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Articles & Essays

Jack has written more than 500 articles and essays for The Atlantic, Scientific American Mind, Wired, American Heritage, The History Channel Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, and many other publications.

Read his articles and essays here.

Jack El-Hai's Books
  • The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness
    The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness
  • Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines
    Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines
  • Lost Minnesota: Stories of Vanished Places
    Lost Minnesota: Stories of Vanished Places
  • The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII
    The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII
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Entries in films psychiatry (1)

Wednesday
Nov282012

Titicut Follies: A Notorious Documentary

Several years ago I finally got the chance to watch a documentary that had been in my thoughts for a long time. It was Titicut Follies, which the renowned filmmaker Frederick Wiseman shot in Bridgewater State Hospital in Massachusetts in 1967. 

I had heard that Titicut Follies included gruesome and horrifying scenes of the abuse of mentally ill patients — and it certainly does — but the film sticks in the viewer's mind more for showing how patients and staff in this hospital were trapped together in a system of psychiatric care that benefited few and brought misery to all.

I recently wrote a post about the history of Titicut Follies as a contributor to the Wonders & Marvels history blog. Please check it out, and feel free to leave a comment (here or there) about your favorite films that tackle the topic of the treatment of the mentally ill.

Below: Film critic Cole Smithey gives a good introduction to Titicut Follies.