After being put back from January, the fantastic documentary on Walter Freeman and the rise and fall of the frontal lobotomy is finally available to view online.
Unfortunately, it’s been cut up into little chunks and is only available as a Quicktime or Windows Media stream, which makes it a pain to watch and completely inaccessible to anyone not using Windows or Mac.
Needless to say, a better quality version is available on some torrent servers as a sensibly packaged video file and the healthiest torrent seems to be this one.
It’s a fantastically well-researched and balanced documentary, looking at the history of the procedure, Freeman’s over-identification with the operation and its abandonment as the problems became clear.
The tale is tragic for many reasons, not least of which is Freeman’s flawed personality and unwillingness to admit that the lobotomy was not the miracle cure he initially claimed.
There’s plenty more background information on the programme website and the Neurophilosophy article on the history of the procedure has some more details.