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November 1982

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in the Cinema

Author Affiliations

500 Osgoode Dr, Unit 96 London, Ontario Canada N6E 2G9

Arch Neurol. 1982;39(11):738. doi:10.1001/archneur.1982.00510230064024

To the Editor.—  Recently, there has arisen an interest in the portrayal of diseases in literature, painting,1 and other fine arts. I wish to report a rather detailed description of apparent right temporal lobe seizures in a mid-1940s movie."Stairway to Heaven" (starring David Niven and produced by Powell/Pressburger) was released in North America in 1946. This British comedy has been called one of the truly bad good movies. The motive was a plea for tolerance, and the story was that of a British pilot "supposed" to have died, who fell in love with an American Waf and gained extra time from heaven to spend on earth with her.This movie is of medical interest because of a second story line with rather sophisticated medical descriptions. The pilot (Niven) had had a history of head trauma with a concussion. Before his "death," he complained of right frontotemporal headaches. Whenever

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