Adam Curtis- The Way Of All Flesh

[NB. Image quality improves after the first minute, stick with it]

Or higher quality watch/download @ The Internet Archive

At long last it has finally made its way to the World Wide Webular Tubes of the Internets!

Follows the story of the cells of Henriettta Lacks. She dies in 1951 of cancer, before she died cells were removed from her body and cultivated in a laboratory in the hope that they could help find a cure for cancer. The cells (known as the HeLa line) have been growing ever since, and the scientists found that they were growing in ways they could not control.

Also see Wikipedia on Henrietta Lacks.

And in order for this online debut of this rarely seen Curtis doco thanks must go to-

  • John Whiting (and check his KPFA site) who got this topic going when he provided The Living Dead.
  • To commenter Bill (sorry it took this long, the wait is over!) who tracked a VHS copy down to a lonely library shelf in Customs House Library, Sydney Australia.
  • So unto the World Wide Thingamy-Jig I appealed Hey Australia! And who should answer that call so selflessly and heroically? Non other than Anne of People’s Geography and the mighty PULSE. She undertook the crucial mission of borrowing the VHS tape and transferring it to DVD. Then after safely encasing the disc in a very nice plastic sleeve she AirMailed it to my oceanic lair c/o wild & windy secure undisclosed location.

And…that’s where it got a little bogged down. Sorry. I Handbraked it to a web video friendly format and uploaded to Google Video on Boxing Day! But…this version in the process of Google er, processing it, ended up with totally out of sync A/V, so I deleted it and set about recoding it (the bad sync was encoded using h.264 which I like but maybe GV didn’t, anyway old skool mpeg4 we go). Then Gaza got attacked and that took focus for the duration.

Then, some weeks later with a super new file to upload the sorry saga plods into another morass of disappointment…First off, did you know Google Video are discontinuing the service? Keeping the vids that are there, expanding the search engine functions but they will soon no longer provide a service to upload new content. Maybe that had something to do with the trouble. But a couple of weeks of faltering uploads, crashing uploader and I was set to go insane. One last try on another computer with another connection under a different ISP, while simultaneously sending it up to the Internet Archive via another line and would you know it? They both worked. Proviso- the Google vid has some terrible resolution/artifact issues at first but they soon resolve themselves so don’t worry keep with it. Internet Archive has the highest quality version plus you can download it (also rather than use the Google Video option for iPods I would use the Internet Archive versions, but that’s just me). Also if an enterprising soul wants a DVD version to torrent, then get in touch (HAL top left) and something can be arranged!

[And a final note on copyright, this film is not available commercially, nor is it likely it will be, so this is not taking away from someone’s income. This is posted not to make money, but because knowledge should be shared. It was made by the BBC so as a UK citizen and occasional licence fee payer I have in fact part paid for this. And after the BBC’s stance on Gaza, they owe the world back anyway!]


10 Responses to “Adam Curtis- The Way Of All Flesh”

  1. pete Says:

    cheers mate & many thanks to John W., Bill and Anne

  2. dan Says:


    “25 Million Pounds”, the Curtis documentary about Nick Leeson, has also recently made it onto torrent sites (it’s definitely on

  3. ralfast Says:

    Yet cervical cancer, which killed Henrietta is in fact based on a virus, which now has a vaccine. The twists and turns of life and science.

  4. RickB Says:

    Pete- also should add AB for use of a another laptop!

    Dan- Thanks for the info, the web is bountiful indeed!

    Rafael- and indeed all 12-13 girls here in Wales get the imuno jab if they want it. No god botherers have yet derailed it.

  5. Bill Says:

    Hi, thanks for the video. I found someone selling videos of “Inquiry: The Great British Housing Disaster” (1984), another one by Adam Curtis. Maybe you could buy it and put it on the web
    He says he has 7 copies.

  6. RickB Says:

    Bill! It’s ok I have it, I will get it up sometime this month.

  7. freddybobs68k Says:

    Thanks for making this documentary available. It was very interesting. I really enjoy all Adam Curtis work. Informative and in an entertaining way. He also seems to cover material that nobody else seems to cover in any depth.

    If somehow you can get 25 Million Pounds and/or The Great British Housing Disaster available that would be great.

  8. AB Says:

    You’re welcome.

  9. RickB Says:

    freddybobs68k- I have The Great British Housing Disaster so will put up soon.
    AB- Tar!

  10. John Whiting, London Says:

    25 Million Pounds is a Cassandra-like searchlike into the future that has become our nightmare present, in which 25 mil seems like such a piddling sum.

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