New to VOD this week:
HILLEMAN: A PERILOUS QUEST TO SAVE THE WORLD’S CHILDREN
Donald Rayne Mitchell
American Documentary, New Hope
A profile of Dr Maurice Hilleman, credited with developing most childhood vaccines.
Mitchell’s film follows the now-familiar conventions of the unheralded hero profile – “the most important X the public has never heard of” – and in this case positions Hilleman as “the greatest scientist of the 20th century” for his pioneering work in eliminating many childhood diseases via vaccines. Responsible for the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, as well as those addressing a host of other diseases, from hepatitis B to the flu, there’s reason to recognize the microbiologist’s achievements in the same way that Salk and Sabin are celebrated for their polio vaccines. Mitchell constructs a fairly conventional, overly narrated biographical portrait more suited to PBS than to theatrical, drawing from archival material as well as more recent interviews with Hilleman before he passed away.