Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Inherit the Wind

I finally saw Inherit the Wind (1999) today. I'd looked for it at a couple of local video rental stores without success, but today I was at the library and, while looking for something else, I noticed it on the shelf with the videos.
This is not a full review of the movie, but here are a few observations:
  1. I was a little surprised that very little of the movie has anything whatsoever about evolution. And this was because the court actually prohibited science discussion from the trial! I've read that this is a historically accurate detail too.
  2. The lawyer in defense of the teacher who was on trial for teaching evolution speaks very eloquently in defense of freethought--which turned out to be what the defense hinged on. Freethought vs. unthinking adherence to a dogma.
  3. The friendship between Drummond and Brady (the prosecuting lawyer) was fascinating. At the end of the movie Drummond even describes Brady as a "giant," even thought they disagree and fight each other like crazy in the courtroom.
  4. Two versions of atheism are presented in the film. There was Henry Drummond, the defense lawyer, who believed in a lot. In contrast to the stereotype of the atheist who believes in nothing, he holds truth and the ability of humans to reason to be nothing less than sacred. The contrast is provided by the newspaperman, the hardened and cynical atheist. Near the end of the movie, after the trial, they have an interesting conversation in which Drummond castigates the newspaperman for his cynicism and scoffing at other's beliefs.
  5. Also true to history, as I've heard, the teacher is found guilty but only fined $100. It was a technical loss, but an idealogical win. And Drummond mentioned an intent to appeal--I'll have to look up what happened as the appeal is not in the movie.
  6. This could be a hard movie for some Christians to watch, I think due to the portrayal of religious fanatisism and the grilling about the Bible that Drummond gave Brady when he called him to the stand. I, however, found that scene highly enjoyable.
In short, it's a beautiful movie.

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