'Something Lord Made' a successful operation


May 30, 2004|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN STAFF

From The Tuskegee Airmen (1995), to Miss Evers' Boys (1997), no one has chronicled the African-American experience in made-for-TV movies better than HBO.

Something the Lord Made, a new HBO film about a white surgeon and a black lab technician who together pioneered heart surgery in the 1940s at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, continues that tradition with performances that are both forceful and nuanced, driven by a narrative that is as rich in texture as a novel, but moves as fast and true as a short story.

Building on the work of Alan Rickman as Dr. Alfred Blalock and Mos Def as Vivien Thomas, director Joseph Sargent creates the same vibrant sense of time and place for this Baltimore story as he did Alabama in the 1930s for the Emmy Award-winning Miss Evers' Boys. The result is history brought to life -- the past made to live, breathe and touch the heart.

A note on historical accuracy: After The Sun pointed out on May 18 that the film was inaccurate in saying that Thomas had received an honorary medical doctorate from Hopkins, the filmmakers have changed the film to eliminate that claim, according to a statement issued by HBO.

Something the Lord Made makes its premiere tonight at 9 on HBO.

To read an extended review of Something the Lord Made previously published in The Sun, go online to baltimoresun.com / lordmade.

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