The Town Without Pity/Inherit the Wind [2 Discs] [DVD]
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Overview

Synopsis

Inherit the Wind
The Evolution vs. Creationism argument is at the center of the Jerome Lawrence-Robert E. Lee Broadway play Inherit the Wind. Lawrence and Lee's inspiration was the 1925 "Monkey Trial," in which Tennessee schoolteacher John Scopes was arrested for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution in violation of state law. Scopes deliberately courted arrest to challenge what he and his supporters saw as an unjust law, and the trial became a national cause when The Baltimore Sun, represented by the famed (and atheistic) journalist H. L. Mencken, hired attorney Clarence Darrow to defend Scopes. The prosecuting attorney was crusading politician William Jennings Bryan, once a serious contender for the Presidency, now a relic of a past era. While Bryan won the case as expected, he and his fundamentalist backers were held up to public ridicule by the cagey Darrow. In both the play and film versions of Inherit the Wind, the names and places are changed, but the basic chronology was retained, along with most of the original court transcripts. John Scopes becomes Bertram Cates (Dick York); Clarence Darrow is Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy); William Jennings Bryan is Matthew Harrison Brady (Fredric March); and H. L. Mencken is E. K. Hornbeck (Gene Kelly). Dayton, Tennessee is transformed into Hillsboro -- or, as the relentlessly cynical Hornbeck characterizes it, "Heavenly Hillsboro." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Town Without Pity
Gene Pitney's hit title song for this courtroom drama became a bigger and more enduring success than the film in which it was repeatedly sung. The story takes place in postwar Germany in the village of Neustadt. A group of four drunken American soldiers come upon a teenage girl, Karin Steinhof (Christine Kaufmann), in the woods outside town. She had been trying to seduce her boyfriend, Frank Borgmann (Gerhart Lippert), but the inexperienced young man got flustered and left. The soldiers take advantage of the situation and are charged with rape. Karin's father Herr Steinhof (Hans Nielsen) wants the death penalty. Major Steve Garrett (Kirk Douglas), the attorney whom the military brings in to handle the defense, bullies Karin's parents, warning that he will put her on the stand. He also talks to townspeople and finds out that Karin has a reputation for standing undressed in front of windows as people pass by. Garrett builds a strong case, leading to a dramatic trial and a shocking conclusion. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Spencer Tracy
    Spencer Tracy - Henry Drummond
  • Fredric March
    Fredric March - Matthew Harrison Brady
  • Gene Kelly
    Gene Kelly - E.K. Hornbeck
  • Florence Eldridge
    Florence Eldridge - Sarah Brady
  • Dick York
    Dick York - Bertram T. Cates
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