7.2/10
818
15 user 1 critic

Miss Evers' Boys (1997)

The true story of the U.S. Government's 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, in which a group of black test subjects were allowed to die, despite a cure having been developed.

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(play), (teleplay)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 16 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Dr. Douglas
...
Dr. Sam Brodus
...
Willie Johnson
Von Coulter ...
Hodman Bryan
...
Ben Washington
...
Mr. Evers
...
The Senate Chairman
Robert Benedetti ...
Senator
...
Senator
...
Nurse Betty
...
Dr. Larkin
...
Dr. Davis
Larry Black ...
Dr. Hamilton
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Storyline

In 1932 Macon County, Alabama, the federal government launched into a medical study called The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Blacks with Syphilis. The study selected 412 men infected with the disease and faked long term treatment, while really only giving them placebos and liniments. The premise of the action was to determine if blacks reacted similar to whites to the overall effects of the disease. The experiment was only discontinued 40 years later when a Senate investigation was initiated. At that time, only 127 of the original study group were left alive. The story is told from the point of view of Nurse Eunice Evers, who was well aware of the lack of treatment being offered, but felt her role was to console the involved men, many of whom were her direct friends. In fact, the movie's name comes from the fact that a performing dancer and three musicians named their act for her - "Miss Evers' Boys". All had the disease. A romance with one goes unrequited even after he joins the Army ... Written by John Sacksteder

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A government lie. A woman's secret. A story that must be told. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for theme and related elements | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

22 February 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Miss Evers' Boys - Die Gerechtigkeit siegt  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Dr. Douglas: There's too much disease for the budget.
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Connections

Featured in The 55th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Show Me Lord
Music and Lyrics by Charles Bernstein
Vocals by Carmen Twillie
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User Reviews

An interesting story lived by a cast but letdown by delivery
17 November 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Eunice Evers is a nurse who gets involved in treatment trials of Afro-Americans in the south for syphilis. She helps the doctors treat many hundreds of men but then the Government cuts the funding and replaces it with funding for a study that the disease works the same in blacks as much as whites. However the study removes the treatment for a set period and lets the men slowly fade away.

From the HBO stable of TV movies, I was attracted by the fact that it was based on a true story that I was not aware of, plus it had a few good actors in the lead roles. The story is potentially quite moving and I don't know why the tvm didn't manage to bring that across very well. It was told reasonably well but it never had me really touched or moved. That said the story was still quite good, even if it could easily have lost a bit of running time – the senate hearing was a good frame for telling the story. It was just a major problem for me that the film wasn't gripping and wasn't powerful, I mean, the Government sanctioned these men's deaths for the greater good – why isn't this film setting TV sets alight!?

The cast are pretty good in the main roles but not as strong in support. In support the actors mainly just do some mugging and play African-American workingmen stereotypes. Woodard is a good actress and gives a great performance in the lead. Fishburne and Morton lend support with small but important roles and the support cast have a few nice character pieces.

Overall this is an uninvolving film and I don't really understand why at all; the story is true and powerful and the cast are all reasonably good. However the film is flat for most of the telling – it's worth seeing once but it is more of a slog than it should be.


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