All right, we are entering day whatever of lockdown, thanks to the C. virus. And with movie theaters pulling the plug on popcorn machines across our fair land, Joe Morgenstern advises gifting ourselves a subscription to the Criterion Channel, “a rich resource for American and international classics.”
Mr. Morgenstern reviews a number of contagion-based films in the WSJ that will never hit my “next to see” list. But as we hunker down at home, he suggests readers consider watching “The Story of Louis Pasteur” (streaming on Amazon), made in 1936.
“The Story of Louis Pasteur”
It still serves as a model, albeit an agreeably old-fashioned one, of how much accurate information a film can convey in a conventional dramatic form. Paul Muni plays the 19th-century French biologist with taut intensity. Pasteur created the first vaccines for anthrax and rabies, but one scene toward the end carries a special message for our time.
Pasteur’s daughter is about to give birth and the great man demands that her obstetrician sterilize his instruments and, an equally radical thought, wash his hands. The physician scoffs—“See here, I’ve brought hundreds of babies into the world”—but Pasteur perseveres. “Wash them to the elbows,” he insists, then: “Don’t be afraid. Use the brush! The brush! The brush!”
P.S. In the Age of Coronavirus: a Homemade Throat Sanitizer.
P.P.S. If you can’t find hand-sanitizer, you can make your own.