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January 27, 1975

TV Film "Primates"

Author Affiliations

Executive Director, National Society for Medical Research Washington, DC

JAMA. 1975;231(4):392. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240160056028

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National Educational Television aired a film Thursday, Dec 5, 1974, that may have very serious effects on public attitudes toward animal experimentation. The film, produced by Frederick Wiseman, was referred to as a "documentary." However, Wiseman in his production refuses to append a commentary to the scenes he records to describe what is being shown.

Wiseman has produced a number of controversial films. His first was titled the "Titicut Follies" and was filmed at the Massachusetts State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. He has also produced others such as "High School," "Law and Order," and "Juvenile Court." One of his films, a study of a religious community titled "Essene," was criticized because it was difficult to follow due to a lack of commentary. This also happened with "Primates," and since the public lacks an understanding of scientific methods, most were left with sad impressions.

Placing of electrodes in the brain;