Being a scientist technologist that does research in a laboratory and then develops that technology for widespread use (research and development, or, "R & D", a term being lost in our nation) I do not view negatively (no pun intended) the emphasis on the technology aspects of this film as you do. Are you forgetting the year this was made? For kids today, they can see in an abbreviated form, essentially, the first use of a "fax" machine........transmitting data over a phone line. Archaic at best but fascinating. I loved all the technological aspects of the film. Also, I believe the film universally portrays human nature, the mother's devotion, the finger woman's Wanda Skutnik stubborn denial, the practicality of the wife remarrying to care for her son. The portrayal of the South Side of Chicago, many vignettes of Jimmy Stewart walking those streets. As a former Chicago resident, the historical perspective is fascinating to me. Also, in context, there is no death penalty in Illinois any longer. They were the first state to realize mistakes were made with inmates on death row and they were executing innocent people. As Jimmy Stewart says at the end of the movie: "The sovereign state admitted an error, that does not happen very often". I could use this movie in a high school civics course today if that course were taught anymore. Also, your review denigrates the "Lie Detector" which is one of the best scenes in the movie
from a couple of perspectives. Firstly, this new technology at the time was extremely important as emphasized in this scene. It may seem "quaint" now, but view it in the context of its time. Jimmy Stewart's boss editor drives way out of his way on some lame excuse/ruse which Jimmy Steward calls him on to observe this new technology. Also, the test, is referred in the movie more than once as a "lie test" whereas, today, we refer to it as a "lie detector test". We insert another word in our idiom today, of interest linguistically. Also, the lie test inventor gives us a brief theology lesson in Catholicism in this scene regarding the view of a Catholic on marriage. Very important aspect of the scene and reference to Catholicism in Tillie Wiecek's modest apartment, a prominent statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The movie is about faith. Also, think about the scenes of newspaper production. Most people under 20 years of age today do not know what a newspaper is let alone how it is produced. Firstly, the clickety clack of the typewriter James Stewart types on, the dropping of typeset into a printing press, and the rolling off of sheets of newspaper with print and photos on them. Historical perspective, again.