Edison, the Man (1940)

104 or 111 mins | Biography | 10 May 1940

Director:

Clarence Brown

Cinematographer:

Harold Rosson

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working title of this picture was The Wizard of Menlo Park . According to a news item in HR , H. Alan Dunn was to have co-scripted the picture, but his participation in the final project has not been confirmed. A HR production chart adds Regis Toomey to the cast, but he was not in the released film. The Call Bureau Cast Service list Irving Bacon in the role of the sheriff, but that part was played by Paul Hurst. Studio publicity notes that originally M-G-M had intended to produce only one picture about Edison, but when that project proved too long, they broke the story into two parts. The first, Young Tom Edison , starred Mickey Rooney as the young Edison (See Entry). Technical advisor William A. Simonds was from the Edison Institute in Dearborn, MI, and Norman R. Speiden was director of Historical Research at Thomas A. Edison, Inc. in West Orange, NJ. Dore Schary and Hugo Butler received an Academy Award nomination in the Writing (Original Story) ... More Less

The working title of this picture was The Wizard of Menlo Park . According to a news item in HR , H. Alan Dunn was to have co-scripted the picture, but his participation in the final project has not been confirmed. A HR production chart adds Regis Toomey to the cast, but he was not in the released film. The Call Bureau Cast Service list Irving Bacon in the role of the sheriff, but that part was played by Paul Hurst. Studio publicity notes that originally M-G-M had intended to produce only one picture about Edison, but when that project proved too long, they broke the story into two parts. The first, Young Tom Edison , starred Mickey Rooney as the young Edison (See Entry). Technical advisor William A. Simonds was from the Edison Institute in Dearborn, MI, and Norman R. Speiden was director of Historical Research at Thomas A. Edison, Inc. in West Orange, NJ. Dore Schary and Hugo Butler received an Academy Award nomination in the Writing (Original Story) category. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 May 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 May 40
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Dec 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 40
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 40
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 40
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
17 May 40
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
20 May 40
p. 1, 4
Motion Picture Herald
30 Mar 40
p. 58.
Motion Picture Herald
25 May 40
p. 44.
New York Times
7 Jun 40
p. 27.
Variety
22 May 40
p. 14.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Donald Douglas
Ed J. LeSaint
Billy Arnold
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Clarence Brown's Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Women's cost
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Wizard of Menlo Park
Release Date:
10 May 1940
Premiere Information:
Orange, New Jersey: 16 May 1940
Production Date:
mid January--mid March 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
13 May 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9662
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
104 or 111
Country:
United States
PCA No:
6216
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1929, at the Golden Jubilee of Light banquet celebrating the fiftieth anniversay of the invention of the electric lamp, Thomas Edison, the guest of honor, reflects as the toastmaster recalls his achievements: Arriving in New York as an unknown inventor, Edison tries to interest Taggart, the manager of a firm that supplies gold quotes to the board of trade, in his ideas about electricity. The shortsighted Taggart ignores the young inventor until the ticker machine breaks down and Edison repairs it. Impressed by Edison's ingenuity, General Powell, the president of Western Union, offers him a job at the Western Union workshop. There Edison is befriended by Mary Stilwell, a secretary at the company. Assisted by fellow workers Bigelow, Lundstrum and Michael Simon, Edison perfects the stock ticker and sells it to General Powell and Taggart. With the proceeds, Edison opens his own laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey and weds Mary. As time passes, Edison finds himself on the verge of insolvency and is about to lose his company when his friend Powell dies and he is forced to turn to Taggart for help. When Taggart insists upon total control, Edison refuses his offer and is near bankruptcy. In the nick of time, Edison invents the phonograph, which saves his lab, but he is beset by more problems when his friend, Bunt Cavatt, tells the press that he has developed an electric light. Branded as a charlatan by the scientific community, Edison strives to perfect his light invention. Enduring years of failure, Edison perseveres until he discovers incandescent light. Opposed by the gas interests led by Taggart, Edison ... +


In 1929, at the Golden Jubilee of Light banquet celebrating the fiftieth anniversay of the invention of the electric lamp, Thomas Edison, the guest of honor, reflects as the toastmaster recalls his achievements: Arriving in New York as an unknown inventor, Edison tries to interest Taggart, the manager of a firm that supplies gold quotes to the board of trade, in his ideas about electricity. The shortsighted Taggart ignores the young inventor until the ticker machine breaks down and Edison repairs it. Impressed by Edison's ingenuity, General Powell, the president of Western Union, offers him a job at the Western Union workshop. There Edison is befriended by Mary Stilwell, a secretary at the company. Assisted by fellow workers Bigelow, Lundstrum and Michael Simon, Edison perfects the stock ticker and sells it to General Powell and Taggart. With the proceeds, Edison opens his own laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey and weds Mary. As time passes, Edison finds himself on the verge of insolvency and is about to lose his company when his friend Powell dies and he is forced to turn to Taggart for help. When Taggart insists upon total control, Edison refuses his offer and is near bankruptcy. In the nick of time, Edison invents the phonograph, which saves his lab, but he is beset by more problems when his friend, Bunt Cavatt, tells the press that he has developed an electric light. Branded as a charlatan by the scientific community, Edison strives to perfect his light invention. Enduring years of failure, Edison perseveres until he discovers incandescent light. Opposed by the gas interests led by Taggart, Edison is granted six months to prove that he can light New York City. At the last minute, Edison throws the switch to his generators and miraculously illuminates the city. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.