Edison, The Man

Watch Edison, The Man

"Spencer Tracy's greatest performance!"
  • Passed
  • 1940
  • 1 hr 47 min
  • 7.0  (1,766)

Edison, The Man is a biographical drama film released in 1940, directed by Clarence Brown, and starring Spencer Tracy as the legendary inventor Thomas Edison. The movie follows Edison's life from his early years in the Midwest, his career as one of America's most successful entrepreneurs, to his final years as an old man. The film is based on the book "Edison: A Biography" by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Francis Parkman.

The movie opens with Edison as a young man working as a telegraph operator in a Western Union office in Boston. Tracy's portrayal of Edison is compelling and convincing, incorporating his genius, swagger, and egoism. Edison's near obsession with inventing is portrayed in a light-hearted and comedic way that makes it easy for viewers to understand how much he loved his work.

As Edison's career starts to take off, we witness his struggles and failures with creating the lightbulb, and how he had to work tirelessly to overcome significant setbacks. The movie vividly depicts the many experiments he did, the long hours worked, the sleepless nights, and the frustration he endured as he tried to invent a working filament for the incandescent light bulb.

During this period, Edison meets and marries his wife, Mary Stilwell, played by Rita Johnson, and they have their first child. The film also captures the moment when he discovered that he could record sound, which led to the creation of the phonograph.

As the years go by, the audience sees Edison's reputation and success grow, and his obsession with work increase. However, the movie highlights the impact that his dedication had on his personal life, such as missing family events and neglecting relationships with his friends and family.

Despite his stubbornness and obsession, Edison's work ethic and intelligence is admired by his employees and family. Lynne Overman plays Michael Simon, Edison's loyal business partner and friend who supports him through tough times and helps him navigate the complexities of running a successful business. Tracy and Overman's on-screen chemistry is one of the highlights of the film, and their banter provides some of the movie's funniest moments.

Towards the movie's conclusion, Edison battles against Nikola Tesla, played by Joseph Crehan, over the concept of alternating current (AC) versus DC power. Edison's refusal to recognize the superiority of AC power leads to a downturn in his reputation and a mass exodus of his supporters to their rival Tesla.

In the final scenes, Edison's career is winding down, and his vision and hearing are failing. Despite this, he remains a revered figure in American culture, with a legacy that is still renowned today.

Edison, The Man is less of a biopic and more of an ode to the essence of American culture at that time, celebrating the importance of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. It portrays Edison as a symbol of the American spirit during an era in which industrialization and technological innovation played a significant role in the country's development.

Overall, the movie provides a captivating insight into the mind of an ambitious, obsessive, and brilliant inventor whose contributions shaped the modern world. Spencer Tracy's commanding portrayal of Edison, coupled with the gripping storytelling and a star-studded cast, make this film a must-watch for anyone interested in the history of technology, American culture and the American dream.

Edison, The Man is a 1940 history movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 47 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0.

Edison, The Man
Where to Watch Edison, The Man
Edison, The Man is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Edison, The Man for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 47 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (1,766)