The Road to Wellville is Norbert’s second film with Alan Parker as the director. The first was Midnight Express.The Road to Wellville is available from Amazon and other retailers. This movie is based on the book of the same name by T. Coraghessan Boyle.Director: Alan ParkerEx Producers: Marc Abraham, Tom RosenbergProducers: Alan Parker, Arnyan Bernstein, Robert F. Colesberry
So what can I say about the incredibly gifted hands of Dr. Spitzvogel in this 1994 movie that is a parody of the early health crazes in the beginning of the 20th century? Norbert plays a doctor specializing in, how shall I say -- "therapeutic massage to relieve tension in women" as they actually used to call it. (This is actually a former medical profession that is no longer being practised.) The movie centers around real-life Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (played by Anthony Hopkins) who runs an up-scale health facility in Battle Creek, Michigan, and touts the benefits of vegetarianism, exercise and laughing to purge the polluted body. He believes sex drains the body of vital fluids and energy, and he ensures that husbands and wives are kept separate during their stay. Of course, the women find a way around being neglected, and joyfully end up in the talented hands of Dr. Spitzvogel, who hasa women’s massage practice set up away from Kellogg's health facility. Dr. Spitzvogel sings a beautiful song to Eleanor Lightbody (Bridget Fonda) as he massages her tensions away -- Der Lindenbaum, a poem by Wilhelm Muller about the linden tree. The poem was set to music by Schubert 1827.
The health sanatorium operated by Dr. Kellog was real and was quite popular in the early 1900’s. Upper-class men and women came annually from around the world to stay at his clinic, sometimes for several weeks out of each year.The medical practice of dedicated massage clinics for women died out in the early 1920’s. There were limited doctors in the U.S. that had these types of clinics, however, they were widely popular throughout Europe during the 1800’s and early 1900’s, especially in Great Britain, Germany and France.
Norbert is seen here with co-stars Camryn Manheim and Bridget Fonda