"We'll hang Bertram Cates from a sour apple tree...We'll hang Henry Drummond from a sour apple tree, Glory Glory Hallelujah! Our God is marching on."
Description - Chanting townsfolk of Hillsboro, Tennessee picket outside of the county jail to sing their dissatisfaction for a school teacher named Bertram T. Cates (Dick York) and the lawyer defending him in the motion picture Inherit the Wind (1960).
In defense of his client, who is accused of teaching Darwin's theories of evolution in the local school, Colonel Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy) defiantly tells the court:
“If you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other. Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we'll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind!”
Drummond admitted in the trial, "The Bible is a book. It's a good book, but it is not the only book." This statment was anathema to Matthew Harrison Brady (Frederic March) his esteemed colleague and prosecutor who devotely believes:
"I have been to their cities and I have seen the altars upon which they sacrifice the futures of their children to the gods of science. And what are their rewards? Confusion and self-destruction. New ways to kill each other in wars. I tell you gentlemen the way of science is the way of darkness."
E. K. Hornbeck (Gene Kelly) is the reporter assigned to cover the trial that pits scientific evidence against Christion creationism beliefs. Upon seeing a a crowd burn an effigy of Bertram Cates in the town square, he says, "Well, those are the boobs that make our laws. That's the democratic process." About Matthew H. Brady, Hornbeck remarks, "He's the only man I know who can strut sitting down."
Hornbeck's stance on his occupational ethics reveals:
"It is the duty of a newspaper to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. I do hateful things for which people love me and I do loveable things for which they hate me. I’m admired for my detestability."
At the end of the trial, lawyer Henry Drummond chats with Hornbeck after losing the verdict for his client.
Looks like you're going out in a blaze of glory counselor. You were pretty impressive for a while there today, Henry. 'Your Honor, after a while you'll be setting man against man, creed against creed' etc, etc, ad nauseam unquote. Aw, Henry! Why don't you wake up? Darwin was wrong. Man's still an ape. His creed's still a totem pole. When he first achieved the upright position, he took a look at the stars - thought they were something to eat. When he couldn't reach them, he decided they were groceries belonging to a bigger creature; that's how Jehovah was born.
|Drummond:||I wish I had your worm's-eye view of history. It would certainly make things a lot easier.|
|Hornbeck:||Oh ho, no! Not for you. No, you'd still be spending your time trying to make sense out of what is laughingly referred to as the "human race." Why don't you take your blinders off? Don't you know the future's already obsolete? You think man still has a noble destiny. Well I tell you he's already started on his backward march to the salt and stupecy from which he came.|
|Drummond:||What about men like Bert Cates?|
|Hornbeck:||Cates? A monkey who tried to fly. Cates climbed to the top of the totem pole, but then he jumped. And there was nobody there to catch him. Not even you.|
Curious about Hornbeck's personal views, Drummond inquires:
"What touches you? What warms you? Every man has a dream. What do you dream about? What—what do you need? You don’t need anything do you? People love an idea just to cling to them. You poor slob! You’re all alone. When you go to your grave, there won’t be anybody to pull the grass up over your head. Nobody to mourn you. Nobody to give a damn. You’re all alone."
Hornbeck answers, “You’re wrong, Henry. You’ll be there. You’re the type. Who else would defend my right to be lonely?"
Note: The film is based on the 1925 Scopes Trial (aka the “Scopes Monkey Trial”) about John Scopes, a high school teacher from Dayton, Tennessee who was arrested for violating the Butler Act that forbad teaching evolution in schools.
In the trial, Clarance Darrow quoted Proverbs, chapter 11, verse 29, "He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart."