A Review of Albert Schweitzer Video

Here is my review of the film Albert Schweitzer, which won the 1958 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. See The Albert Schweitzer Page for reviews of books by and about Dr. Schweitzer and related information.

Albert Schweitzer

Produced and Directed By:  Jerome Hill
Written By:  Thomas Bruce Morgan
Cinematography By:  Erica Anderson
Narrated By:  Fredric March and Burgess Meredith

VHS Video Version
Black and White, 80 minutes

ISBN 1-55739-750-3
Purchased from: VCI Home Video, Tulsa, Oklahoma
                918-254-6337, 800-331-4077, www.vcihomevideo.com
                $14.99 + $5 shipping

This film is a documentary in the old tradition. It gives the story of Dr. Schweitzer's life, using scenes filmed at Lambarene and in Schweitzer's hometown of Gunsbach, Alsace. Much of the narration (which was spoken by Schweitzer himself in the German version) was taken from Schweitzer's published writings.

Most of the first half of the film describes Schweitzer's childhood and youth in Gunsbach, using still pictures and re-enacted scenes (with Schweitzer's grandson playing the young Albert). For me this was the most moving part of the film, because it shows a boy from a long-disappeared way of life facing childhood questions and troubles common to all times. Peer pressure, school and parent expectations, the place of nature, God's role in the world; would that we all dealt with these as well as the young Schweitzer.

The second half of the film shows the elderly Schweitzer working at his hospital at Lambarene. The film reveals a strong Christian emphasis often downplayed in other accounts. It shows the day-to-day activity at the hospital, where patients' emotional and social needs were given more weight than they are at more modern hospitals. The leper community at Lambarene is given particular emphasis in the film.

I quite enjoyed this film. Filmed in the 1950s, it is not always entirely politically correct in its wording, but there is nothing which should give serious offense to modern sensibilities. The extensive footage of Schweitzer going about his business is particularly gratifying to a longtime Schweitzer fan such as myself, but this film is also an excellent introduction to Schweitzer's life. I recommend it for Sunday School classes or anyone interested in Schweitzer.

Click here to return to the Albert Schweitzer Page.