Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy birthday, Albert Schweitzer

As regular readers may remember, I like to honour the birthday of Albert Schweitzer on January 14 1875.  As it happens, this often falls just when I am teaching the class on Schweitzer in my Historical Jesus course. I am going to be talking about the great man and his legacy next Wednesday, when I hope to use a few clips from the web, which I will also blog here.

Since I last taught the course, in Spring 2009, there has been a fantastic addition to the number of online videos on Schweitzer, a complete online version of the 1956 documentary Albert Schweitzer.  (The date is usually given as 1957, but the film itself bears the date 1956).  The film earned an Academy Award for "Best documentary" in 1957.  Here is Part 1 of 8 over on Youtube:

The other seven parts are easy to find on Youtube -- links will appear alongside the video above. Also available is the German version of the same documentary, this time in glorious colour:

That's the first of eleven parts and again, the rest are easy to find.  If you prefer, you can catch the whole thing in good quality at IMDb / Hulu :

Next, there is a short one minute celebration of Schweitzer's life on

Third, a remarkable French piece featuring a fairly lengthy interview with Schweitzer (in French) from Video Docteur Albert Schweitzer. It is apparently from 1961 and the quality is very good.

At about eight minutes in, you can watch the eighty-six year old Schweitzer playing the piano. One delightful thing about this footage is that there is a lot of humour -- Schweitzer comes across as a warm, friendly and funny person. Watch all the way to the end to see him waving at the camera as it departs in a boat.

If you would like to see film of the younger Schweitzer, you will have to make do with a reconstruction. This short clip from the Young Indiana Jones features Schweitzer at the piano, while Indiana Jones surveys his books, including Paul and his Interpreters:

Here is a second clip from the same episode, with Schweitzer on a boat with Indiana:

Here is a third clip, on a boat talking about "reverence for life":

Here is a clip of Schweitzer receiving his honorary degree at Cambridge in 1955 from British Pathe News. Click on the picture to view:


And finally, also from British Pathe News, some footage of Schweitzer at home in Alsace, including writing and organ playing, from 1959:



Michael J. Gorman said...

Important for Jesus, yes, but also for Paul (let's not forget)!

CJ Schmidt said...

Thanks for the videos! As a enthusiastic fan of the Indiana Jones series (sans the Crystal Skull catastrophe), I am ashamed to admit that I never got too far into the Young Indy TV series. I'll have to find that episode in toto to watch.

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, Michael. Yes, absolutely. And the nice thing about the Indiana Jones video is that it does include his Paul book.

Thanks, CJ.

Matt Page said...

Did you know about the one from 2009 - a dramatisation of Schweitzer's life starring Jeroen Krabbe (Jesus [1999])in the lead role.

I blogged it a while back.


Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks for that reminder, Matt. I had forgotten about that. I'll definitely include that next time.