It’s almost a year since it was announced that nonfiction book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was to be made into a movie. Oprah Winfrey was soon announced as star and producer and production started back in September. And now, we have the first trailer, and a release date for the movie and it looks like it’s going to be fantastic!
The movie is based on the 2010 nonfiction works by American author Rebecca Skloot. The book looks at the immortal ‘HeLa’ cell line that came from Henrietta Lacks cervical cancer in 1951 and tackles ethical issues of race and class in medical research.
The movie is set to air on 22nd April so if you haven’t yet read the book there is still time to do so. Here’s that first trailer:
Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman who was the progenitor of the HeLa cell line, one of the most important findings in medical research ever discovered. However, Lacks wasn’t aware that she was the donor of these cells, taken from a cancerous tumour on her cervix at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland in 1951.
It would take until the late 1990s and long after Lacks death until she would receive any recognition for the contribution to science and her story would be fully known.
One day in 1961 a little boy of 7 years old walked into her library, asking if he could join. Of course Connie helped the lad, gave him his first library card, and enabled him to cultivate his love of reading. Despite it being so long ago, Connie never forgot that young man as he had a pretty memorable name: “Denzel Hayes Washington Jr”, and that little boy grew up to be a world famous, award-winning actor, director, and producer.
During a stint in the services in the 1930s and 40s, Milligan allegedly entertained the troops with his humour and playful nature, and reflected on his times there in his memoirs, Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall, Rommel, Gunner Who?, Monty: My Part in his Victory, among others.
He is perhaps best known for his part in The Goon Show, an irreverent radio comedy full of nonsense and jollity, but many of us know his nonsense rhyme and poetry we were entertained with as children.
One of his most famous short poems, On The Ning Nang Nong, was voted the ultimate favourite comic poem in 1998 in a UK wide poll. It was streets ahead of other nonsense poets such as Lear or Carroll. When set to music it became a favourite on Australia’s children’s show Playschool. The Office for Standards in Education (UK) reported that the poem is one of the most commonly taught poems in British primary schools.
Take a look at the man himself reading the famous rhyme below and see why…
I adore his silky smooth voice, and wonderfully English manner, so I was thrilled when I came across his reading of an excerpt of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.
The Folio Society provides such lusciously illustrated versions of popular books: The Canterbury Tales was wonderfully crafted by illustrator Eric Gill, and boasts many sumptuous designs to feast our eyes upon. The price tag is quite steep at nearly £400, but other versions are available (see links under the video).
We can see the stunning, unique collector’s edition, read by Simon Callow, in the video below.