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Biography - Sigmund Freud: Analysis of a Mind (A&E DVD Archives)
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS Tape
This is a very interesting look at the life of Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis and, to some, the "doctor of love." It is, of course, a look at his life and not an analysis of his work and ideas - while it certainly mentions many of Freud's theories, ideas, and publications, it does not go into an in-depth analysis of them. I tend to think of Freud as this wildly successful, albeit controversial, psychologist lounging back in his office chair with a cigar, nodding toward a patient lying on a nearby couch, and generally basking in his great fame and accomplishments. This is not really the case, however, as this video makes clear.

I knew nothing about Freud's childhood. After his birth, he lived in a one-room abode with a father in his early 40s, a mother in her early 20s, and two step-brothers as old as his mother. In the next few years, six more children would be born, but when the family moved to Vienna, Sigmund enjoyed the comforts of his own room and a doting the less precocious children were denied. Born a Jew, the anti-Semitism around him spurred him on to ever greater efforts at learning, and before entering medical school he spoke six languages and had been recording his dreams for a number of years. He wanted to do research, but a quota on Jews in this field made this impossible; he decided to become a doctor, and he chose to work in the field of nervous disorders primarily because such doctors were in short supply and he was anxious to establish himself and marry his sweetheart (the courtship was an interesting one characterized as exceedingly Victorian). Early in his career, he experimented with and recommended the use of cocaine for mentally afflicted patients, but this work with a drug he did not yet recognize for its deadly addictive qualities didn't exactly win him the acclaim he yearned for. His much more fertile ideas on the nature of hysteria and similar disorders of the mind as stemming from physical causes were changed during a period of study in France. When he opened his own practice, he made use of hypnotism among more traditional methods; soon thereafter, he began using "the talking treatment" and observed that his patients almost always seemed to trace the origins of their problems back to some traumatic childhood experience involving sex - be it real or imagined. From this work would come his ideas on the Oedipus complex and, much later.(...) At the age of 40, Freud decided to analyze himself using free association techniques, the results of which would form a large part of his most famous book On the Interpretation of Dreams (which sold all of 300 copies in its first six years).

The video then traces Freud's attempts to establish psychoanalysis as a recognized science. Many of his colleagues derided him as a dirty-minded man obsessed with pornography, and his Jewish heritage also worked against him among the establishment. Not until the 1920s would he become a household name. By this time, he had put forth his ideas on the death drive among men, having seen his worst visions of man's unconscious unleashed by World War I. His pessimism about man's inner nature grew in his final years, culminating in Hitler's rise to power and his own dangerously-delayed escape from Vienna. Bouts with oral cancer cursed Freud with great pain in the final decade of his life, but he never gave up his addiction for cigars.

The most interesting information presented here centers upon Freud's own neuroses, with the cigar addiction being just one of many. He also suffered from a paranoia about travel, gave up sex after the birth of his sixth child despite the fact he argued that any restrictions upon a husband's sex life (including birth control) would make him neurotic, and tended to faint in the presence of talented male friends such as Carl Jung, with whom he bitterly parted ways after Jung's ideas began to diverge from Freud's own insistent theories. This was a complex man who broke down the barriers between man and his formerly repressed drives. While his ideas on psychoanalysis were already beginning to be rejected or changed before his death in 1939, he continues to tower over the field of psychology and wields immense influence over popular culture still today. A study in contrasts, the life of Sigmund Freud makes for a fascinating documentary.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2002
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
I think this video probably needed to be 2 hours instead of 1. The coverage of Freud's major contributions/concepts is much too superficial--it also presumes previous knowledge. For example, "libido" is mentioned but the video fails to describe what Freud meant by that term. His conceptualization of personality (i.e., the id, ego, and superego) is never mentioned! Some interesting details about Freud's personal life, but the video fails to capture his theories and the controversies surrounding them.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I thought that the video didn't go into detail of explaning his profound theories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2010
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
The is a DVD of an A&E Biography program about Freud from about ten years ago. But the age of the program is not at all a negative. This program does a good job of exposing the viewers to many aspects of the life of Sigmund Freud, who is probably one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted of the early founders of Psychology. This program not only talks about Freud's work and his background, but puts it in perspective of the times. Having been to the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna, this program is very accurate in its description of Freud, his life and his relationships. This is another video that I will show to Psychology majors taking my History of Psychology class. I highly recommend it if you are a student of psychology or just want to get a better understanding of Freud.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2013
Format: DVD
This is an excellent introduction to Freud's life and his concepts.
I show this to my introductory psychology students each semester.
It begins with his unusual family structure (Mom same age as his half-brothers) and his incredible intelligence as a child (6 languages by age 12!).
He wanted to be a research scientist, but the university had a quota on Jews, so he had to be a medical doctor instead.
The cocaine episode is covered fully and fairly, as is his development of several aspects of his theory of psychoanalysis, free assocation, dream analysis, and slips.
His sexuality is compared to his ideas about sex.
We learn that he smoked 20 to 25 cigars a day, and had 33 operations for cancer, and never understood women.
It shows how the times he lived in shaped his ideas about human nature.
Recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This A&E DVD was shown in a class I am taking in college. I liked it so much I had to have my own copy. I would very much like to have the same quality biographical information on Jung, Adler, Horney, Fromm, Erickson, Maslow, Rogers, Bandura, and the contemporary Big Five.
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on March 24, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I was skeptical at first, although when I saw the performance it was really magical like going back in time and seeing Freud's life. What a magnificent performance. Whether or not you are into psychology it is worth seeing this movie.

Peter Horak
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on July 23, 2014
Format: DVD
Comprehensive presentation, provided excellent insight
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This biography of Freud does a good job of relating the events of his life to the development of his psychological theories. It is not a paen, but a realistic portayal of his many contributions and his personal flaws. I would have liked more about how others built on his theories so that his legacy was more clearly spelled out and appreciated, but for the length of the production, it was first rate. I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting an overview of Freud and the basics of his most famous works.
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on September 22, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Great book!
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