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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Inherit the Wind [Blu-ray]

 

(Stanley Kramer, 1960)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Stanley Kramer Productions

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:08:18.691

Disc Size: 34,161,993,633 bytes

Feature Size: 32,227,989,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.90 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 9th, 2018

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1557 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1557 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary by Film Historian Jim Hemphill
Original Theatrical Trailer and 3 other film trailers

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Acting legends Spencer Tracy (Judgment at Nuremberg) and Fredric March (Seven Days in May) go toe-to-toe in this thrilling recreation of the most titanic courtroom battle of the century. The great Stanley Kramer (On the Beach) directs this masterpiece featuring Gene Kelly (An American in Paris) in a rare, critically acclaimed dramatic role. Inherit the Wind is powerful, provocative cinema and a heaping measure of entertainment. The controversial subject of evolution versus creation causes two polar opposites to engage in one explosive battle of beliefs. Attorney Clarence Darrow (Tracy) faces off against fundamentalist leader William Jennings Bryan (March) in a small Tennessee town where a teacher has been brought to trial for teaching Darwinism. The stellar supporting cast includes Dick York, Donna Anderson, Harry Morgan, Claude Akins, Norman Fell and Noah Beery Jr.

 

 

The Film:

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."

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

One of the great courtroom dramas of the screen, Inherit The Wind is based on the infamous Scopes 'monkey trial' of 1925, an event bearing an uncomfortable reminder of debates still occurring today in some American states. A young high schoolteacher was brought to court for violating a state law prohibiting the teaching of the theories of Charles Darwin in schools, and thereby denying the biblical account of divine creation. It was a new law back then, and controversial - one in fact not overturned until some 40 years later, and is still being fought over - and the first prosecution under its terms quickly aroused widespread interest. Facing each other across an overheated courtroom on the day (in more senses than one, as the judicial jousting took place in sweltering weather) were two pre-eminent lawyers and orators: the defence attorney Clarence Darrow, and three times presidential candidate William Jenning Bryan. The Baltimore Sun newspaper, whose editorial coverage included that by cynical and acerbic staff member H.L. Mencken, paid many of the expenses incurred by the defence.

Excerpt from VideoVista located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Firstly, I don't own the Twilight Time Blu-ray HERE, to compare. This dual-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Inherit the Wind has a high bitrate and looks very strong in 1080P. The contrast is quite strong supporting very good detail and plenty of depth. There is some fine grain and the overall image is without major flaws - the source is clean, the visuals bright and I noticed no noise - all good. This 1.66:1 AR Blu-ray transfer easily surpasses SD and provides a good HD presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1557 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. Another score by Kramer-regular Ernest Gold (Cross of Iron, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, On the Beach, The Secret of Santa Vittoria), which include Leslie Uggams singing both (Gimme Dat) Old Time Religion - reprised often by the townfolks - and the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Very crisp with some buoyancy. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles - see sample, above - offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Kino add another audio commentary by Jim Hemphill (we enjoyed his commentaries on The Woman in Red and Valdez is Coming Kino Blu-rays) - he is a critic, having written for the Chicago Reader, Film Quarterly and the American Cinematographer magazine etc. and he is also a filmmaker. His analysis is insightful and he has researched his details well telling us which parts of the film are historically inaccurate etc.. It's an entertaining commentary. There are also trailers for Inherent the Wind and three other films.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Inherit the Wind is one of the greatest historical courtroom drama films. Fabulous performances, a fascinating, timeless, true story made by an iconic filmmaker. The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray looks grand in 1080P - and includes the rewarding commentary. Really, what's not to love? Fabulous stuff and this package is definitely recommended!  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 33% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

January 2nd, 2018

 




 

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