This video has no sound
  • Short Summary

    Gruesome medical film about how blood circulates - not for the squeamish.

  • Description

    c 1928

    Medical film with gruesome images of animals hearts being punctured and prodded to show the circulation of the blood.

    Reel 1. "A film prepared for the College of Physicians on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the publication of Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis 1628." The film attempts to reproduce dissections and experiments performed by William Harvey. Most of the intertitles are from Robert Willis's translation of Harvey's book.

    Still image of a painted portrait of William Harvey. C/U of his hands. Dissolve into the hands of a living person posing as Harvey. He takes a book from the table and flicks through it. It is the anatomy book mentioned earlier I presume. Intertitles look at the history of Galen's doctrines, these doctrines are illustrated by diagrams. The journey of blood from the stomach to the heart is illustrated by these diagrams. Harvey was dissatisfied with the works of his predecessors and proceeds to experiment.

    Auricular ejection is explored. C/Us of various kind of animals hearts beating. Pretty gory and revolting. C/U of a dissected frog whose heart is still beating. Extreme C/U of the heart. Part of the heart is moved. C/U of another heart beating. Tweezers are used to pick up part of the organ. Various C/Us of hearts moving. We see the action of the heart when an animal is dying. Intertitles explain what happens when the heart is cut and blood spurts out - shots are either missing or not there in the first place.

    The aneurysm is explored. C/U of what looks like a child lying down. A hand is placed on his chest to show how when pressure is applied a pulse appears in the boys neck. An artery is punctured to show how blood is forcibly propelled from the wound. Seen in disgusting C/U! The blood spurts out onto a piece of white paper. Another heart is punctured and blood spurts out.

    Reel 2. The passage of blood from the right to left ventricle is explored. Harvey examined the Septum to search for the pores spoken of by Galen - he finds that they do not exist. A large animal's heart is prodded then sliced in half. The spongy heart is squeezed and prodded. The film shows how blood passes through the lungs. C/U of another part of an animals heart which shows the pulmonary artery (?) A model shows ventricles and arteries. Liquid is poured into a pipe representing the pulmonary artery, then the right ventricle. When liquid poured into the right ventricle it comes back out throughout the pulmonary artery. We see the pulmonary valves in action. Fluid is forcibly injected fluid into a heart. This has result of distending the right ventricle and auricle but no drop of water or blood made its escape through the orifice in the left ventricle. A sack of fluid is pressed and water comes out of a pipe which has been attached (it could be a real heart). A large heart is labelled to show various parts. C/U of the heart, a man ties string around part of the heart and pulls it tight. The sack of water is attached and water is pumped into the heart. The ligatures are undone and the water in the bladder is now pushed towards the lungs. "upon which a torrent of the fluid mixed with a quantity of blood, immediately gushed forth from the perforation in the left ventricle." We see this in C/U.

    Harvey's next task was to see if there was a way that the blood would return to the right side of the heart. Film demonstrates continuous motion of blood. C/U of a man holding a heart. Liquid is poured into the heart then poured out into a measuring jug. We see contracted and dilated hearts. C/U of a snake's heart beating. Tweezers are used to stop blood passing through a vein. We then see what happens if the artery instead of the vein is tied. The heart becomes distended but returns to normal once the pressure is released. C/U of an aorta moving. Part of the organ is tied up and the heart struggles. Tweezers pull and prod the heart.

    Reel 3. Film illustrates how blood enters a limb by the arteries and returns from it by the veins. A ligature is tied tightly around a man's arm. The results on pulsing of the veins is shown. The bandage is slackened a little - the veins become knotted and distended. The arteries continue to send blood to the parts beyond the bandage.

    A severed dog's head is used to show how blood will pour out of the vain travelling away from the heart (I think!) A divided artery reacts differently. The artery is cut and blood spurts out. C/U of the pages of an anatomical book being turned.

    Venous valves are displayed firstly in an opened vein, then in action within a trans-illuminated vein. Various C/Us of heart valves. Piece of an animal's leg is used to demonstrate how difficult it is to pass probes through veins because of the valves. We see how blood can be removed from long veins of the forearm by holding the hand aloft. If part of the vein is compressed, we can see how the vein becomes distended. An arm is tied to show how knots appear in the veins, a finger is pressed against various parts of the vein to show passage of the blood.

    "Harvey completes his work and writes his immortal book." C/U of Harvey's book, pages are turned. Hands become once again the hands of William Harvey and we see again his portrait.

    Note: stock the neg is printed on is c1938 but Julian believes film dates from c1928.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:
    01:00:00:00 / 01:30:48:00

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment