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American Experience: The Great Fever
American Experience The Great Fever
Actors: David McCullough, David Ogden Stiers, Joe Morton, Liev Schreiber, Linda Hunt
Genres: Television, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
NR     2006     1hr 0min

In 1900, Major Walter Reed, Chief Surgeon of the U.S. Army, led a team to Cuba to investigate yellow fever, the disease that had killed an estimated 100,000 people in the US in the 19th century alone. Reed and his team tes...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: David McCullough, David Ogden Stiers, Joe Morton, Liev Schreiber, Linda Hunt
Creators: Katy Mostoller, Michael Rossi, Rocky Collins, Tracy Heather Strain, Henry Hampton
Genres: Television, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Television, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 11/14/2006
Original Release Date: 04/18/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 04/18/2005
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The Mosquito as Culprit
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 02/13/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Today, it's a given that insects and rodents (and also birds) can spread disease, but this documentary speaks of how that was a suspect idea approximately one century ago. Besides the Plague, SARS, and Ebola, it's easy to think that epidemics happen rarely. However, the American Experience series covered influenza and here covers yellow fever as major American health concerns historically.

One doesn't have to enjoy science to enjoy this work. The documentary puts the pieces together like a puzzle or mystery and show how a major problem in this country was eradicated. The work may have been released before the Hurricane Katrina tragedy, however it speaks of how yellow fever hit New Orleans a century ago and those who believe the clich'e "the more things change...." may get weepy here.

Too often, historical books or videos suggest that only one great man (purposely gendered) solved crises. This work showed that three men helped connect yellow fever to mosquitoes. One man was in Cuba and infected himself thinking he'd live through it. This reminds me of the "roqueros" a decade ago in Cuba who infected themselves with HIV assuming AIDS would have a cure "any day now."

I am so glad these three men found evidence that stopped so many human deaths. However, their techniques were what I would consider unethical and the work says little about that. As an African American knowledgeable about the Tuskegee experiments, I was sensitive to their practices and don't understand why the narrator passed no judgment upon them. Also, Jung said throughout history most human societies have disliked bugs. This work was filled with films of mosquitoes and larvae. If you don't care for seeing that, you may just want to listen to, rather than watch, this documentary."