Something the Lord Made

Something the Lord Made

5.0 14

Cast: Alan Rickman, Mos Def

     
 

The true story of two medical pioneers -- one celebrated, one overlooked -- is brought to life in this made-for-cable drama. Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman) is chief surgeon at Johns Hopkins University, where he is pioneering new techniques in heart surgery. Blalock makes the acquaintance of Vivien Thomas (Mos Def), a carpenter hired to work at the University, and to… See more details below

Overview

The true story of two medical pioneers -- one celebrated, one overlooked -- is brought to life in this made-for-cable drama. Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman) is chief surgeon at Johns Hopkins University, where he is pioneering new techniques in heart surgery. Blalock makes the acquaintance of Vivien Thomas (Mos Def), a carpenter hired to work at the University, and to his surprise discovers a man of keen intelligence who has a great interest in medicine. However, as a poor black man in the Jim Crow South, Thomas lacks the financial resources to obtain a medical degree, though he certainly has the knowledge and the desire. Blalock takes Thomas on as his lab assistant, and together they develop a technique that allows them to correct a common congenital heart defect in children. However, while they work side by side in the lab and in the operating room, Blalock and Thomas do not walk the same paths in society, and Thomas develops a deep resentment that he has been given little credit for his contribution to a medical innovation that makes Blalock famous. Produced for the premium cable network HBO, Something the Lord Made also features Gabrielle Union, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Charles S. Dutton.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Cut along familiar lines but extraordinarily affecting nonetheless, this made-for-HBO film dramatizes the remarkable achievements of a white surgeon and his black laboratory assistant, who pioneered lifesaving cardiac surgery together but shared the credit unequally. The story's high point occurs in 1944, when Dr. Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman) manages to redirect blood flow in the heart of a terminally ill baby. At his side is Vivien Thomas (Mos Def), a gifted assistant with only a high school education. Although sufficiently open-minded to recognize Thomas's contribution to the procedure, the egotistical southern surgeon can't quite bring himself to publicly share the credit with his African-American helper, who dreams of attending medical school. The oddly cast Rickman affects a convincing Dixie drawl and displays several personality quirks that mark Blalock as a complicated man, while former hip-hop star Def does surprisingly well by Thomas, suggesting the unvoiced frustration of a proud man who endures much in the service of a greater good. The largely female supporting cast lends a great deal to the movie's mood and texture: Gabrielle Union confidently plays Clara Thomas, the strong woman who supports and encourages her husband; Kyra Sedgwick shines as Blalock's feisty wife; and Mary Stuart Masterson contributes a dignified but powerful performance as the founder of pediatric cardiology, Dr. Helen Taussig. Joseph Sargent's direction exhibits keen sensitivity to the emotions of these characters, milking the situations for dramatic effect without making them seem too trite and predictable. Though it thoroughly condemns segregation, Something doesn't wear its politics on its sleeve; the story is tightly focused and intensely personal -- and is all the more powerful for it.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/25/2005
UPC:
0026359246128
Original Release:
2004
Rating:
NR
Source:
Hbo Home Video
Time:
1:50:00
Sales rank:
5,175

Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary with director Joseph Sargent, writer Peter Silverman and executive producers Robert W. Cort and Eric Hetzel; Featurette; Making History slide show

Cast & Crew

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. A Carpenter's Son
2. To Study Medicine
3. A Brilliant Assistant
4. Toasts of Baltimore
5. Johns Hopkins
6. Work Begins
7. Growing Closer
8. Course of Blood
9. Parents' Consent
10. Do Not Touch
11. Surgery
12. Written in History
13. Separate Ways
14. Words of Respect
15. Dr. Thomas
16. End Credits

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