18. ‘The Male Animal’ (1942)
An unusual college comedy of ideas, from a Broadway play by humorist James Thurber. An English teacher (Henry Fonda) at a football-mad Midwestern university reads to his class a death-house letter from Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Afterward, the conservative board of trustees wish to fire him as a “Communist.” The teacher’s line of defense, brave for Hollywood, is standing strong for freedom of speech.