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Leprosy in the movies


Swithin
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This may not be a very appealing thread, but I've been thinking of two films lately: *The Indian Tomb,* a terrific silent epic (Joe May, dir., stars Conrad Veidt) with which Fritz Lang was involved (and which he later re-made); and *Dungeon of Harrow*, a creepy grade-z 1964 horror film. Both feature leprosy as part of the plot. Other films featuring the disease include *Ben Hur* as well as all the films related to Father Damien. Any others? *A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum* also includes a brief scene in which the disease is mentioned.

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I know there were lepers in the Gospels, but I'm not sure which movie about the life of Christ showed them?

 

Awhile ago I mentioned there were two recent films about Father Damien of Molokai, (who worked among the lepers of that colony.)

 

*The Motorcycle Diaries*, a movie about the early life of Che Guvara, had a scene of him and a his friend visiting a leper colony.

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"City of Joy" from 1992: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Joy_(film)

 

"Braveheart" - Robert Bruce the Leper: http://revistamedicinacine.usal.es/index.php/en/vol5/num1/254

 

"The Fog" - Leprosy features in the plot of this horror flick (ghosts of lepers): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fog

 

"Viridiana" - One of characters the nun tries to help is a leper: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100429/REVIEWS08/100429974/1023

 

Black humour about leprosy with Michael Palin in "The Life of Brian":

 

 

Short article about leprosy in movies here: http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2008/11/27/uhl_501680.shtml

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When I was a kid, I learned about leprosy from those "bible movies" (e.g., Ben-Hur) that I watched with my grandmother. It scared the bejesus out of me and I feared having my fingers and nose fall off!

 

 

But then, as I've stated before, I was a weird kid.

 

 

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It scared me, too. It's one of those diseases that was so terrifying ages ago but is actually now curable and not that contagious. Remember that scene in A Funny Thing... "Unclean! Unclean!" They probably had little to fear. And I've heard that the leprosy mentioned in the Bible might actually have been a much more innocuous skin disease.

 

Leprosy figures very prominently in the silent version of The Indian Tomb. The main character goes into a leper cave and accidentally steps on a leper's face (he seems to be partly buried in the sand). The leper curses him, hence all the trouble that the hero endures for most of the rest of the movie.

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> {quote:title=Swithin wrote:}{quote}I was wondering what was the matter with Ian Bannen's face in Braveheart. Just looked at the IMDB -- it actually lists the character as "The Leper."

 

 

He was based on an historical person: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_de_Brus,_6th_Lord_of_Annandale

portrayed in the film by Bannen...

 

I provided a link below to an article in a medical journal ("Journal of Medicine and Movies") concerning leprosy as portrayed in "Braveheart":

http://campus.usal.es/~revistamedicinacine/Vol_5/5.1/ing.pdf/braveheart_ing.pdf

 

"The Journal of Medicine and Movies" is an academic journal published by the University of Salamanca: http://campus.usal.es/~revistamedicinacine/Normas_suscrip/normas/Normas%20RMC%20ingles.pdf

 

It publishes articles concerning medicine as portrayed in movies, hence the journal title...

 

The article above includes photos showing the progression of the leprosy of Bannen's character in "Braveheart."

 

Anyway, another article from a medical publication here that discusses whether the son (Ian Bannen's character is Robert the Bruce the Elder in the movie) died from leprosy ("Robert the Bruce and Leprosy"):

http://www.historyofdentistry.co.uk/index_htm_files/2001Apr5.pdf

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Hi,

 

SPOILERS:

 

In the movie "The Egyptian", Nefer (Bella Darvi) reappears years later with leprosy after having swindled Sinue (Edmund Purdom) out of his inheritance.

 

And in "Kingdom of Heaven", Bauduin IV of Jerusalem (Edward Norton) has leprosy and is covered in robes and a silver mask throughout the film.

 

Bauduin is historically correct, while Nefer is fictional...

 

Larry

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vecchiolarry,

 

*The Egyptian* is my absolute favorite epic of all time. I was taken to see it as a very small boy and used to dream about it. But I always assumed that the disease with which Nefer returns to Sinuhe is some sort of VD that has a skin component, like syphilis. Is leprosy actually mentioned in the film (or the book)?

 

 

 

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