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Anatomy of an Illness (1984)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  15 May 1984 (USA)
6.6
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Biopic of Saturday Review editor and political journalist Norman Cousins who developed and promoted a self-made health therapy consisting of intake of large quantities of vitamin C and making oneself laugh as much as possible.

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(book), (teleplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Norman Cousins
...
Dr. William Hitzig
...
Ellen Cousins
...
Cleveland Amory
Lelia Goldoni ...
Mrs. Farelli
Haunani Minn ...
Shigeko
...
Candis (as Julie Montgomery)
...
Sarakit
...
Pigeon
Reid Smith ...
Resident Doctor
Allen Williams ...
Wallace
...
Dr. Lowman
Matthew Faison ...
Dr. Barrett
Robert Phalen ...
Dr. Paulson
Roberta Collins ...
Joan
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Storyline

Biopic of Saturday Review editor and political journalist Norman Cousins who developed and promoted a self-made health therapy consisting of intake of large quantities of vitamin C and making oneself laugh as much as possible.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 May 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anatomia de uma Coragem  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[on Norman Cousins' possible resignation]
Cleveland Amory: Twenty five years, Cuz. Dean of all New York editors. "The Saturday Review" wouldn't be the same without you. Hell, we might even have to start working.
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Features Room Service (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Facing catastrophe with moxie and a charming way with private nurses.
12 April 2014 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

For T.V.'s Ed Asner (Lou Grant, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", "Lou Grant") to take on a potential "Whose Life is it Anyway?" type story, you have to add some characteristics to his character's personality, and here, Asner does it in spades. He's a magazine publisher (as opposed to a T.V. newsroom station manager) who has been undergoing recurring illness, and after getting back from a vacation in Russia with his beautiful wife (Millie Perkins, "The Diary of Anne Frank"), finds himself suffering an undisclosed illness with painful agony that can't be diagnosed. When he learns that he could become paralyzed because of this, he takes on his own method of treatment against the will of his doctor (Eli Wallach) which makes a major impact on his chances of improving. However, turning the hospital upside down with this method of his, he moves into Wallach's residential hotel, and turns that upside down too with his Bohemian methods of curing himself.

There's no tears to be found in this television movie, only laughter and triumph. Playing a real life person, Asner makes him a prankster, but not a clown, and when he plays one on the private nurse in the hotel he's living in, it is one of the funniest on-screen pranks in film history. Asner's character also has a huge heart, having adopted a survivor of the Hiroshima bombings and having taught her not to hate the Americans because of what was done to Japan when she was a child. He advises the wife of a suffering patient to try his method but to also consult his doctor, showing a true caring beyond living through his own suffering. This film is pretty typical by T.V. movie standards, and it is only through Asner's gregarious personality that this character comes to life and makes the viewer care about him.

Later era "M.A.S.H." co-star David Ogden Stiers has a smaller role as one of Asner's business associates and friends, but his role isn't as well defined as Perkins (who goes around to hospital patients on the same floor as her husband's to dispense fresh vegetables after seeing the diets they are getting) and Wallach, who comes around to see Asner's point of view after a confrontation with hospital management. The script can be pretty preachy with the whole "see your doctor/get a second opinion/eat a right diet" information segments, but certain elements of the story raise this above the usual "I'm going to get well no matter what..." story which has been written or filmed since man learned to create through storytelling.


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