|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Inherit the Wind [Blu-ray]
(Stanley Kramer, 1960)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Stanley Kramer Productions
Video: Kino Lorber / Eureka (UK)
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 2:08:18.691 /2:07:57.670
Disc Size: 34,161,993,633 bytes/ 45,906,663,198 bytes
Feature Size: 32,227,989,504 bytes / 37,529,030,016 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.90 Mbps / 34.98 Mbps
Chapters: 9/ 8
Case: Standard Blu-ray case/ Transparent Blu-ray Case
Release date: January 9th, 2018 / May 21st, 2018
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
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)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
English (SDH), None
• Audio Commentary by Film Historian Jim Hemphill
A new video interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard (24:51)
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 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."
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.
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.
The Eureka has a max'ed out bitrate but the image quality improvement is negligible and probably only noticeable to some in-motion. Still looks strong.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
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.
In the audio, Eureka again, marginally gain superiority with a linear PCM 2.0 channel mono in 24-bit as opposed to 16-bit. It seems to support the higher end better but you would have to have discerning ears to notice it. The UK disc also has optional English (SDH) subtitles (see sample), but their Blu-ray disc is Region 'B'-locked.
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.
No commentary but Eurela offer a new 25-minute video interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard discussing the film's production and it's reaction. There is also an original theatrical trailer and the package has a second disc DVD.
Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Eureka have slight advancement in the a/v, Kino offers the commentary but the UK disc has the Neil Sinyard interview. It would depend on how much personal weight commentaries carry for you. Both packages are strong and give just representation of this classic.
January 2nd, 2018
June 6th, 2018