Cinema's Sinister Psychiatrists: From Caligari to Hannibal

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McFarland, Sep 5, 2012 - Performing Arts - 256 pages
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Film history is merged with psychiatric history seamlessly, to show how and why bad depictions of mind doctors (especially hypnotists) occur in early film, long before Hannibal Lecter burst upon the scene. The German Expressionist Dr. Caligari is not cinema's first psychotic charlatan, but he launches the stereotype of screen psychiatrists who are sicker than their patients. Many film psychiatrists function as political metaphors, while many more reflect real life clinical controversies. This book discusses films with diabolical drugging, unethical experimentation, involuntary incarceration, sexual exploitation, lobotomies, "shock schlock," conspiracy theories and military medicine, to show how fact informs fantasy, and when fantasy trumps reality. Traditional asylum thrillers changed after hospital stays shortened and laws protected people against involuntary commitment. Except for six short "golden years" from 1957 to 1963, portrayals of bad psychiatrists far outnumber good ones and this book tells how and why that was.
  

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Contents

Preface
1
From Caligari to Hannibal the Cannibal
4
1 Mad Military Mind Docs
22
Helping Hand or Evil Eye
38
3 Sweet and Sour Dreams
60
4 Spirit Possession and Supernatural Psychiatrists
75
5 Sex Seduction and the Couch Cure
92
6 The NotSoGentle Gender
109
9 Diabolical Drugging and Other Deceptions
149
10 Unethical Experimentation
163
11 In Control or in Cahoots
180
12 Madhouse Movies Involuntary Incarceration and Managed Care
199
Evil Sorcerers Mad Scientists and Sinister Psychiatrists
215
Filmography
219
Chapter Notes
223
Bibliography
227

7 Shock Schlock
120
8 Lobotomies and the Like
133

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About the author (2012)

Sharon Packer, M.D., is a New York City psychiatrist who is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

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