Stanley Kramer directs Spencer Tracy, Fredric March and Gene Kelly in this courtroom drama based on a real 1925 cause célèbre where a Tennessee school teacher was put on trial for teaching evolutionary theory.
A bit overwhelmingly theatrical – pompous, didactic and with zero adherence to courtroom procedure. Everyone is going at it at 11 and their prosaic reasoning lacks erudite impact. Gene Kelly steals the show as the serpentine journalist who somehow finds himself on the side of good. You can’t really knock something this well made, superbly cast and that wears its liberal bleeding heart on its sleeve… but it would be nice if Spencer Tracy’s lawyer palpably won a few arguments rather continually express frustration that he would have history on his side in the long run.
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