Young Tom Edison Inventor Thomas Edison’s boyhood is chronicled and shows him as a lad whose early inventions and scientific experiments usually end up causing disastrous results. As a result, the towns folk all think Tom is crazy, and creating a strained relationship between Tom and his father. Toms only solace is his understanding mother who believes he’s headed to do great things.
Rooney is his usual likable self. He tones his high energy down some and shows his dramatic skills. He really was a phenomenal star and a great actor. Superb supporting cast includes Fay Bainter and George Bancroft as Edison’s parents, Virginia Weidler as his sister, and Eugene Palette as a railroad conductor. I really like the MGM sets and the 19th century American style. Lovely music, pleasant tone, and good cast. Script is a nice mix of humor, drama, and action.
This is the first of two MGM biopics of Edison released in 1940. The other is Edison, the Man starring Spencer Tracy. That movie covers Edison’s adult years so it’s like a sequel to this picture. Both are excellent. These old biopics were usually solid, uplifting character-driven stories. Yes they take liberties with the details but the more cynical defamatory biopics we get these days do the same. I’ll take an inspirational biography that builds people up and leaves you with the warm fuzzies over some deconstructionist tabloid trash any day.
A good account of Edison’s early life, with Mickey Rooney in top form.