7.1/10
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Edison, the Man (1940)

Passed | | Biography, Drama | 10 May 1940 (USA)
82 year old inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Alva Edison is honored in 1929 and he reflects back on his sixty year career of scientific achievement.

Director:

Clarence Brown

Writers:

Talbot Jennings (screen play), Bradbury Foote (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Tracy ... Thomas A. Edison
Rita Johnson ... Mary Stilwell
Lynne Overman ... Bunt Cavatt
Charles Coburn ... General Powell
Gene Lockhart ... Mr. Taggart
Henry Travers ... Ben Els
Felix Bressart ... Michael Simon
Peter Godfrey ... Ashton
Guy D'Ennery ... Lundstrom
Byron Foulger ... Edwin Hall
Milton Parsons ... 'Acid' Graham
Arthur Aylesworth ... Jack Bigelow
Gene Reynolds ... Jimmy Price
Addison Richards ... Mr. Johnson
Grant Mitchell ... Snade
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Storyline

Hoored at a banquet for his sixty year career as an inventor, scientist, and businessman, 89 year old Thomas Alva Edison reflects back on his long career, which includes such achievements as the stock market ticker, the phonograph, the light bulb, and the motion picture. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 May 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Edison, el hombre See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was made only 9 years after the real Thomas A. Edison died. See more »

Goofs

The montage sequence depicting Edison's inventions lists "electric power transmission" over a shot of a massive transmission line and the tower that holds it up. That technology was actually developed not by Thomas A. Edison but by Nikola Tesla. (Tesla held over 700 patents, including Radio. Guglielmo Marconi stole the radio patent from Tesla. The US Patent office has since revoked Marconi's claim, giving it to Tesla.) Edison insisted on powering his lights with direct current, which could only travel short distances from the generators that produced it. Tesla used alternating current, which could be run through transformers to increase its voltage so it could be moved over long distances, then reduced in voltage again for home use. Tesla's alternating current, not Edison's direct current, quickly became the standard and is what we use today. See more »

Quotes

Thomas A. Edison: [speaking to young Jimmy Price] Funny thing about mistakes- they don't have to be *permanent*. I had to find that out *myself* when I was a boy.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits appear as 19th Century sampler embroideries. See more »

Connections

Remade as General Electric Theater: Edison the Man (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Meeting in the Rain
(uncredited)
Music by David Snell and Herbert Stothart
See more »

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User Reviews

Great as an Edison "Primer"
4 December 2006 | by holzhauerSee all my reviews

The more things change, the more they remain the same. We hear current scandals and corporate ruthlessness now and in past history. This picture paints the "Hollywood" side of Edison, but he too has a ruthless side.

Edison certainly deserves much credit, but he had his vices. He invested heavily in Direct Current (DC) technology; good for many applications, but not for the needed power and lighting applications Edison envisioned. No mention is made in the movie of Nikola Tesla. Edison invited him to the USA from Croatia to work in Edison's labs. Edison made him work from 10:30 am to 5:00 the next morning, seven days per week. Even though Tesla did not believe in Edison's direct current motors he worked hard to improve them. Edison told him if he could do that he would give him a bonus of $50,000. He came up with twenty-four new designs to replace the old ones of Edison's. Edison was delighted with the results but did not pay Tesla the $50,000 he had promised. When Tesla finally asked him about it, it is said that Edison told him, "Tesla, you don't understand our American humor." That is when Tesla left the Edison Co. and eventually worked for Edison's rival George Westinghouse. Westinghouse was ruthless as well, but he and Tesla got along, and secured the contract to supply generators at Niagara Falls.

Films such as these are great to bring initial awareness. My hope would be they prompt more investigation. That in mind, I'll take these "Hollywood biographies" over what often comes from the current film industry: recycled garbage.


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