Inherit The Wind


Word Count: 816

The Truth about Stanley Kramer’s Inherit the Wind History
is consistently used in films as a technique to teach the values
and morals of events that occurred. But what’s the point in
teaching history through films when they are terribly fictional?
In films, the director finds the best scheme to intrigue their
audience only by changing the actual event to satisfy their
interest. This is true for Stanley Kramer when he made the
history of John Scopes and his “monkey trial” into a film
called Inherit the Wind. Kramer knew the exact
stereotypical “Hollywood history” his audience enjoyed. The
trial itself had a series of conflicts, the main one being
evolution vs. religion. Yet there was also a series of tensions
throughout the movie, including the argument between
individual vs. society. The same themes from Inherit the
Wind can also be seen from the actual “monkey trial” event
in Dayton, Tennessee. It is sometimes said that truth is
stranger than fiction and according to this film, truth is also
stronger than fiction. Inherit the Wind ignored the true
dramatic moment, which is essential to the actual trial that
happened in Dayton, Tennessee. Kramer even portrayed his
own opinion of this trial in this film. The truth was so
distorted in the film so now the argument is not individual vs.
society or evolution vs. religion but history vs. fiction. Inherit
the Wind is set in the little town of Hillsboro when Bertram
Cates (played by), a biology teacher, was thrown into prison
for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution. Two famous
lawyers were behind this case, Henry Drummond (played
by) as the defender and Mathew Harrison Brady (played
by), as the prosecutor. Mathew Harrison Brady who was
“voted 3 times for a presidential candidate” was sent to
Hillsboro is carry out the job as a prosecutor for this trial. As
for Cates, a journalist from Baltimore Herald by the name of
E.K. Horrbeck willingly provided a lawyer named Henry
Drummond for him. Horrbeck was interested in the Cates,
expecting to make big bucks from this big “media” case. The
two opposing lawyers, Drummond and Brady, were
Kramer’s two main characters, both with different opinions
on how humans arrived on earth. Drummond supported the
evolution theory, while Brady, the creation theory. In this
film, Kramer distorted the facts of the actual trial to make
this film more of a drama than a history documentary. He
added fictitious characters like Reverend Heremiah Brown
(played by) and his daughter Rachel Brown (played by) to
bring this drama out. It’s obvious that Rachel is used as icon
in Inherit the Wind to make film be seen as more of a drama
with the typical love story that directly attracts more
audience to his film. Kramer also added Brady’s death in the
courtroom. He dramatically died of a heart attack in the
chaotic courtroom at the end of the trial after his last speech.
Persecuted The film is far from the truth, the actual trial
didn’t happen in quite the same way. The 1925, Dayton,
Tennessee went against one of its individual, John Scopes.
He just so happened to be substituting for a biology class
that was learning about the Darwin’s theory. Similar to the
film, the actual lawyers, Darrow and Bryan were also
famous in their position of the society. Darrow was the
defender, and Bryan, the prosecutor. The characters in this
film also had different personalities compared with the actual
history figures they are. Take Drummond for example, he
was less cynical and biting than Scopes’ actual defender,
Darrow. Brady, on the other hand, was portrayed more of a
comical fanatic at moments in the courtroom. From this
event on, the flaws of this little town began to reveal. The
townspeople of Hillsboro were far more frenzied,
mean-spirited, and ignorant than the real citizens of Dayton
were toward this trial. From the fictitious characters and the
distant differences between the history and film, I can
conclude that Kramer was completely biased when he was
directing this film. When the actual trial and the film are
compared, it’d obvious that Kramer was not only thinking of
his audience’s interest but his own. He was biased against a
particular class of people and their beliefs. The people who
believed in the “miracle recorded in the bible, especially the
section in Genesis about God’s creation, were portrayed in a
disgraceful uncomplimentary way. However, the people who
didn’t believe in the bible were eminently reasonable people
who must put on with the threats and ignorance of the
fundamentalist Christians around them. The Christian
fundamentalists, Bryan being one of them, were consistently
lampooned throughout the film while skeptics and agnostics
were consistently portrayed as intelligent, rational, and even
heroic