Clarence Darrow

Clarence Darrow

Director: John Rich, Henry Fonda

Cast: John Rich, Henry Fonda

     
 
Henry Fonda stars in this one-man play based on the writings of famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow. The play, constructed in the form of a monologue, traces Darrow's progress from a greenhorn lawyer to a giant in the field of civil libertarianism. Darrow (Fonda) muses on experiences ranging from his handling of the turn-of-century Pullman strike to the

Overview

Henry Fonda stars in this one-man play based on the writings of famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow. The play, constructed in the form of a monologue, traces Darrow's progress from a greenhorn lawyer to a giant in the field of civil libertarianism. Darrow (Fonda) muses on experiences ranging from his handling of the turn-of-century Pullman strike to the Leopold-Loeb murder to the Scopes "Monkey Trial" of 1925. Surprisingly, Fonda's bravura performance won him neither a Tony Award when presented on Broadway, nor an Emmy when recreated for television in 1974. Clarence Darrow was first seen on PBS; it later became a staple of such cable services as Arts & Entertainment.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
This one-man show based on the David W. Rintels play is an entertaining introduction to the life and times of the legendary American defense attorney Clarence Darrow. The set is a courtroom with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop. After Henry Fonda walks on-stage in the persona of Darrow, he thumbs his suspenders and tells folksy tales about horse-trading and public hangings in Darrow's hometown of Kinsman, OH, before getting down to the serious business of Darrow's life in the law. Darrow (1857-1938), perhaps America's most celebrated attorney, defended legal underdogs in some of this nation's most famous cases, including the John T. Scopes "monkey trial" in Dayton, TN, in July 1925, pitting Darrow and Darwinism against William Jennings Bryan and Protestant fundamentalism. Fonda performs brilliantly as he roams the stage, mixing amusing anecdotes with accounts of labor strikes, anarchy, bribery, murder, racism, and the everyday life of hapless railroad workers scraping by in tenements with one toilet for every five families. Although Fonda is the only actor in this production, he holds the attention of the audience throughout, using gestures, bearing, tone of voice, and an engaging storytelling ability. In describing a catalogue of controversial cases -- including one in which Darrow exonerated himself of jury-tampering -- Fonda makes clear that it was idealism that motivated the wily lawyer. Wherever anyone was accused of "the crime of human thought" -- or wherever the mighty oppressed the weak -- Darrow popped up, deus ex machina, to draw blood with razor-edged truth. Make no mistake, though: Clarence Darrow is not a scholarly production for tweedy intellectuals; rather, it is entertainment, a once-upon-a-time story of a man who was larger than life.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/31/2006
UPC:
0032031320895
Original Release:
1978
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kultur Video
Region Code:
0
Time:
1:20:00

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Clarence Darrow
1. Opening [:53]
2. The Early Years [7:18]
3. The Haymarket Bombing [4:40]
4. The Pullman Strike [8:34]
5. Reform in Chicago [3:03]
6. The Coal Miners [5:00]
7. The Haywood Trail [7:40]
8. The McNamara Defense [8:34]
9. Darrow Indicted [7:50]
10. Criminal Practice [2:19]
11. Darrow the Debater [3:20]
12. On Juries and Religion [2:37]
13. The Monkey Trail [3:08]
14. On Death [1:03]
15. The Sweet Trial [8:30]
16. The Leopold-Loeb Defense [5:07]

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