Hemo the Magnificent (TV Movie 1957) Poster

(1957 TV Movie)

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My first Beethoven
redhairedlad29 April 2013
I saw this production the night it aired on TV in 1957 as a 3rd grader. The first reason I was thrilled was because it was so different than anything I had ever seen on TV and was in such a smart style and content compared to the dreck that was on everyday. It was my first "special".

The second thrilling thing was that they used the fanfare to the first movement of Beethoven's 3rd Symphony which remains a favorite of mine 56 years later. It was the first I had heard it or any Beethoven.

Also, the content was so rich, complete and perfectly presented and some information still comes to me today. I had seen Dr. Baxter on the Today show, and Richard Carlson in corny horror movies. But here, they were participating in something made just for me! I'd love to see it again.
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A fun 50's Look at Biology classes
oscar-3518 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
*Spoiler/plot- 1957, A 50's and 60's school science class documentary film which covers the hard biology and science with some comedic and animation to keep the subject interesting for all ages provided by Frank Capra's talents. The use of Greek mythology is clever.

*Special Stars- Richard Carlson, Dr Frank Baxter, Dir: Frank Capra

*Theme- Educational school films don't have to be boring.

*Based on- 50's biology and circulatory blood science

*Trivia/location/goofs- Dr. Frank Baxter was the co-host of this video subject and the many other videos in the science documentary series. However, it seems strange that Dr. Baxter is an English professor at University of Southern California is presented and speaks in these films as a hard science presenter or researcher, since he's not. His career and reputation is not about science at all. He must have got the job for his on-camera screen great screen 'presence' or authority.

*Emotion- A memorable and enjoyable film shown in Los Angeles schools during the 60's. I snapped up buying this found VHS video along with it's less memorable sister video subjects sponsored by the Bell Labs. The production quality and memory pathos was worth the buy and viewing time. This is a charming documentary all around. Let's give a big 'thank you' to Frank Capra and his directing talents.
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Bell Educational Film on the Heart and Blood Circulation
carters-1113 February 2011
"Hemo the Magnificent" is a wonderful educational film by Frank Capra and underwritten by the Bell corporation. Though it debuted on TV in March, 1957, my elementary school used it throughout the 1970s. Hemo combined animation with live action to tell the amazing story of the Heart and Blood Circulation in a delightfully entertaining way. The information and look of the film is dated, but it is still informative. The film stars Dr. Frank Baxter, Ph.D., and Richard Carlson. It also includes an appearance by Sterling Holloway best known as the voice of Winnie the Pooh. Hemo is also an interesting avenue of Frank Capra's body of work. Best known for "It's a Wonderful Life", Capra also did documentaries during the World War II era--i.e. "Why We Fight" series. Although Capra had done documentaries before, this is a departure from his past work in that this was about science, made for TV and targeted for children. When I completed my Ph.D. my brother sent me a copy on DVD. Now my children watch and enjoy it much the way I did 35+ years ago.
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Bell Science Series about the pulmonary and circulatory systems.
cferris525 August 2008
Actually, I would rate this an 8 for teachers of intermediate level students. I remembered watching it in elementary school and never thought I would be able to obtain a copy. Well I did. I watched it and decided to show it to my class of 5th graders, not sure of the reception since some of the animation was dated. The students thoroughly enjoyed it and asked to see another one like it. It made understanding the circulatory system so simple and gave much more information than the text book. There were one or two things I needed to update, but other than that it was great. I actually wish we had more films like this rather than those that barrage the students with so much at one time. It gave the children time to think about what they were learning. It would be great if someone would update these.
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4th Grade Science Class...
leo_ora15 January 2007
Ah, yes Mr. Greer showed us this film among other interesting projects. Oh to be a kid watching Nemo in 1969 with all the turmoil in American society raging around us. We were oblivious.

The only thing I remember, when I started Kindergarten in 1966, all dads had crew cuts, white short sleeve shirts, narrow ties and no facial hair. Moms wore dresses and fake pearls and looked like characters in Perry Mason episodes.

By 1969 there were all these young guys with long hair and beards... I think I saw Jesus like 10 times. Hippie chicks were really nice, though. Most of the Perry Mason mom types scarred us in the grocery stores trying to buy candy.

"Good little boys don't act that way!!" Always yelling at us like school teachers. Hippie chicks would come up and talk to us like we were people. I still have a thing for flower print skirts and skimpy tops to this day.

Okay its obvious I grew up in California... It was a great film and I remember the great Richard Carlson from "It Came From Outer Space" and Dr. Baxter was super cool too.

Mr. Greer gave us a test on the heart ventricles and all that afterward. Dang Mr. Greer...
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Heart Facts
Ron Oliver30 January 2006
A Frank Capra WONDERS OF LIFE film.

Keeping the blood pumping through our veins is the responsibility of hardworking HEMO THE Magnificent.

In the mid-1950's, AT&T and Bell Science teamed with famed Hollywood director Frank Capra to produce a series of CBS television science films to educate the public about the Universe around them. A far cry from the dreary black & white fodder so often foisted off on young scholars, the Capra films would both instruct and entertain with lively scripts and eye-catching visuals shown in Technicolor. The four films - OUR MR. SUN (1956), THE STRANGE CASE OF THE COSMIC RAYS (1957), HEMO THE MAGNIFICENT (1957), THE UNCHAINED GODDESS (1958) - quickly became schoolhouse favorites, where they were endlessly shown in 16mm format.

The star of the series was Dr. Frank C. Baxter (1896-1982), an affable English professor at the University of Southern California. This avuncular pedagogue proved to be the perfect film instructor, genially imparting to his audience the sometimes complex facts in a manner which never made them seem dull or boring. Dr. Baxter, who won a Peabody Award for his achievements, continued making high quality instructional films after the Capra quartet were concluded.

HEMO THE Magnificent, which was produced, written & directed by Capra, relates the story of the human heart and blood circulation system, using animation and gentle humor. Film star Richard Carlson appears as the Fiction Writer, energetically helping Dr. Baxter tell Hemo's tale.

Movie mavens will recognize Sterling Holloway as part of the TV production crew, and the voices of Marvin Miller, Mel Blanc, June Foray & Pinto Colvig as various cartoon characters, all uncredited.

The devotional Scripture which begins the film is completely in tune with the tenor & tone of the production.
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A classic blend of entertainment and information
asparagus-119 January 2006
This was a delightful presentation. Hemo (blood) as a Greek god was so well played by the animation with vanity, arrogance, snobbish superiority and innocent wonder. The quote (or scene) I recall vividly is when Hemo tires of "all this plumbing ... you haven't learned my secrets at all" and threatens to storm out, the Scientist answers him in a single word "Thalassa" -- salt water which horrifies the Fiction Writer but mollifies Hemo and segues so neatly into the chemical aspects of blood.

Such a splendid blend of entertainment and information make this a classic as fresh and engrossing today as the day it was released. Stimulating the interest and imagination is fundamental to teaching kids to love learning.
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Finally, an educational film worth watching!
Lee Eisenberg10 October 2005
So many educational films are nothing more than mind-numbing drudgery, saved only by the fact that "MST3K" mocks them ("Why Study Industrial Arts?" comes to mind). "Hemo the Magnificent" is actually quite well done. It's all about blood, the heart, and the circulatory system. I admit that I don't remember everything from it, but it does a good job explaining everything, keeping it serious but entertaining. I guess that you can always count on June Foray (most famously the voice of Rocky the Squirrel, she plays a deer here).

Since "Hemo the Magnificent" itself may be hard to find, probably the best place to see it is in "Gremlins": a class is watching it while a gremlin is forming.
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Best Educational Film EVER!
littlemurph2 May 2004
I watched this video in my Anatomy class and I was completely blown away!

I thought the animation was funny and I learned so much more than I would have if I just read from the textbook! Being aimed toward kids, it broke everything down (obviously so kids could understand)but even so, it is tremendously helpful when you are trying to learn about the systems of the body, the circulatory system in particular!
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Best Educational Film Ever!
rx88258 June 2003
I love this film so much, I transferred mine to DVD (with beautiful results!) so i could watch it again and again without it degrading like VHS tapes do. Did you know Hemo debuted at 9 pm,on CBS TV March 20, 1957? It was the second Bell Science gem ("Our Mr Sun" first shone the previous November). It stars Dr Frank Baxter , Richard Carlson (cigarette smoking man in the picture) from "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", Sterling Holloway (the Disney legend THE original Winnie the Pooh and Kaa from Jungle Book) and of course HEMO.....Hemo is the best educational film EVER- This movie has inspired and continues inspire generations of health professionals- Imagine today's Doctors, Pharmacists, Nurses, Dentists, Paramedics as 6th graders sitting on the floor in their Toughskins watching Hemo for the first time. Nobody teaches the LUBDUBS like HEMO [its all in the valves]! HEMO also shows us why we breathe, why we faint when we stand for too long, why we stretch each morning, how boxers get knocked out, vagal and sympathic systems and MUCH MUCH MORE! When I watch Hemo as an adult health professional I am amazed at how well it stands up and how much solid info is packed into this 55 minute masterpiece! .
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Film was Magnificent!
grahamsj328 April 2003
I recall seeing this in the late '50's and to this day, I am still in possession of the knowledge that it gave me. I was probably in the 5th or 6th grade and learned a great deal from this series of films. The amount of information was very great but it was presented so "gently" that nearly anyone could remember it. It was in color, too, which still wasn't all that prevalent in films then. Big budget films were in color, but many were still filmed in black and white, so it was impressive in and of itself that it was in color. Frank Capra, probably the greatest director ever, did a splendid job and it educated millions of school children. Great job!
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Educational, but definitely dated.
peachykeen15 March 2002
I watched it today in biology, and it was very educational. The animations and footage of the human body was very good, but the rest of it was dated. It also seems to appeal to a younger audience, of maybe 5th and 6th graders as opposed to Sophomores. I guess that it's just one of those things that they never bother to update, even with any developments in science since '56... I guess if you want to learn something the easy way, then watch the film...
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Vivid Memories - Why?
XPDay27 April 2001
I also saw this movie in elementary school and can, to this day, recall facts about the heart and blood with the animated depiction. Why? Perhaps Capra was just that good at direction, but I think that the real reason was that this was before color TV was ubiquitous. Unlike today, when kids are constantly bombarded with video and sound, we had very little "multimedia" exposure. When we experienced it, it had a lasting impact. I defy my 11-year-old to remember what he saw just last night.
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Still pretty accurate concerning much of our knowledge of the circulatory system
leg31 December 2000
I remember seeing this every year in elementary school. It was a two-reel film, and I still remember that when Dr. Research says "sea water," that was the end of the first reel and we didn't get to see the rest until the next day. (Now I have it on video, and although it's kind of dated - there are some religious overtones about "right and wrong" and the TV writer/co-star smokes cigarettes throughout the film - it still holds my attention AND that of my ten-year-old son!)

But HERE'S a bit of trivia: He's not credited, but Sterling Holloway has a bit part at the beginning of the film. (He is best known for voicing Winnie the Pooh in the Disney films.)
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Very Educational
Tom-26724 February 1999
By God, it's been a long time since I saw this. Probably about 18 years ago?

The movie tells us (kids) all about human blood and the circulatory system. Very professionally put together--Disney-style animation, plus human actors--it was directed by Frank Capra, for pete's sake!

Kind of an overkill. I wonder if the very high production value is worth what amounts to a film-strip's worth of information on the human body? But boy will those kids watching it learn: even now I can clearly remember Dr. Baxter being challenged by Hemo himself to name what common material most resembles human blood, to which the Doctor immediately answers "sea water."
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