Author Archives: Evander Lomke

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 […]

Group Therapy in “The New Yorker”

The May 27, 2013, issue of The New Yorker included a cartoon that we think former AMHF director Stefan de Schill especially would have appreciated. A female therapist sits on an easy chair to the left, several framed academic degrees above her shoulder. On a loveseat next to her, and in front of a large […]

Dr. Joyce Brothers, R.I.P.

Dr. Joyce Brothers, who paved the way for television figures as diverse as Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer and Dr. Drew Pinsky, and was essential in making the mass-cultural discussion of deep-seated and uncomfortable emotions in the U.S. a more open forum, died yesterday. As my friend notes in the Los Angeles Times obituary—which quotes him […]

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. […]

April Is World Autism Awareness Month

April is World Autism Awareness Month, with Autism Awareness Day annually on April 2. What is Autism Spectrum? It is not easily defined, even by professionals. Modalities of treatment likewise vary and are in their infancy—even as strides are made. AMHF calls our readers’ attention to this often-misunderstood and easily misidentified diagnosis. Asperger’s syndrome (or […]

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. […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Psychoanalysis: Adam Phillips

The current February 25, 2013, issue of The New Yorker contains a review of UK psychoanalytic-writer Adam Phillips’s latest book Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life. The always-interesting Joan Acocella gives and takes in her notice regarding Phillips’s “invitation” to consider Freud as a philosopher. “Phillips loves Freud. He cites him again and […]

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 […]

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 […]

Know Your Neurons: Their Discovery and Naming

Amygdala. Corpus Collosum. Dendritic Spines. Voxel. These are words Ferris Jahr, writing in Scientific American, had to add to his Microsoft program in order to avoid all those red squiggles. “Neuron” his program knew, and he thought he knew (May 14, 2012). He did not. Now, Mr. Jahr has begun to appreciate the extraordinary diversity […]

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 the appropriately named, from the standpoint of this series of essays, Psycho) and the superbly versatile Karl Malden as his unreasonably domineering father (reminiscent of […]

Elders’ Brains and Scams

Brains, like all human organs and body parts, wear down with age. As the population ages, as Boomers retire in droves and the sheer numbers of elders increase, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports from September 24, 2012 on a man in his eighties, without dementia, who started making a series of bafflingly bad financial decisions. Told […]

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 […]

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Spellbound” (1945)

This is the seventh film under under close scrutiny in the AMHF series of films. (We “analyze” other movies in different blogs. But not all are come within this series of, eventually, twenty-one.) Alfred Hitchcock had worked under David O. Selznick five years before, directing Rebecca. The association of two such egos was more a […]

AMHF Research

As readers of this blog and followers of the AMHF Web site know, in August 2012 the foundation embarked on a two-year study of at-risk youth, in partnership with Astor Services for Children & Families of Rhinebeck and the Bronx, New York. Herewith a report, from Dr. Suzanne Button of Astor, on hopes for this […]

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)

Of the twenty-one films for discussion on this Web site, here is number six, which stars Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher in signature roles. Thus is the plot, in slightly condensed form, from Wikipedia: In 1963, Randle Patrick “Mac” McMurphy (Jack Nicholson)—a recidivist anti-authoritarian criminal serving a sentence on an Oregon-prison farm for statutory rape […]

Zack Greinke

Baseball Therapy

Although the therapeutic dimension of sports on the highest level, which is usually the professional, is well accepted, players are often assessed—or worse, judged—by club executives and fans alike based on issues or “characteristics” of mental health. This can be unfortunate. As the Major League Baseball Cy Young (for pitchers) and Most Valuable Player Awards […]

Oliver Sacks on Epilepsy

For Epilepsy Awareness Month, do check out the great Dr. Oliver Sacks, Hallucinations. Sacks discusses the more unusual aspects of this condition (and others) as it affects behavior, and as neurology rubs against the field of psychiatry and even that of theology. You will not be disappointed. Sacks delves into the desperately misunderstood and stigmatized […]

Happy Birthday, William Van Ornum Jr.!

Today, October 31, is the twenty-eighth birthday of William Van Ornum Jr. Last year, the directors thanked this remarkable young man for his especially terrific work at the AMHF Stefan de Schill Award ceremony, a research prize granted to Suicide Prevention Initiatives. In 2011-12, William (who has a perceptive interest in filmmaking and theory when […]

Annual Meeting on Epilepsy

We hope all our readers will take note of this important meeting, of the American Epilepsy Society in San Diego, November 30 to December 4. November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. There are 65 million people diagnosed with epilepsy throughout the world. Due to the stigma attached to the condition, it largely remains a so-called […]

Happy Birthday Gene Gollogly!

Several days ago, vice president and board member Gene Gollogly celebrated his birthday (October 4). It was a “milestone birthday.” Gene’s work for AMHF occurs largely behind the scenes. The directors are grateful, Gene, for your extensive culture and for your knowledge of the book-publishing and not-for-profit worlds; for your many influential contacts in business, […]

Annual Report of the American Mental Health Foundation

American Mental Health Foundation Annual Report November 1, 2011, to October 31, 2012 This is the second Annual Report on The American Mental Health Foundation (AMHF), a research organization founded in 1924, incorporated in New York State December 31, 1954. (Click here for the first annual report, November 2011.) Vision Statement: on the homepage of […]

A Great Teacher Remembered at 100

This blog has little directly to do with mental health, and everything to do with pedagogy and its impact on later life. It is composed in memoriam. In 1975 to 1976, while a graduate student at the University of Toronto, I was fortunate to attend lectures, based on sections of Anatomy of Criticism, by Herman […]

AMHF Smart Growth Seminar

Watch the AMHF Smart Growth Seminar video below:

Mental-health Cost

Suicide rates are unacceptably high. A U.S. soldier, present or recent past, is said to kill himself or herself every eighty minutes. In countries suffering economic crises, the situation is in some ways even more tragic. Reuters reports that “behind every suicide in crisis-stricken countries such as Greece there are up to 20 more people […]

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