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In 1860 Paris, chemist Louis Pasteur is considered a quack within the medical community for advocating that doctors and surgeons wash their hands and boil their instruments to destroy microbes that can kill their patients. He came across this belief when discovering microscopic organisms in sour wine, the organisms which could be killed if heated sufficiently. The belief among the scientific community at large is that the organisms are the result of disease and not the cause. This belief is despite the fact that thirty percent of women die in childbirth due to child bed disease, accounting for twenty thousand annual deaths in Paris alone. The debate takes Pasteur all the way to a meeting with Emperor Napoleon III and his physician, Dr. Charbonnet, who is one of the leading opponents of Pasteur. Several years later - France now a republic - much of Pasteur's reputation changes as a government sanctioned experiment with anthrax and sheep shows that a vaccine created by Pasteur proves ...Written by
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Dr. Louis Pasteur:
[speaking to the Emperor]
Sire, the hospitals of Paris are pesthouses. There's scarcely a doctor in the city who's not carrying death on his hands and instruments.
Because of microbes, Monsieur? Your private menagerie of invisible beasts?
Dr. Louis Pasteur:
Exactly. Doctor Charbonnet could see them for himself if he took the trouble to use his microscope. He could watch them multiply into murderous millions. They breed in filth. They may start from the gutters of Paris tonight and by tomorrow claim some mother ...
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This was a pretty interesting historical account of the man who first discovered that microbes - germs - were the cause of many sicknesses. Dr. Louis Pasteur then went about the make changes so these germs were not so prevalent and causing so much sickness. We can thank him for "pasteurization."
Paul Muni does a fine job of playing the title role. He seemed to always play intense roles.
The story is very frustrating, however, as we watch "Pasteur" become the target of an ignorant medical profession at the time, constantly trying to discredit the famous man's work. We know, of course, through history that he was right so to listen to his naysayers go on and on and on is frustrating.
At least we know Pasteur and his discoveries were finally accepted and he was given the recognition he deserved. In the end, there is a final, very moving scene that gives him his due.
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