NOW WATCHING: SOMETHING THE LORD MADE

Monday, October 12, 2015

via: HBO Signature

Something the Lord Made is a film about the black cardiac pioneer Vivien Thomas and his complex and volatile partnership with white surgeon Alfred Blalock, the world famous “Blue Baby doctor” who pioneered modern heart surgery. Based on the National Magazine Award-winning Washingtonian magazine article Like Something the Lord Made by Katie McCabe, the film was directed by Joseph Sargent and written by Peter Silverman and Robert Caswell.



A man who in life avoided the limelight, the real-life Vivien Thomas remained virtually unknown outside the circle of Hopkins surgeons he trained. Thomas’ story was first brought to public attention by Washington writer Katie McCabe, who learned of his work with Blalock on the day of his death in a 1985 interview with a prominent Washington, D.C. surgeon who described Thomas as “an absolute legend.” McCabe’s 1989 Washingtonian magazine article on Thomas, Like Something the Lord Made, generated widespread interest in the story and inspired the making of a 2003 public television documentary on Thomas and Blalock, Partners of the Heart. A Washington, D.C. dentist, Dr. Irving Sorkin, discovered McCabe’s article and brought it to Hollywood, where it was developed into the film.



The film was nominated for nine Emmy Awards (including acting nominations for both principals) and won three, for Outstanding Made for Television Movie, Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie (Don Morgan) and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Michael Brown). It also received two Golden Globe nominations, Black Reel Awards for Best Film and Best Supporting Actor (Clayton LeBouef, in the role of Thomas’ activist brother Harold), an NAACP Image Award, a Peabody Award, a Directors Guild of America Award for Sargent, and a Writers Guild of America Award for Silverman and Caswell. The American Film Institute, which named Something the Lord Made the Best Television Movie of the Year for 2004, called it “a revelation .... a bittersweet story (that) is an important tool for America as it continues to search for a public vocabulary to discuss issues of race.”

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I highly recommend this movie.

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