Cinemapolis will once again be celebrating juris prudence this May 1st. To commemorate Law Day 2019, we’re hosting a pair of special screenings that showcase lawyering at its best. The program kicks off on Wednesday, May 1st at 5:00 pm with the Academy Award nominated 1960 classic, Inherit the Wind. Then, at 8:00 pm, Reese Witherspoon stars in Legally Blonde, the 2001 law school comedy that spawned a Broadway musical and movie sequels. Law Day at Cinemapolis is made possible by sponsorship support from Cornell Law School and the Tompkins County Bar Association.
Nominated for four Academy Awards, Inherit the Wind is the film adaptation of the 1955 play of the same name, a parable that fictionalizes the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial. Borrowing heavily from the actual court transcripts of debates between Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, it illustrates the significance of the famous trial in the teaching of evolution in public schools. The film (like the play) also uses the trial as a pointed response to McCarthy era efforts to control and repress intellectual discourse. The stellar cast of the film includes Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, and Dick York. In 1960, the New York Times called the final courtroom showdown in the film “a triumphant moment for human dignity.”
In Legally Blonde, Reese Witherspoon stars as Elle Woods, a fashion marketing major who vows to win back her boyfriend by following him to Harvard Law. This fluffy fish-out-of-water yarn was nominated for two Golden Globe awards, and it helped cement Witherspoon’s status as the go-to rom-com star of the early 2000s. Featuring a supporting cast that includes Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Jennifer Coolidge, and Ithaca’s own David Moreland, Legally Blonde is a comedy with heart which Christine Lemire of the Associated Press noted “like its heroine, [is] a lot smarter than it looks.”