Why hasn't there been a Hollywood film about Typhoid Mary?

Why hasn’t there been a Hollywood film about Mary Mallon a.k.a Typhoid Mary? I know there was a well-received dramatised doco about her in 1993, but to me the story cries out for a compelling, intelligent historical drama? I mean, plot-wise, it has the works, intersecting with class, gender, race, public health, you name it. I’m surprised no-one has had a full-on crack at it.

A rather fictionalized version of her forms a minor subplot in the first season of HBO’s The Knick. I’m guessing a big-screen treatment isn’t likely because the real Mallon was kind of a bitch, undercutting any sympathy for her an audience might feel.

Yeah, and Hollywood has never, in their entire history, sanitized a historical character’s personality or actions.

She is the villain of the story. George Soper is the hero.

There have been plenty of movies where the protagonist has been an awful person.

She is in an episode of the short lived series Brimstone as one of the souls who escaped from Hell. They did try to make us feel a little sympathy for her for being locked up all alone.

Not sure they could make her lovable but it seems like there could be a good story about her.

Hollywood hasn’t made a movie about Typhoid Mary because they haven’t figured out how to work car chases, martial arts, and explosions into the story. Yet.

And there are movies where the audience is allowed some empathy for the villain. My point, though, is that the story works better with Mary as antagonist.

Or sex scenes. :stuck_out_tongue:

Because most of the story is basically about people coming down with typhoid?

Miserable, scary and boring. Not particularly box-office.

Well, according to wikipedia:

It goes on to say that she didn’t see why she should bother with hand-washing when she wasn’t sick. Not an appetizing sort of story.

I’m with Harry: this thing ought to write itself. It’s got mystery, tension, human drama, politics, sexuality – what more do you want?

New York, 1906: families are dying, and the authorities are at a loss. In desperation, one family hires rogue typhoid specialist George Soper to track down the source of infection. With lives on the line, can he identify the elusive vector in time? Does the talented but mysterious Dr Sara Baker hold the key where the law is powerless?

“Baker, meet your new partner”

“I work alone, Chief, you know that!”

“Not this time, Sara – this is big, and we’re running out of time.”

“Soper’s a loose cannon!”

“He’s the best chance we’ve got to find this woman – but we need you to bring her in.”

If they used artistic licence to make her Syphilis Mary…

Because no one has come out of a pitch meeting with a deal when they mention a movie is about public health. Unless it is about zombies.

Since it is a period piece it would not be cheap. I don’t see it being compelling enough to make money.

I like to think of Cat People as being loosely based on the story of Typhoid Mary.

I see this as kind of a reboot of Outbreak. Replace the infected monkey with, say, Rene Zelwegger, and you’re practically there.

Panic in the Streets. Dick Widmark, Jack Palance, Zero Mostel, Barbara Bel Geddes. Pretty good movie. Dick is the heroic health inspector. A generally similar type of movie could be made about Typhoid Mary: 2nd tier (at the time) stars and a limited budget. Nothing in the Typhoid Mary story requires any expensive special effects. Doing it as a period piece would require appropriate costumes and sets, of course.

Typhoid Mary sounds like a PBS topic. * American Experience*?

Ibsen did it back in 1882. An Enemy of the People. Steve McQueen was in the movie.

Not American Experience, **Nova.