from 1891 to 1895 and as Secretary of state under Woodrow Wilson from 1913 to 1915, when he resigned over the country's policy toward Germany after the Lusitania was sunk. Despite his fundamentalist Christian beliefs, he was considered as Liberal and Progressive, supporting anti-Imperialist policies and trust-busting. See more »

Quotes

Matthew Harrison Brady: People ask whether this trial is to be held in this little town of Hillsboro. I say that the greatest man that ever walked the face of the earth was born in a little town. That town was called Bethlehem. We don't measure greatness by the size of where we live. We measure greatness by those principles we live by. My dear friends. You know, yesterday at that marvelous picnic they gave Lucy and me they were serving watermelon. Hmmm. Delicious. I couldn't help thinking about that watermelon last ...
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Version of Inherit the Wind (1965) See more »

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An interesting misfire on the Lawrence - Lee play
20 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This 1988 version of INHERIT THE WIND tried a slightly different approach to the story than the film or the 1965 versions. Apparently there was a deeper delving into the historical material (and - unlike the period of the film and the first dramatic version on television - the resurgence of anti - evolutionary voters in the country) to make the story fairer.

Jason Robards played Drummond/Darrow very well - in the tradition of Muni, Tracy, and Melvyn Douglas. But it was the performance of Kirk Douglas as Brady/Bryan that was unique. As I have mentioned elsewhere in these reviews, Bryan did have valid reasons to dislike Darwinism aside from religious feelings. The issue of Social Darwinism, created by an English elitist snob named Herbert Spencer, had been grabbed by various people in power positions in big business and politics that suggested that the best people were the top of the evolutionary tree - and that big business had the right to destroy small competitors due to "survival of the fittest". Bryan hated this idea, as opposite to Jeffersonian Democracy. He actually intended, after his own humiliation on the witness stand by Darrow to put Darrow on the stand to explain his acceptance of Social Darwinism. Judge Raulston, the trial judge, refused to allow this.

If that had been brought out in this production, it would have set it apart and given a more balanced view of the two parties who clashed in Dayton. Instead, Douglas played Brady like a revivalist (similar to Begley, without Begley's physical resemblance to Bryan). But he also kept trying to keep up the friendly feelings that Darrow and Bryan had when both were fighting on the same side on political issues from 1893 to 1908. While all the productions include those moments of nostalgia between them, this attempted to suggest that Douglas/Brady hoped to "save" the soul of Robards/Drummond. It was a curious idea, but it just did not seem realistic (given their diametrically opposite views on evolution and the Tennessee law). I give this a 7 for the production but the approach was a misfire.


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