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A Paralyzing Fear


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A Paralyzing Fear + American Experience - Influenza 1918 + The Plague (History Channel)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Olympia Dukakis
  • Directors: Nina Gilden Seavey
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006U5V9E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,017 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Paralyzing Fear" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Three mini-docs on Epidemic Disease
  • History of Polio Timeline
  • Archival photo gallery
  • Biographies
  • Trailers

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

{Emmy Award Winner!}
{Erik Barnouw Prize for Best Historical Film of the Year}
{Golden Apple Award, National Education Media Network}
{Golden Hugo Award, International Film & Video Communications}
{International Monitor Award, International Tele Production Society}
{Peer Award, Washington Film and Video Council}

Seldom has society come full circle in the cycle of a disease-- from illness, to epidemic, to cure. Polio is the 20th century's most notable exception.

First appearing in the United States in 1916, the disease crippled tens of thousands of children every summer until it was finally eradicated by the Salk vaccine beginning in 1954. Every baby boomer remembers the terror of the polio epidemic and the thrill when the vaccine was discovered.

A PARALYZING FEAR is not only about the disease itself, but also about the effects it had on society as the epidemic struck and people began to fear and shun each other. Polio was blamed on immigrants, called a curse from God, and even thought of as the result of choosing the wrong types of friends. The film also portrays how the same society converged to meet the challenge of this epidemic and triumph over it. It brings to life an America that was both brave and innocent--when one of the greatest private fundraising campaigns of all times led millions of youngsters to collected dimes, to support scientific research, and a President became the poster child for acceptance of a disease.

Review

By using a superb selection of period footage and blending it with present-day interviews, 'A Paralyzing Fear' captures much more than a history of a plague-like medical emergency, it captures an entire era in US history. --Cinemania Online

Like detectives, we follow the trail of the victims, test theories, and follow the case to a successful conclusion. --Wall Street Journal

A Tour de Force! Remarkable and comprehensive. --Hollywood Reporter

Customer Reviews

It was a very good film.
doorcountydi
An excellent film for any biology or social science class to show the students the human side of a disease.
Richard E. Kravitz
Those days, one of my friends lived in a small house, no longer there.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Richard E. Kravitz on November 19, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I viewed this film at home and then showed it to my high school chemistry students during a unit on water-borne disease. The students found it quite moving and there was much "sniffling" and wiping of eyes during scenes where children were shown suffering in the iron lungs. An excellent film for any biology or social science class to show the students the human side of a disease.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 10, 2008
Format: DVD
I can still remember over a half century ago when I got my first--I think it was the first--polio shot. Those days, one of my friends lived in a small house, no longer there. Her parents had spent a fortune keeping her alive, I guess, as they were on "the poor side of town," after her bout with polio. She had those metal braces, fortunately not used any more. I suppose she felt rejected by most, maybe that's why I befriended her. But that was a long time ago and I haven't the slightest idea what ever happened to her.

In my late 30s, I met a woman and apologized that I don't dance much. Then I noticed she had a cane--she too had had polio. I ended up marrying her, and she finally agreed to getting a wheelchair, something she was reluctant to do as it would suggest that she might be, my God, disabled!

About a decade ago too, I listened to a radio show which compared the polio scare to that of AIDS. In the polio days, we were afraid to touch anything that someone with polio may have infected, we were AFRAID. In the AIDS case we were too, it seems, though the means of picking up AIDS was a little more--specific--than of picking up polio. Anyway, that's among my reasons for being interested in this fine film.

Poliomyelitis--or infantile parlysis, as most stricken were quite young--has been around for millenia. (One of the human ancestors is often portrayed in films as being hunched over, they say, as the skeletal remains were those of a polio victim; a "normal" man of that species, we've learned since, would have stood not unlike you and me.) The story of the film starts closer to 1916 when there was an polio epidemic in the US.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Lewis on January 19, 2008
Format: VHS Tape
This documentary did an excellent job of explaining the causes of the growing polio epidemics in the first half of the twentieth century. To think that public sanitation, which ended other deadly diseases, had a role in the increase of polio cases. It's a must see for anyone who remembers this scourge, or any historian.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Yvonne Roche on June 30, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I have watched numerous documentaries about polio, but this is the one I find the most compelling. I showed it to my 17 year old and he was fascinated. This film is a must-see. For those who have developed the strange idea that immunizations are bad, you absolutely must see this film. It is important that we do not forget why we have immunizations in the first place.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. N. Cudd on August 14, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I viewed this movie for the first time in my Immunology class and it is really a gripping history of the disease of polio. I bought the item "used" to save money and the movie was brand new, still in the shrink wrap as promised by the seller! I received the movie within 3 days and was very happy with my purchase!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 7, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
My sister was sick with Polio in 1950. Now at the age of 63, she is struggling as the disease wraps its tentacles even tighter around her body. This movie brought understanding and memories of events that our family experienced. However, the story of Polio in America is not finished as many are still coping with trying to find treatment and adaptations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. E. Van Keuren on April 4, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
The baby boom generation was born into a polio epidemic. Every summer was "polio season" and parents were afraid for their children to be in public places. I remember kids with polio in my own elementary school. This film is worth watching not only to recall the fear so many people felt, but to recapture how the American people, and a president with polio paralysis, found a solution to this dread disease.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Deborah C on March 31, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I find this movie to be so Very Interesting because I grew up at a time when there was no known cure for Polio however I can still remember when I went to a school and got my sugar cube with Tha vaccine on it! How different they do it today! I learned so many facts and how they finally came up with a vaccine! I would Highly Recommend this movie to everyone young and old!
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