4.9/10
962
36 user 17 critic

The Story of Mankind (1957)

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

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An aging film star and her alcoholic daughter compete for a handsome extra.

Director: Harry Keller
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, Jane Powell, Jan Sterling
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

There is a problem with foreign nationals using Cuba as a convenient jumping off point for illegal entry into the United States. So U.S. Immigration Service Agent Peter Karczag (John Hodiak... See full summary »

Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, John Hodiak, James Craig
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Director: Marc Allégret
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, Gérard Oury, Terence Morgan
Tortilla Flat (1942)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Danny, a poor northern Californian Mexican-American, inherits two houses from his grandfather and is quickly taken advantage of by his vagabond friends.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, John Garfield
Comrade X (1940)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An American reporter smuggling news out of Soviet Moscow is blackmailed into helping a beautiful Communist leave the country.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Clark Gable, Hedy Lamarr, Oskar Homolka
Algiers (1938)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Beautiful Gaby meets a romantic jewel thief in the mysterious Casbah.

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Charles Boyer, Hedy Lamarr, Sigrid Gurie
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

At a wedding party involving three beautiful women, a young man should choose the most charming. But a professor intervenes to prevent the verdict, remembering the troubles caused by Paris in a similar situation.

Directors: Marc Allégret, Edgar G. Ulmer
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, Massimo Serato, Alba Arnova
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Vincent Van Der Lyn, a Dutch freedom fighter in WWII, is forced to neutral Lisbon to escape the Nazis. There he meets a small band of underground conspirators. The group's leader, Ricardo ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Negulesco
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, Paul Henreid, Sydney Greenstreet
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When strongman Samson rejects the love of the beautiful Philistine woman Delilah, she seeks vengeance that brings horrible consequences they both regret.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, Victor Mature, George Sanders
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A brave longshoreman lingers on after being gunned down by 3 racketeers, as a determined assistant D.A. searches hard for fearful witnesses against the men.

Director: Arnold Laven
Stars: Richard Egan, Jan Sterling, Dan Duryea
Comedy | Crime | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Peanuts White, a burlesque comic, is recruited by U.S. agents to impersonate international spy Eric Augustine (whom White resembles) in a mission to purchase a million-dollar microfilm in ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Bob Hope, Hedy Lamarr, Francis L. Sullivan
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A harried, overworked advertising executive is being pursued romantically by one of his clients, a successful perfume magnate ... and his former fiancée. The latest client of the agency is ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Wallace
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, Robert Cummings, Anna Sten
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... The Spirit of Man
... Joan of Arc
... Peter Minuit
... Sir Isaac Newton
... Monk
... Cleopatra
... Queen Elizabeth I
... Mr. Scratch - The Devil
... Nero
... Hippocrates
... High Judge
... Spanish Envoy
... Pharaoh Khufu
... Napoleon Bonaparte
... Marie Antoinette
Edit

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:

The Story of Men and Their Women From the Beginning of Creation! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 November 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La historia de la humanidad  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Since this is Harpo Marx's only color feature, it's the one movie in which audience members get to see that his wig was red, not blonde. See more »

Goofs

Sir Isaac Newton published his famous paper outlining the law of gravity in 1666, but in the sequence in which Harpo Marx plays Newton he performs on the harp Stephen Foster's song "Beautiful Dreamer," written in 1864 -- almost two centuries later. See more »

Quotes

Marie Antoinette: Oh, would it be tactless to ask, what the poor creatures want?
Marquis de Varennes: They protest they haven't any bread, Your Majesty! Ha-ha-ha.
Marie Antoinette: Oh, no bread, indeed. Then, let them eat cake! Ha-ha-ha!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Inside the Marx Brothers (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Campy Classic 'Judgment Day' Tale!
29 November 2000 | by See all my reviews

Irwin Allen's production of 'The Story of Mankind' has been called one of the worst films ever made, a film so bad that it has NEVER been released on video, and barely ever appears on television (and only then in a VERY abbreviated form.) This is UNFAIR! While the film is intentionally (and sometimes unintentionally) campy, it has many milestones that make it worthy of respect. First, it is Ronald Colman's final film (he died a year after the release), and he still shows the urbanity, the kindness, and the 'voice' that made him unique. Second, it is the last theatrical appearance of the Marx Brothers (although they appear separately), and Harpo plays the harp one last time, a bittersweet experience. Third, Vincent Price plays the Devil, and certainly no actor is more perfect for the role! Fourth, the film foreshadows Irwin Allen's later work, on television ('Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea', 'Time Tunnel') and in film ('The Poseidon Adventure', 'The Towering Inferno'). There are other milestones to this film, as well, but I think you can see my point!

The story is VERY loosely based on Henrik Van Loon's wonderful, witty history of the human race (which is a fabulous read, if you ever get the chance!) The 'basic' framework of the story has been changed into an 'End of the World' tale, set in the heavens. High Judge Cedric Hardwicke must decide whether or not Earth should be allowed to blow itself up, after the creation of a 'super' bomb. Two counsels are selected; for the Prosecution is the Devil (Vincent Price), sly and sarcastic, and pleased that God's ultimate creation has fallen on it's face; for the Defense is the Spirit of Mankind (Ronald Colman), an entity that carries the essence of all of Man's achievements, both good and bad.

As both sides present their cases, the 'history' of the world is played out, using Warner Brothers' stock footage and guest star cameos. Among the most memorable of these cameos are Virginia Mayo as a vampy Cleopatra, Peter Lorre, a lazily derranged Nero, Hedy Lamarr as a pious Joan of Arc, Harpo Marx miming Sir Issac Newton, Groucho Marx leering and wisecracking as Peter Minuit, buying Manhattan Island, and Dennis Hopper as a WAY over-the-top young Napoleon!

Throughout the proceedings, Price and Colman (who had appeared together seven years earlier, in 'Champagne for Caesar') trade barbs over Man's worthiness, in exchanges both funny and sadly true, at times!

'The Story of Mankind' is NOT classic cinema, but it is fun, and has a kind of charm uniquely it's own. It should NOT be forgotten!


55 of 59 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 36 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial