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Breaking The Mould - The Story of Penicillin [DVD] [2009]

3.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Dominic West, Denis Lawson, Oliver Dimsdale, John Sessions
  • Directors: Peter Hoar
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Digital Classics
  • DVD Release Date: 29 Mar. 2010
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002XT38IM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,944 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

September 1943. Portland House, England. A meeting of scientists, government officials and pharmaceutical companies come to an agreement that will transform medicine forever: a new life saving drug, penicillin, is to be manufactured. As the attendees step out into the street, the crowded ranks of photographers and journalists converge on Alexander Fleming (Denis Lawson, Star Wars); eager for a quote from the hero of the hour, the man they believe discovered penicillin. As Fleming talks, another scientist, Howard Florey (Dominic West, The Wire), stands unnoticed in the background. Breaking the Mould tells the story behind the discovery of penicillin and the forgotten people involved. A revealing, poignant and witty character driven account of a scientific miracle.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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Excellent film telling the story about the struggle and heart-ache in developing penicillin and working in the toughest of conditions, with a superb cast. Scrabbling what little equipment they could (broken bed-pans notwithstanding) and fighting for funds to research and test the painstaking process of develping the precious culture, Florey and his team were nothing short of heroes. Then along comes Fleming to take all the credit, and the US team patent the drug and charge the British team for royalties, while the government saw it as part of the war effort (save British, not enemy lives etc). Florey and his scientists put medicine and patients before their own personal gain, eventually rightly rewarded in sharing a Nobel prize with Fleming. We watched this with our 9 and 6-year olds and we all loved it. Makes you think how vulnerable we are without the advancement of properly-resourced medical research and how we should respect anti-biotics a bit more when you see the kinds of infections people were dying of, and the efforts that went into making distribution possible.
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This was an enthalling story and quite enlightening. However, it again showed how greed takes over and those who actually did all the work got very little credit for it. At the end of the movie, it did report on those who were represented in the film and what happened to them and the honours or awards that some of them actually received many years after the event.

This film takes the history of penicillin from the first discovery to the finished product and the ways the various workers constructed the equipment to produce it.
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This back story about Howard Florey, Norman Heatly and Ernst Chain was beautifully told. We all know about Alexander Fleming but it was great to see the real hard work that Florey, Heatly and Chain carried out to extract penicillin and ensure it was safe for human use. To see the innovative ways that Heatly used to extract the penicillin I found very interesting - especially as it gave Joe Armstrong lots of well-deserved screen time!
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I bought this to help with my GCSE revision on the development of penicillin, but after watching it once and making notes on the events, I just kept watching it again and again and again until I knew the story inside out!
It made my revision really really enjoyable and definitely paid off, got an A* in the exam.
Even though I'm well past GCSEs now, I still put it on now and again!
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This is an excellent docu-drama that captures the intelligence of the people making this amazing discovery BUT the difficulty to get backing. Eventually a US company backs these brilliant British doctors!
Worth watching, but not visual scenes showing the nature of infections at its worst.
DOCTORS will love this as a gift !
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