Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1950s Story Of Mankind, The (1957)

Story Of Mankind, The (1957)

Future disaster-movie king Irwin Allen, whose blockbusters include The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974), made this portentous rubbish in which the question of whether or not the human race should be allowed to survive is debated in front of a heavenly tribunal.

The invention of nuclear weapons prompts the Heavenly trial to determine if the human race is too dangerous to continue existing.

The Devil (Vincent Price) handles the prosecution, providing examples of evil behaviour throughout history, but a spirit representing the human race (Ronald Colman giving a convincing performance in what was, sadly, his last and most unworthy film) demonstrates it’s capacity for good.

Based on Hendrik Van Loon’s bestseller, this is generally, and rightly, acknowledged as one of the worst films ever made, but for those who can tolerate it, it is absolutely hilarious.

Overflowing with a bounty of miscast stars, its mirth-making delights include the spectacle of Harpo Marx as Sir Isaac Newton, Virginia Mayo as Cleopatra, Dennis Hopper as Napoleon, Peter Lorre as Nero, Edward Everett Horton as Sir Walter Raleigh, Agnes Moorehead as Queen Elizabeth and, best of all, gorgeous glamour girl Hedy Lamarr as Joan of Arc.

Spirit of Man
Ronald Colman
Devil
Vincent Price
Joan of Arc
Hedy Lamarr
Peter Minuit
Groucho Marx
Isaac Newton
Harpo Marx
Monk
Chico Marx
Cleopatra
Virginia Mayo
Queen Elizabeth
Agnes Moorehead
High Judge
Cedric Hardwicke
Napoleon
Dennis Hopper
Josephine
Marie Windsor
Nero
Peter Lorre
Hippocrates
Charles Coburn
Spanish Envoy
Cesar Romero
Khufu
John Carradine
Raleigh
Edward Everett Horton
Shakespeare
Reginald Gardiner
Marquis de Varennes
Franklin Pangborn
Moses
Francis X. Bushman
Lincoln
Austin Green
Hitler
Bobby Watson

Director
Irwin Allen