Inherit the Wind (1960)

Inherit the Wind (1960), produced and directed by Stanley Kramer.

I've been warned many times not to take this film as a documentary of the actual Scopes "Monkey" Trial of 1925. The play fictionalized the original events as a metaphor for the McCarthy period, in an attempt to champion intellectual freedom.

The background here is the breakdown of the humorless old time religion and its defeat by lively and good-natured intellectuals.

The authors changed the names but we know who is who:

The histrionic courtroom blustering is a bit much for me. The performances are better when the old friends sit on the porch and rock together, talking over old times. You can be close to someone but still divided by issues and ideals.

The temperature in the courtroom was said to be 97F. It looks about that hot in the film, the way most people are sweating. Here is a photo of the two actual lawyers during the trial:

I recall a history -- was it in Bruce Bawer's Stealing Jesus? -- claiming that the Christian Fundamentalists, humiliated on a national stage by the Scopes Trial, went underground for several decades and built their own colleges, reemerging as a more potent force in the 1970s and 80s.

Available on Blu-ray from Twilight Time. Superb image.