The Miracle Worker
Directed by Arthur Penn
Written by William Gibson based on his play and the book by Helen Keller
Spectacular acting meets a powerful, inspirational story.
This is based on the true story of Helen Keller (Patty Duke), who, at nineteen months, was stricken by an illness that left her deaf and blind. Her doting family responded by letting her do what ever she wanted to, eventually resulting in an out-of-control “wild child”. The violence of Helen’s outbursts could no longer be tolerated. After much hesitation, the family sent for a teacher and Annie Sullivan (Anne Bancroft) came into their lives. Since Sullivan also had a visual impairment she could relate somewhat to Helen’s challenges.
Annie sensed an innate intelligence in her pupil and was determined that Helen would learn to behave, obey, and communicate. The early days of Helen’s education were accompanied by Helen’s violent physical attempts to resist obedience but Annie was persistent. The real miracle however came when Helen finally learned the relationship between objects and the words that label them. With Victor Jory as Helen’s father and Inga Swenson as her mother.
This movie is exhausting but so worth it! The acting is nothing short of mind-blowing. You will believe every second that Helen can neither see nor hear. The story is a real testament to the human spirit. Highly recommended.
Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke won the Oscars for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. The Miracle Worker was nominated in the categories of Best Director; Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium; and Best Costume Design, Black-and-White.