Mesmer

Overview

This historical drama is based on the true story of controversial medical pioneer Franz Anton Mesmer. In 18th century Vienna, Mesmer Alan Rickman believes that many of the favored medical treatments of the day -- most notoriously the inducement of bleeding to remove harmful "humors" from the body -- are both dangerous and ineffective to the patients they are intended to treat. Mesmer believes that gentler methods could have a more positive impact on his patients. Believing in what he calls "animal magnetism," ...
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Overview

This historical drama is based on the true story of controversial medical pioneer Franz Anton Mesmer. In 18th century Vienna, Mesmer Alan Rickman believes that many of the favored medical treatments of the day -- most notoriously the inducement of bleeding to remove harmful "humors" from the body -- are both dangerous and ineffective to the patients they are intended to treat. Mesmer believes that gentler methods could have a more positive impact on his patients. Believing in what he calls "animal magnetism," Mesmer uses magnetic currents and the power of suggestion to treat patients; the medical establishment of the time regards him as a lunatic, so he performs most of his treatments on the poor, who cannot afford to pay a doctor, forcing Mesmer's well-to-do wife Gillian Barge to support the family. Mesmer receives a great deal of publicity when well-known pianist Maria Theresa Paradies Amanda Ooms suffers a severe seizure during a recital; while several physicians in attendance want to submit Paradies to an immediate bleeding, Mesmer applies his magnetism techniques, which prove to be effective in calming the young woman. Paradies was tremendously grateful to Mesmer and began seeing him regularly as a patient; she soon developed an emotional attachment to the doctor that became something of a public scandal. In time, the public's anger over Mesmer's unorthodox techniques and his perceived affair with Paradies forced him to leave Vienna for Paris, where he became the toast of the city's wealthy and privileged -- until the French medical community demanded that Mesmer prove the effectiveness of his techniques. Noted playwright Dennis Potter wrote the screenplay.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/23/2000
  • UPC: 687797073631
  • Original Release: 1994
  • Rating:

  • Source: Millennium
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alan Rickman Franz Anton Mesmer
Amanda Ooms Maria Theresa Paradies
Gillian Barge Frau Mesmer
Jan Rubes Prof. Stoerk
Anna Thalbach Francisca
Simon McBurney Franz
Martin Schwab Herr Paradies
Shirley Douglas Duchess DuBarry
Peter Dvorsky Dr. Deslon
Technical Credits
Roger Spottiswoode Director
Susan Cavan Co-producer
Robert Goodale Producer
Andras Hamori Co-producer
Birgit Hutter Costumes/Costume Designer
Karl Laabs Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Nyman Score Composer
Dennis Potter Screenwriter
Elemer Ragalyi Cinematographer
Lance Reynolds Producer
Jan Schulbach Production Designer
Wieland Schulz-Keil Producer
Susan Shipton Editor
Michael Wolkenstein Producer
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