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The Story of Mankind


The Story of Mankind (1957) starring Vincent Price, Ronald Colman, Cedric Hardwicke, the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Chico, Harpo), and many more

 In a nutshell,  The Story of Mankind has humanity on trial for its’ very existence.   The Devil himself (played delightfully by Vincent Price) is the prosecutor.  The Spirit of Mankind (Ronald Colman) is the advocate.  Cedric Hardwicke as the Celestial Judge. Evidence is presented as a series of vignettes of various stars presenting famous historical moments.  Some moments are serious, and others more silly.  The Marx Brothers appear in their final film.  However, they never show up together.  Each brother has their own distinct scene.

  • Groucho appears as Peter Minuit.  He cheats the Native Americans (Indians for those who aren’t politically correct) out of the island of Manhattan
  • Chico puts his false Italian accent to good use as a monk who is confidant to Christopher Columbus
  • Perpetually mute Harpo appears as Isaac Newton.  He discovers the law of gravity after being hit on the head by an apple

The scenes with Vincent Price are simply delightful to watch.  It’s hard to imagine someone else playing the role of the Devil any better.  The Marx Brothers are also good in their scenes as well.  But there’s a  lot of stock footage.  And, some of the scenes being frankly boring. There’s a reason it was included in the book,  The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.


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