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Young Tom Edison

Young Tom Edison

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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.

User Reviews

“You’re not only addled, you’re tetched.”

Young Tom Edison  Mickey Rooney stars as the teenaged Thomas Edison in this wonderfully entertaining MGM biopic. The movie covers the young inventor’s struggles to fit in with a town full of people who don’t understand him. He makes mistakes but proves his worth and ultimately becomes a hero.

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.

Like most people, I have always been an admirer of Thomas Alva Edison, probably the most prolific inventor of all time. But as I watched the movie, I wondered how much of it was fabricated. According to the world book encyclopedia, pretty much all of the incidents depicted in the movie happened, although some of the time frames were changed to allow Mickey Rooney to play the part throughout the film. And Rooney, always a very underrated actor, is terrific. With very good support from Fay Bainter, Virginia Weidler and George Bancroft as members of Edison’s family, this is a film easily enjoyed by everyone. And look for a cameo by Spencer Tracy, who already had been cast in the sequel, “Edison, the Man (1940),” which was in production when this film was released.

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