2016 Blind Spot Series: The Miracle Worker


What I knew going in: The story (Which I think everyone knows) and that of all the film adaptations, this one is considered the best.

Captain Keller (Victor Jory) wants to have his blind, deaf, and mute daughter Helen (Patty Duke) institutionalized as she grows harder and harder to control as she gets older. His wife Kate (Inga Swenson) begs him not to, and instead they hire a woman named Annie Sullivan (Ann Bancroft) to teach her to communicate. However the Kellers aren't accustomed to Annie's harsh teaching tactics and refuse to admit any faults of their own. 

I had seen the Lifetime version with Hallie Kate Eisenberg as Helen, and now after watching this, I feel I can finally understand how terrible that one is in comparison. Everything looked far too polished. Bancroft and Duke are outstanding in their roles. Duke never for one second looks like she's acting. She's so convincing in her eyes, they're never focused on anything. Bancroft also makes us feel about a fraction of what the real Annie must have felt. Watching this film can sometimes be frustrating, especially seeing Annie try so hard to get through to Helen. You wish you could speed up the process for them.

The film did have some downsides. The acting aside from Duke and Bancroft ranges from terrible (Jory) to just okay. (Swenson) They don't match the greatness of the leads. The film is very well shot and staged. The black and white feels even more washed out than normal, like it's capturing the bleakness of the situation. I case could be made for Duke being far too old to play Helen, though I didn't mind. I'm not sure if they could've found a better one. 

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "The room is a wreck, but her napkin is folded." - Annie (Anne Bancroft)

12 comments:

  1. I love this film because of the 2 leads. The napkin folding scene is brilliant and it shows how spoiled she actually was. To think how far Helen Keller achieved is mind boggling considering so many spoiled kids now don't even leave their parent's home but, then again, they are spoiled. The ending becomes that much more amazing when you have gone through the whole film. Actually there was a TV movie with Patty Duke in the Anne Sullivan role and Melissa Gilbert in the Helen Keller role which was pretty good

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    1. What she achieved is nothing short of amazing. I like that the napkin scene showed how clever Helen was too, how she thought of different directions to run to get away from Annie.

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  2. This is the only version of the story I have ever seen, and it sounds like I should probably keep it that way. All I really remember about this one (in a college film class) is thinking that Keller was a real a-hole.

    Shockingly, I didn't have a girlfriend at the time. Hmm. I guess the ladies didn't like huge bastards or something.

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    1. lol I mean, why not be an asshole in that situation? I can't imagine what that would be like.

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    2. I was thinking, lady, chill the f--k out. She's trying to help you. You don't have to be a dick about it.

      (and ten years later...I was a teacher? Odd.)

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    3. I wish I would've had you as a teacher lol.

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  3. omg i loooove this movie. And honestly, it's all about the two lead performances. they are incredible!

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  4. Okay, I'm going to hide and never come out because not only I didn't know this film's story, but I haven't even heard about the film. But it sounds great. I'll check it out.

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    1. Oh my God, really? I suppose it could be known in English speaking countries only? I never considered that lol. Anyways, if you check it out, I hope you enjoy it.

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  5. I saw this as a kid after my class read the book. I remember liking it, but not really much else. I should probably revisit it.

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    1. I wish I would've gotten to see this in school. Anything over The Scarlet Letter.

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