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American Experience: The Polio Crusade
American Experience The Polio Crusade
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
UR     2009     1hr 0min

Based in part on David Oshinsky's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Polio: An American Story, this one-hour film chronicles a decades-long crusade, fueled by the bold leadership of a single philanthropy and its innovative publi...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 04/07/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Eradicating An Illness
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 05/06/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Polio has gone from an illness that paralyzed myriad people, especially children, to a disease that is largely gone from the populace. This documentary tells how it happened.
When I think "polio," I free-associate to FDR and he does show up. I learned about the creation of the March of Dimes. (However, I must say that the work doesn't speak of the organization's change of focus once a vaccine had been made.) They speak of a tension between Doctors Salk and Sabin which reminded me of the tensions between WEB DuBois and Booker T. Washington.
This work covers the 1940s and early 1950s, a time before the Civil Rights Movement and the Brown v. Bd. of Ed. decision. Of course, the virus does not think about race, but this was a very segregated time in the country. Thus, I am very surprised at how diverse this documentary was. One sees Black kids as well as white ones and often time mingling with each other. Remember Charles Drew died because a hospital wouldn't admit a Black man, even though he was a renown scientist. So this dynamic in the documentary was an eye-opener.
I hope I don't misquote the documentary, but it did seem that a vaccine save those who weren't sick and did nothing for those who were already ill. This is not about a cure for the infected. That dynamic plays a huge role in the research of distressing illness of our time.
Currently, the whole world is afraid of the spread of swine flu. Fearing the spread of a disease, especially one harming children, will feel very urgent to modern viewers, even as the footage here is black-and-white and from a half century ago."