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A Science Odyssey - Matters of Life and Death
A Science Odyssey - Matters of Life and Death
Actor: Edwin Hubble; George Ellery Hale; Frederick Banting; Charles Osgood; J.B. Collip; Charles Best; Alexander Fleming; Henry Ford; Sigmund Freud
Director: -
Genres: Documentary
NR     2005     1hr 52min

From the days of house calls to the era of high-tech hospitals, Matters of Life and Death tracks the passion and determination of medical science in the twentieth century. Dramatic experiments, the politics of science, and...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actor: Edwin Hubble; George Ellery Hale; Frederick Banting; Charles Osgood; J.B. Collip; Charles Best; Alexander Fleming; Henry Ford; Sigmund Freud
Director: -
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Science & Technology
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/06/2005
Original Release Date: 01/11/1998
Theatrical Release Date: 01/11/1998
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 52min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Superb documentary on progress in medicine in the 20th centu
John Grabowski | USA | 09/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"(This review applies to the entire boxed set of Charles Osgood's "A Science Odyssey" with some comments directed towards this specific title in particular.)

We all hated science in school, right? Science was boring. Science was for nerds. Science was dry and dusty facts about rocks and larvae and the solar corona, which sounds kind of like a beer from the tropics.

Well, Virginia, science doesn't have to be dull, and this series is proof. "A Science Odyssey" is a superb, fascinating set of documentaries on the science *and* the humanity behind the science. It's all extremely literate, doesn't dumb-down its subject one bit, and is chock full of interesting scientists who are enthusiastic about their fields of endeavor. Yet this is science your grandmother could understand. These shows strike the perfect balance between being substantive and being accessible to the lay person.

"A Science Odyssey" ran on PBS late in 1999, and dealt with scientific learning through the 20th century, each episode starting in an appropriate 1900 location for that show's theme and ending in its modern counterpart. Rather than just deal with one narrow topic for two hours, each episode has a broad conceptual theme, and shows connections between each that are often not readily apparent: for example, "Matters of Life And Death" give us a survey of advances of medicines and treatments. It may be hard for the modern diabetic to appreciate just how debilitating the disease was 50 or so years ago, and how cumbersome treatments were.

Charles Osgood hosts, and fortunately does not talk in rhyme here. The scripts are extremely well-written, the "theatrics" are kept to a minimum and the historical footage is fascinating. It all moves very quickly, appropriate for this television sound-bite age, but you come away smarter after each one. This should not be out of print. In fact, it should be on DVD, but I'm not holding my breath. These shows were made for the millenium, and are probably considered too "dated" to be of interest today.

(P.S. 10/20/05: I'm happy to report I was wrong about my prediction--PBS has finally put these on DVD! [It's about time. What's the matter, PBS, did you run out of cooking videos and Andre Rieu?]

Also, a note if you do get these on DVD: For some unimaginable reason [other than stupidity], if you choose "Play" from the menu, THE DISCS DO NOT START AT THE BEGINNING. They start either after the Prologue, or after the Prologue and Introduction depending on the disk. You thus miss the whole "set up" of each episode, the central question or issue. So instead of pressing "Play" in the root menu, go into the chapter selections and start with the first chapter, "Prologue.")"