Hemo The Magnificent (1957)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 3/18/07
Director: Frank Capra
Cast: Richard Carlson, Dr. Frank Baxter, Sterling Holloway

Another time-honored classic in the Bell Science series by Frank Capra, this time focusing on the human circulatory system. The Fiction Writer (Richard Carlson) dreams up Hemo, a Greek poet who personifies blood, while Dr. Research (Dr. Frank Baxter) counters his philosophy with scientific explanations for how the human body works. The antagonistic relationship between the humans and the cartoon constructs is very similar to the earlier "Our Mr. Sun" (1956), and contributes greatly to the overall enjoyment of the show. The heart and circulatory system are clearly explained using cute and clever animations, and everyday analogies. While some of the live footage of beating hearts can be disturbing and distressing, the cartoon characters try to take the edge off by reacting with eager fascination to their bodies and how they work. In a bizarre attempt to inject more humor into the series, we're introduced to Jim (Sterling Holloway), the creepy and disheveled man behind the movie screen. His cameos are awkward and unfunny at best. Again, the strong religious undertones make the show hard to stomach these days, and the fact that Richard Carlson smokes during the program is shocking. Still, it's a great film with fun characters and lots of amazing facts.