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Mesmer [VHS]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Donal Donnelly, David Burke, Peter Dvorsky, Alan Rickman, Anna Thalbach
  • Directors: Roger Spottiswoode
  • Writers: Dennis Potter
  • Producers: Alexander von Eschwege, Andras Hamori, David E. Jones, Herbert Reutterer, Ingrid Windisch
  • Format: Color, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Millennium
  • VHS Release Date: May 23, 2000
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305849633
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,850 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Who knows what secrets lurk in the souls of man? In 18th century Vienna, one man discovers the truth-and pays the price. His patients call him a miracle worker; his colleagues dismiss him as a quack. Meet Franz Anton Mesmer (Alan Rickman, Galaxy Quest, Dogma, Sense and Sensibility): physician, hypnotist, self-promoter, hopeless romantic, and man ahead of his time. Employing revolutionary ideas about "animal magnetism" and the power of suggestion, Mesmer gains local acclaim by curing his disturbed young cousin. Shortly thereafter, beautiful blind pianist Maria Theresa Paradies (Amanda Ooms) seeks Mesmer's aid, setting in motion a dizzying, doomed love affair as her cure becomes both his greatest triumph and his downfall.
In this thought-provoking film from acclaimed screenwriter Dennis Potter (The Singing Detective) and director Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies), everything we know-or think we know-about the nature of consciousness is called into question. As the man who scandalized Vienna and Paris and threw the medical establishment into an uproar, Alan Rickman delivers a tour de force performance that won the Best Actor Award at the Montreal Film Festival. Music composed by three-time Golden Globe Nominee Michael Nyman (The Piano, Gattaca, The End of the Affair).

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Merilahti Kristiina on August 20, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First, to get some things clear: the boy is Mesmer's stepson and the marriage is propably a business arrangement, as hinted by both Mesmer and his wife. As marriages were in those days.
The movie then... Yes, at times Rickman's voice was very hard to hear and the plot seems a bit loose. I admit he's got the most expressive face, eyes, voice and hands in the movie business and for once they were very well portrayed. In fact, the movie seems to rely on them. I was a bit confused, too, what was the point of the movie. Was it a historical piece, romantic story - it even had some comedy, as great tragedies often have. Mesmer seems to fail, although in real life he actually did cure people. And then he said his bit about how much pain there is in the world and how he could not bare not to be able to do anything to relieve it. And there was the point; that's why Dennis Potter, already dying, wrote the script this way. Even the kissing scene, which to many people seems very romantic and sexy, seemed sad to me. As if Mesmer couldn't believe something like that really happens to him. Even the ending made sense, then. This is a man, whose heart is aching to do something good in a world filled with pain and cruelty, selfishness and ignorance, but fails because one man isn't enough. Even the one he cures isn't saved, because the world doesn't understand what he was trying to do, what he was trying to make people see. Dennis Potter's testament, maybe?
Oh yes, Rickman was born to wear cloaks (see Snape and Sheriff of Nottingham) and white ruffles around his throat, Amanda Ooms is lovely and the acting and the sceneries are great. And to remind, why Rickman is so great as a villain, he gets to throw the boy down the stairs.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By "zootycoonlady" on April 5, 2002
Format: DVD
Ah, yes the infamous movie with virtually no sound. If you have those little Sony speakers, you can crank up the volume all the way and put the speakers by your ears and you can hear the dialogue that way.
First, let me get the cons out of the way. There are some plot elements that never got resolved. For instance, what happened to the girl with the crush on Mesmer? Who was she anyway? Why is Mesmer's son so idiotic and totally unlike his father??? Why are there scenes that look like they've been replayed? (The glass bowl scene.) But if you manage to look past all of that, Mesmer is a very entertaining movie.
Mesmer is truly a feast for the eyes. The costumes and scenery are brought out even more by the lush color quality of the dvd. And oh, are there costumes! If you are a sucker for costume films, then Mesmer's lovely puffy sleeves and purple velvet cloak will surely impress.
The acting in this movie is great too. Alan Rickman, is, of course, marvelous and top notch. I love the scene when he is hugging Maria Teresa after she accidentally revealed her secret to him. Watch those haunted eyes. You can see his confusion, then realization, then anger and fierce protectiveness. Amanda Ooms is a very talented actress as well. They bring the somewhat awkwardly written script to life.
For those of you who are Alan Rickman fans and haven't seen this movie... you can't call yourself a fan! Mr. Rickman has completely sensual long hair and dons an array of fabulously sexy costumes (as mentioned before.) There are plenty of hand scenes. His hands are extremely beautiful. And his low, purring voice makes full use of the DVD subwoofer. Be sure to turn up the bass!
As for the story, I have to admit it ends without a real resolution.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Carol Tessen on November 8, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Alan Rickman stars as Dr. Frantz Anton Mesmer, an Austrian physician in the 18th century who is considered to be the most influential figure in the development of hypnosis. Dr. Mesmer used magnets and metal frames in water to put his patients in a trance-like state in order to cleanse the magnetic forces in the body. He believed that a person�s emotional and mental state was directly related to physical illness. He felt that everyone had the ability to heal themselves of any disease just by breaking through the mental barriers and �re-aligning� the magnetic forces. (I believe they call it �life energy� today.)
Dr. Mesmer did achieve success with his treatment but was ridiculed and ostracized by the medical community. The staid medical establishment of the time did not approve of Mesmer�s oftentimes theatrical performances and excessive showmanship. As a result, Mesmer was condemned by his medical colleagues and forced to leave Vienna. He practiced in Austria, Switzerland and Germany before settling in France.
Mr. Rickman truly captures the charismatic and controversial character of Dr. Mesmer. This film shows how the physician practiced his craft but I felt it didn�t really explain how he developed his technique originally. (In fact, the film has a few unexplained gaps in it.) The movie focuses on two of Mesmer�s patients; one is the cousin of his wife, the other is a gifted musician he encounters at a recital. His wife�s cousin, a young girl, seems hopelessly brain damaged and he never really helps her. The musician is a beautiful young woman (Amanda Ooms) who is blind. Mesmer believes he can cure her blindness and becomes quite taken with her. He discovers that her father has been sexually abusing her since she was a young child.
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