“I do not think about things I… do not think about”
“Do you ever think about things that you DO think about?”
Spencer Tracy played lawyer Henry Drummond, who is defending Bertram Cates (Dick York) a schoolteacher who has been prosecuted for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, contrary to a Tennessee law that banned it from schools in favour of a literal interpretation creationism. Fredric March played bible-bashing zealot Matthew Harrison Brady, who refuses to concede any suggestion that the Bible’s account of creation is not a literal truth.
Witness box showdowns don’t come any better than Tracy’s face-off against March in the film’s defining scene.
Incidentally this video has been titled “creationism vs. evolution” which is something of a misrepresentation of the scene, in my opinion. At no time does Drummond suggest that the Bible story of creation is false – simply that the book of Genesis is open to interpretation in more than a single, strict, literal way and some of those interpretations are compatible with rational theories of evolution.
And here, from earlier in the film, is a rousing speech from Tracy on the ever-present dangers to society of ignorance and fanaticism: