Inherit the Wind - Scene Analysis
The scene that introduces the audience to Matthew Harrison Brady, in Inherit the Wind, (Dir. Stanley Kramer. With Spencer Tracy, Frederic March, and Gene Kelly. MGM. 1960) uses dialogue, composition, camera work and music to develop Matthew Brady. Kramer reveals important information about the plot of the film in this scene. The scene opens with a bird's eye view shot of the town of Hillsboro, and focuses in on the movement of the parade below. The camera comes to rest on the convertible that transports Brady and his wife. The town of Hillsboro welcomes the well-known politician. He will serve the town by being the prosecutor in a trial about evolution, similar to that of the historical Scopes Trial. This scene, where we first meet Brady, reveals his strong character, and the role of savior that the town expects him to play. Through the development of Brady, Kramer also introduces us to the issues of religion and politics. Stanley Kramer, the director, introduces the audience to two key ideas in the very first shot of the scene. He does this through the use of background tools, like music and scenery. As the camera fades in from the previous scene, music begins to play, and a group of women sing a religious hymn, "Give me that old time religion." The extremely loud music continues for the duration of the parade. At first the audience doesn't know the source of the music, but as the parade comes to an end, the camera focuses on a group of militant looking women, who march and sing. This song draws the audience into the impending controversy over religion. It expresses the entire town's point of view on the issue. The audience can see that religion affects the soc...
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...ene illustrates. Through the process of developing Brady's character, Kramer questions whether it is possible for religion to exist in politics. Brady can't balance the two, as his ultimate collapse illustrates. Kramer also points out the detrimental, oppressive affect that a small town can have on the truth. The narrow mindedness of the town enabled Brady to take control and prevent any alternative point of view to be considered. Is it possible for a small town to equally consider both sides of an argument? Brady appears to the town as a very strong self-assured man who believes in his ideas. At the climax of the film, Drummond places Brady on the stand, and questions his ideas. This serves as a major theme for the film and as a result it becomes necessary to have a strong development of Brady's character, so that the viewer can better understand his fall.
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