Miracles Do Come True!
The Miracle Worker (1962)
A Review By Ben Hunter
5 Out Of 5 Stars
GET TO THE POINT BEN!
Do yourself a favor and watch this film to remind yourself that miracles do come true!
Alabama, 1880, The Keller Family is happy to welcome their new daughter into the world. They cheer, they become excited, yet they realize throughout all of this commotion that the baby doesn’t react. Captain Keller claps and yells and tries to get his new daughter to react, his wife is distraught and helpless on the floor in complete agony. For their daughter has scarlet fever. This is Helen Keller (Patty Duke).
Helen is blind and deaf. She becomes frustrated with this fact and is subject to frequent, violent outbursts to which her family looses their patience. The Kellers are at their wits end and don’t know what to do. They decide to contact the Perkins School for the Blind who send a tutor to work with the child and help ease the family. This is Anne Sullivan (Anne Bancroft).
This is the story of Anne & Helen and how the battle of wills ensues as Anne embarks on her greatest voyage to teach Helen table manners, sign language and communication for once with society, and overall civility as a respectful human being. Boy oh boy, does this battle change the both of them!
I remember watching this as apart of my curriculum in middle school and just being entranced with the scenes, unable to look away, forgetting where and who I was, especially by the dinning room scene. Re-watching the film as an adult and learning about the production notes as a film lover, especially with this dinning room scene, I’m just in awe of how aspiring and prodigious this film is having this effect on society over the decades, spawning remakes, going back to the theater where it originated on multiple occasions, and earning the original film’s stars Academy Awards.
I loved the intensity of the leads. Bancroft & Duke “took it there” as actors. Duke was only 15 at the time and was the perfect match for professional Bancroft who both had just finished the play itself on Broadway. This intensity was conveyed in both energetic and subtle ways as the objectives of the characters were clearly manifested in each scene. When the Keller’s decide to turn over their daughter to Anne in complete discretion and fortitude, the intensity of forceful energy brilliantly swifts into an intensity of exquisite and faint, subtle energy as Anne deviously gains back the credence of her abilities and overall objectives with Helen. The film is engulfed with moments like this that make it impossible to want to stop the experience. It’s over before you know it.
Writer William Gibson who also created the Broadway production based on the real story of Helen Keller, with the help of director Arthur Penn, truly brings this story to life.
A story that will have you believing in miracles, whole-heartedly!
The Miracle Worker
Drama, 106 Minutes, Not Rated
Based on the book “The Story of My Life” by: Helen Keller
Screenplay by: William Gibson, based on his play
Directed by: Arthur Penn
Cast: Anne Bancroft, Patty Duke, Victor Jury, Igna Swenson, Andrew Pine, Kathleen Comegys