Based on a true story, Something the Lord Made is a moving HBO film starring Alan Rickman as Dr. Alfred Blalock, a renowned surgeon at Baltimore’s John Hopkins Hospital, and his black lab technician (played by Mos Def) who for the very first time (in the 1940s) attempt to do heart surgery.
Their historic surgery will save “blue babies” from certain death and start the field of cardiology. Jim Crow attitudes about Vivien Thomas, the black, brilliant assistant, play out in this emotional story as man attempts to tamper with the human heart for the first time.
Be sure to listen to the director’s comments after viewing this film because it adds a lot of interesting info.
Especially great viewing if you have read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which is also set at John Hopkins Hospital – in the early 1950s – when racial discrimination still played a huge role.