This MGM short, part of John Nesbitt's Passing Parade series, tells the story of Dr. Ephraim McDowell. In Danville, Kentucky in 1809 McDowell wanted to perform surgery on a woman, Jane ...
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This MGM short, part of John Nesbitt's Passing Parade series, tells the story of Dr. Ephraim McDowell. In Danville, Kentucky in 1809 McDowell wanted to perform surgery on a woman, Jane Crawford, with a large tumor. He was threatened with being thrown out of the medical profession if he operated, something that did not exist at the time. The townspeople felt opening up a living human being was against the will of God and were quite prepared to stop him by force if need be. The operation however was a success and surgery became acceptable. Written by
This early short from Fred Zinnemann is part of the wonderful "Passing Parade" series from MGM. The film takes place in Danville, Kentucky where on December 25, 1809 Dr. McDowell (Jonathan Hale) became the first person to actually operate on a woman. The people in the small town saw him as some sort of devil who would be killing the woman when he tried to remove a tumor from her and they set out to kill the doctor before he shocks them by bringing life to the woman. If you're familiar with the Passing Parade series then you know that it often shined a light on certain events that were important but something most had forgotten. This here is certainly one of the best episodes in the series because there's a nice bit of drama and it was interesting seeing how religious figures would be against such a doctor back in the day. The film, like others in the series, features that terrific narration by John Nesbitt who really packs a nice punch and helps make the thing even more dramatic. The "action" going on is all silent as the only thing we get is the narration but the performances are still quite good and especially Hale who manages to tell so much with just his eyes.
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