Category: Movies

Left to right on Public Voice Salon: Evander Lomke, Dr. Henry Kellerman, host John Bredin, Dr. William Van Ornum

The American Mental Health Foundation on Public Voice Salon, with John Bredin, Host

Immediately following the 2017 US-presidential inauguration, members of The American Mental Health Foundation professional-advisory board, Drs. Henry Kellerman and William Van Ornum, were filmed on Public Voice Salon. John Bredin is the gracious host. The freewheeling conversation, centering on the state of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis today, also included Mr. Evander Lomke, executive director, discussing the history […]

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Fighting against fears

Psychology and Psychotherapy: Enablers of Bad Behavior? (Not!)

Does psychology undermine morality? The question is broad. The book on the subject is short. Pundit Mona Charen reviews it in National Review (April 20, 2015). She says, Yes. As a reflection of the research and outreach conducted by this foundation, since 1924, my different view follows…. Regarding Mona Charen’s review of Admirable Evasions: How Psychology […]

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Lucy Winer explores her decades-old emotional connection to a now-abandoned mental hospital.

Extraordinary Documentary on a Mental Institution

I have had the opportunity to view an extraordinary documentary entitled Kings Park. Here is what Oliver Sacks has to say: “A brave, compelling look at the life of a state mental hospital and those whose lives it has touched. Lucy Winer has thought long and hard about the subject, and brings to her film […]

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Sylvia Plath: Author of a film, not yet in release, based on her celebrated autobiographical novel

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “The Bell Jar” (1979, 2013?)

This is the final blog in the AMHF series of twenty-one films relating to “Hollywood and Psychiatry.” These blogs have taken us from ca. 1921, and the release of silent classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a mere three years before The American Mental Health Foundation was organized, into the twenty-first century. The first blog […]

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Themes relevant to the work of AMHF: Borderline Personality Disorder, Sociopathic Behavior, and Suicide all thro the lens of feminist theory

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Girl, Interrupted” (1999)

This is film number twenty of twenty-one in the AMHF series, focusing on a range of Hollywood depictions of psychiatry, analysts, and individuals under analysis, from the silent era to the present. (The final film for discussion, an updated version of The Bell Jar, will be included as a kind of “what may be” assuming […]

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Clearly of B-film status, this series nevertheless says a lot about the social dimensions of crime and the psychology of the criminal mind

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Crime Doctor” (1943; series 1943-49)

Counting all ten films in the Crime Doctors series as one, this is the nineteenth of twenty-one Hollywood films, from AMHF, devoted to images of psychiatry, psychiatrists, and psychology. These (basically) one-hour films are in a time-honored, formulaic tradition. As comic-book writers fashioned superheroes with separate, mundane identities, so, a little closer to the workings […]

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"You've been thro all of F. Scott Fizgerald's Books."...The troubled genius behind "Gatsby": Honored in death.

The Great Gatsby, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Craig House Hospital

This is the first weekend showing of a movie that filmgoers and literary lions alike have been waiting for: The Great Gatsby. Everyone and everything is enmeshed. There are affairs. Grand parties throw people who would not normally meet each other together. The excesses of the Jazz Age coexist with the growing economic conditions that […]

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MPD a.k.a. DID, from the 1950s

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “The Three Faces of Eve” (1957)

Once known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is the subject of film number eighteen of twenty-one in the AMHF series on psychiatry in Hollywood. The Three Faces of Eve covers a most controversial disorder—often outright debunked as the current (as of this writing) DSM-4 had made significant changes to the diagnosis. […]

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The Ultimate Patient for the Ultimate Analyst

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “The Secret Diary of Sigmund Freud” (1984)

Do you find the concept of a dreaming phrenologist at all funny? I didn’t think so. Once upon a time, psychoanalysis was viewed as nothing but a shabby cousin of phrenology. Freud and his followers changed all this, even though the tired gags of the usually brilliant Woody Allen might leave one to believe otherwise. […]

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A Dantesque reckoning of  shame, fear, guilt —Hitchcock's mind on display

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Vertigo” (1958)

Do you know what acrophobia is? The 1950s, like the 1940s, was a rich era for Hollywood depictions of “psychological problems” and themes—especially around words, terms, and concepts not generally known to audiences as such are today: in part, though we often do not realize it, thanks to the very movies we are putting “on […]

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The film helped raise awareness of individuals on the autism spectrum but created misleading impressions

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Rain Man” (1988)

This is the fifteenth movie in the AMHF series of twenty-one. Rain Man won four Academy Awards at the sixty-first Oscars show: Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Director, and Actor—Dustin Hoffman’s second in a remarkable performance. The film revolves around the relationship between a younger, self-centered brother, likewise played to perfection by Tom Cruise, an inheritance, […]

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Therapy Strikes Out?

Therapy Strikes Out?

Several weeks ago Evander, as part of the series of films on mental health, posted a review of Fear Strikes Out. This unique story–coming out mid-point in outfielder Jimmy Piersall’s career—highlights Piersall’s emotional problems and strange behaviors: talking to Babe Ruth’s statue in the Yankee Stadium outfield, squirting home plate with a water pistol so […]

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Fictionalized and based on the work of world-renowned neurologist and epilepsy expert Dr. Oliver Sacks

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Awakenings” (1990)

Where does the study of neurology leave off and that of psychiatry and psychology begin? (After all, Sigmund Freud was a neurologist.) Do we understand the intermingling of memory and time? What is “real” and what is “perceived”? What are some of the challenges of the aging consciousness? Here is film number fourteen, “analyzed” in […]

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Janet Frame's story brought to the screen thro Jane Campion and Laura Jones

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “An Angel at My Table” (1990)

This is the thirteenth of twenty-one films in the series on psychiatry in film. The plot summary is provided by Judd Blaise Rovi. New Zealand poet Janet Frame is the subject of Jane Campion’s biographical drama, which presents a poetically evocative look at the author’s turbulent life. The film begins with Frame’s childhood, showing her […]

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Legends Boris Karloff and Val Lewton team up

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Bedlam” (1946)

Have you ever felt that you were in hell? As the word pandemonium derives from John Milton’s Satan and his crew in Paradise Lost—in The Screwtape Letters C. S. Lewis refers to the environment/condition as “The Kingdom of Noise” (“the mind is its own place, and can make a heaven of hell and a hell […]

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"Where's the rest of me?"

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Kings Row” (1942)

“Where’s the rest of me?” Ronald Reagan implores, having had legs amputated. Former President Reagan even used this famous line as the title of a 1960s memoir. Goethe essentially asks the same question in his 1773-74 Goetz von Berlichingen; or, the Man with the Iron Hand. Are we our legs? Our arms? Our faces? Even […]

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A novel sensitively adapted by Millen Brand, from a year that AMHF flourished

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “The Snake Pit” (1948)

I feel unusually close to The Snake Pit, personally, if not intimately and daily, working with one of the writers, Millen Brand, during my early days in book publishing. This, the tenth film out of twenty-one in the AMHF series, required significant research from the filmmakers in adapting an autobiographical novel by Jane Ward. The […]

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Mental illness is swept under the rug in the macho world of American sports

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Fear Strikes Out” (1957)

Movie number nine in the American Mental Health Foundation series of twenty-one relating to its mission stars (Anthony Perkins who would famously make a career of playing disturbed individuals: for example in Psycho) and the superbly versatile Karl Malden as his unreasonably domineering father (reminiscent of Bette Davis’s mother from Now, Voyager). The film is […]

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Papa Hemingway as a broken man

Suicide and the Hemingway Family

A new documentary film presents the emotional health history of a famous American family of artists—the Hemingways—according to CNN, whose sources we quote. This film, Running from Crazy, premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival. Oprah Winfrey is executive producer. “‘Suicide has no rhyme or reason,’ [Mariel] Hemingway said. ‘Some people, it’s 20 dark […]

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German Expressionism at its cinematic peak

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1921, remade 1992)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is the eighth of twenty-one films discussed in this blog. It is the earliest movie and the only silent one. It works by flashback and is a vivid visual re-creation of intensely scrambled mental states. The story line, somewhat condensed from Wikipedia, is as follows: The main narrative is introduced […]

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