City of Hope (film #324 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]

This very bombastically-narrated 30s film tells us all about the City of Hope, a huge tuberculosis sanatorium. It brings back the days when TB was a dread disease that baffled doctors and whose treatment usually involved long months of convalescence at a sanatorium in a remote area with “fresh air.” Such sanatoriums bit the dust when antibiotics were invented that cured TB. It’s a fascinating little piece of history, though, making this film pretty interesting. The bombastic narration makes it unintentionally funny in spots, especially the scene where the first sanatorium, which was literally a couple of tents, blows over in a windstorm. Mostly, though, this is about the many families and organizations who gave sizable donations to the City of Hope and had buildings named after them. Of course, it’s designed to get audience members to give till it hurts, as the narrator keeps reiterating that there is a long waiting list of patients trying to get into the sanatorium, and they need more money to build more buildings so that waiting list can be eliminated. A fun little piece of medical history.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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