Read The Essay  |  Go to NLM Digital Collections   |   Watch on YouTube  |   Read Transcript

DATE: 1933

LENGTH: 5 min

CATEGORY: Clinical & Surgical, Research & Documentation, Silent, Black & White



Sometime in the last century a fragment of silent film landed at the National Library of Medicine. How it got there is a mystery: no paperwork survives to tell the tale; no other prints of the film appear to have survived; no other sources on its making or showing have turned up. The film itself gives no direct information on its origins or purpose. It has no real title or credits, only a single intertitle that tersely announces the featured player, setting, and time: “Herr Professor Doktor Jakob Erdheim. Prosektor. Krankenhaus Der Stadt Wien. September 1933.”

What comes after that is extraordinary, a minor landmark of medical cinema: an autopsy, perhaps the first ever performed before a motion picture camera. On screen, a bespectacled man in a white coat happily cuts open an unidentified dead man, chatting all the while with students and colleagues…Read The Essay

Posted by:stevendunnenlm

Share your thoughts...