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With two terrific leading performances, an absorbing and
thought-provoking story, and many well-conceived touches by Arthur Penn
and his production team, this classic version of "The Miracle Worker"
is an exceptional movie that appeals to the imagination and that has
much to say about humanity. The story itself is so good that even the
lesser remakes have been worth seeing, but there is really no reason at
all to look any further than this nearly flawless filming of the story.
As Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller, Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke could
not have been better. The battle of wills and wits between the two is
engrossing, becoming quite involved and very interesting. The lengthy
dining room struggle alone would make any movie worth watching - it is
worthwhile even beyond the interesting action itself, as it brings out
aspects of human nature and human learning that go beyond even Helen's
There is a great deal of substance to the movie that goes beyond the
immediate issues and confrontations, and a significant reason for the
greatness of the film is the way that Bancroft and Duke tap into the
imagination of the viewer. The concept of seeing an unseen world (and
the challenge of helping someone to see it) is brought out in ways that
are profound yet accessible.
The two leads carry almost the whole picture, as the other characters
are there primarily for Annie and Helen to play off of. Accordingly,
the supporting cast keep their characters more simple, and their
performances stylized and almost exaggerated, which allows Bancroft and
Duke to have most of the moments of significance. The production also
enhances the picture through simple but well-conceived settings, use of
lighting, and other features that nicely complement the main action.
It's always rather unfortunate that movies like this one, which take a
little effort to appreciate fully, are not given more attention. If you
stop to consider what Helen Keller had to face in life, it is a
situation far more terrifying than facing any of the cartoonish,
artificial movie villains that gain so much notoriety. And if you
consider the job that Annie Sullivan had to do, her accomplishment is
far more impressive and worthwhile than almost any scientific
discovery, feat of athletics, or military exploit.
That this movie is able to convey such themes makes it a memorable
classic that is much more worthwhile than many movies that have
received far more acclaim.
Tags for The Miracle Worker Full Movie
, Anne Bancroft
, Inga Swenson
, Victor Jory
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