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Watch "The Way of All Flesh" Documentary On "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"

by Tambay A. Obenson
June 1, 2011 12:37 PM
5 Comments
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I'm currently reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; the non-fiction book by Rebecca Skloot, which Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films will adapt into a feature film for HBO, as announced about a year ago.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the story of Lacks, a poor African America Baltimore mother of five who died of cervical cancer in 1951 at age 31, and whose cancerous cells from her body, removed and cultured for medical research by doctors at Johns Hopkins (without her family’s knowledge), led to “significant breakthroughs in medical research, ranging from aiding the development of the cure for polio to AIDS-related treatments.

But that doesn't even begin to really uncover the story of this mostly unknown black woman, her family, and the contributions she unknowingly made to science. I'm about 1/4 through the book, so still a long way to go, but, thus far, I'm hooked! There's a lot of meat here, a lot I didn't know before I started reading it, and I can see why Oprah would be interested in making a film based on Lack's story, and aftermath.

The book was published in February of 2010, so it's still relatively fresh, and I encourage you to pick up a copy if you haven't.

I would say more, but I want to finish reading it, which I hope to do in the next week, and then I'll post one of my book-to-film review entries.

Oprah reportedly loved the book so much that she “couldn’t put it down,” and read all 384 pages in one sitting. The adaptation was said to be high on HBO’s priority list, thanks to her encouragement. But, as of today, no word on how far along in the production process the adaptation is; I'd assume it's been given to a screenwriter to adapt, which could take some time:

In the meantime, I learned of this old documentary on Henrietta Lacks and her so-called "immortal cell line." It's titled The Way of All Flesh. I haven't watched it all yet (I only found about it this morning), but I'm told that it's not comprehensive, and shouldn't be relied on as a sole source. Consider it a companion to the book.

It's 55 minutes long, and embedded below.

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5 Comments

  • monmetwosse | August 26, 2011 5:03 AMReply

    Сначала не сочёл серьёзным .
    Набрался терпения, материал великолепный.
    Очень заинтересовал , главное во время и практичный .
    В чём то я согласен, в чём то не очень, но ясно, что у Вас есть своё понимание.
    В глаза бросается логика.
    скинул на посту товарищу.
    У нас разгорелась дискуссия, вот что определяет ценность, значит не зря.
    Так держать.
    Спасибо.

  • Hope | June 3, 2011 1:06 AMReply

    I hope you take time and watch, The Way of All Flesh, is was done way before the book, so there is no companion there. And while the book was good, because it let people know about Henrietta and the history, that was almost lost, people ever stop and think, well we see Rebecca, but we don't see the Lacks Family? Did they just fade away..

  • Geneva Girl | June 1, 2011 9:36 AMReply

    It's a terrific book. I read it pretty quickly too. (Wish I could have read it one sitting. Having household staff and no kids allows you to the time to do that I guess.)

  • E Forde | June 1, 2011 6:02 AMReply

    As someone who never seems to have enough time to read I read this book within a week.
    I knew it would get turned into a family I was wondering if they'd go do straight Documentary or Doc-Drama route.
    I just pray that O doesn't go and F**k it up and make some schmaltzy rubbish. As it has all the ingredients of a great Book to film adpation without much tweaking.

  • Tamara | June 1, 2011 3:37 AMReply

    This book is literally within my reach. I'll have to check it out and read it. I remember having flipped through it, looking at the pictures. LOL.

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