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That Mothers Might Live (1938)

Approved | | Short, Biography, Drama | 30 April 1938 (USA)
It's the mid-nineteenth century. As long as their have been hospitals, the joy that women have felt having just given birth in a hospital may be quickly marred by their sudden death due to ... See full summary »

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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Shepperd Strudwick ...
Dr. Semmelweis (as Sheppard Strudwick)
John Nesbitt ...
Himself - Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

It's the mid-nineteenth century. As long as their have been hospitals, the joy that women have felt having just given birth in a hospital may be quickly marred by their sudden death due to what is known as childbed fever, its cause unknown. Dr. Semmelweis, who many women come to specifically to assist in their childbirth, is not immune to patients who have died in such a way. By happenstance, Dr. Semmelweis eventually discovered the reason for the illness was mere sanitation, and the need for doctors to wash their hands after each procedure. Coming to this realization and convincing the world, especially the established medical community, are two different things. Dr. Semmelweiss, who published a book on the subject, may not have gotten the recognition for this discovery during his lifetime as he tried to make his findings known and accepted, but that word would eventually spread to be commonplace and taken for granted as truth today. Written by Huggo

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Genres:

Short | Biography | Drama

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Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

30 April 1938 (USA)  »

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(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Soundtracks

Waltz #15 in A flat major ('Lullaby'), Op.39
(1865) (uncredited)
Written by Johannes Brahms
Variations in the score often
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User Reviews

Brilliant short
26 February 2008 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

That Mothers Might Live (1938)

**** (out of 4)

Oscar winning short from director Fred Zinnemann (High Noon) tells the rather amazing story of Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, a physician who came up with a cure for Childbed Fever, which was a disease that would kill mothers soon after they gave birth. What was his amazing cure? To make doctors wash their hands before treating a patient. Semmelweis drove himself to an asylum trying to get his message of clean hands across but he wouldn't be held high until years after his death. Even though Zinnemann was young into his career here he shows signs that would turn up in later films like From Here to Eternity.


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