The Miracle Worker
Directed by Arthur Penn. US. 1962. NR. 106 minutes. MGM. 35mm.
Sun., April 22, 2012
One might, at first, assume that a biographical film about the education of deaf, mute and blind Helen Keller might be a study in mawkish sentimentality. To the contrary, it is a tough, thought-provoking and often unsettlingly honest story of two very strong personalities, clashing and ultimately overcoming incredible odds. Oscars went to both Patty Duke (as Keller) and Anne Bancroft (as her teacher, Annie Sullivan) for their exceptionally powerful performances, in this recreation of their Broadway success. (NOTE: For this film production of William Gibsons award winning play, United Artists had wanted to replace Bancroft with a more bankable star, but director Arthur Penn insisted on Bancroft, thus bringing her not only commendations for this fine film, but also a long and distinguished Hollywood career.) (Bill Roth)