7.1/10
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25 user 11 critic

Edison, the Man (1940)

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

Director:

Clarence Brown

Writers:

Talbot Jennings (screen play), Bradbury Foote (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Tracy ... Thomas A. Edison
Rita Johnson ... Mary Stilwell
Lynne Overman ... James G. 'Bunt' Cavatt
Charles Coburn ... General Powell
Gene Lockhart ... Mr. Taggart
Henry Travers ... Ben Els
Felix Bressart ... Michael Simon
Peter Godfrey ... Ashton
Guy D'Ennery ... Lundstrom
Byron Foulger ... Edwin Hall
Milton Parsons ... 'Acid' Graham
Arthur Aylesworth ... Jack Bigelow
Gene Reynolds ... Jimmy Price
Addison Richards ... Mr. Johnson
Grant Mitchell ... Snade
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Spencer Tracy's Greatest Performance

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 Thomas A. Edison was so deaf that the only way he and his wife could talk was by tapping Morse code on each other's hands. See more »

Goofs

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 Thomas A. Edison but by Nikola Tesla. (Tesla held over 700 patents, including Radio. Guglielmo 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 short 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 »

Quotes

Nancy Grey: Mr. Edison, what would you say is the most valuable thing in the world?
Thomas A. Edison: That is easy: time.
Nancy Grey: [surprised and puzzled] Time?
Thomas A. Edison: For all the money in the world you can not buy a minute of it.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Hollywood: Style Center of the World (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
beautifully executed, but historically inaccurate
22 February 2006 | by roofusdcSee all my reviews

Edison in this version comes across as a kindly soul, sort of "Santa the inventor" -- kind to one and all.

Don't look for historical accuracy of any kind in this film. Although the acting is nicely done. Spencer Tracy is a constant delight. He even gets to play the organ in one scene! Tracy and Co.'s contributions rate it a six, but it certainly doesn't deserve anything more.

I especially loved the one-handed Morse-code tapping Edison. One doesn't need to know much about Edison to realize pretty quickly that this is sheer hagiography.

There is even a court room scene between gas and electrical lighting. Pretty fun.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 May 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Edison, el hombre See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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