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Miracle Worker,The

Patty Duke , Melissa Gilbert , Paul Aaron    G (General Audience)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 14.95
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Miracle Worker,The + The Miracle Worker + The Miracle Worker (Miracle en Alabama)
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Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft had been playing their respective roles as Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, on Broadway for some time before director Arthur Penn (The Left-Handed Gun) built a mesmerizingly beautiful film around their layers-deep performances. Duke is astonishing as the deaf, blind, mute Keller, who awakens to an awareness of language under Sullivan's determined guidance. Bancroft is fascinating and focused. Penn wisely kept his adaptation unencumbered by cinematic indulgence. The black-and-white film is sparse and charged with the immediacy of the drama. The script is by William Gibson, who also wrote the original play. --Tom Keogh

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent film for the whole family April 11 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a very good film about the special relationship between young Hellen Keller and her dedicated teacher Annie Sullivan. It's a film everyone can enjoy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  92 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
By DEWEY M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
In her 1987 autobiography "Call Me Anna," Patty Duke writes that, while portraying Helen Keller in the original Broadway production of "The Miracle Worker", she dreamed of playing the role of Helen's determined teacher Annie Sullivan. Seventeen years after she won an Academy Award as Helen opposite Anne Bancroft as Annie in Arthur Penn's brilliant 1962 film version, her dream of playing Annie finally came true. This is the rare TV production that nearly equals the power of the original; in large part due to Duke's extraordinary, intense performance. Melissa Gilbert, then the 14 year old star of the TV series "Little House On The Prarie", has a more difficult time as blind and deaf Helen Keller. Gilbert's performance is certainly admirable. It just misses, by a small margin, the ferocious quality the role of Helen requires.
Duke writes, "As you can imagine, everything about doing that play the second time around carried a terrific emotional charge for me...the years of wishing to play it, wishing to have that stature, the years of screwing up my life, and then this great gift, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, this moment of forgiveness for my transgressions. I thought I would die." Her dream role of Annie Sullivan resulted in an extremely well deserved Emmy Award; the perfect compliment to the Academy Award she received for her earlier performance as Helen. "I have to confess," Duke writes, "the Emmy I won for "The Miracle Worker" is my favorite acting honor.
In the original film, Inga Swenson and Victor Jory give overwrought performances as Helen's parents. Diana Muldair and Charles Seibert are more solid in this version. In contrast to Helen's parents, Annie does not feel any pity for Helen. "Pity? For this tyrant? The whole house turns on her whims," she says. "Is there anything she wants she doesn't get?...I pity that the sun won't rise and set for her every morning and you're telling her it will." Instead of pity, Annie recognizes Helen's hidden human potential and does not see her as impaired or "disabled" in any way. When Helen's mother asks if it is possible to teach an "impaired" child, Annie replies, "Oh, there's nothing impaired in that head. It works like a mouse-trap." During a later, heated exchange with Helen's father, Annie declares, "I treat her as a sighted child because I ask her to see... I expect her to see!" Indeed, Annie asks Helen to reach beyond any perceived limitations.
This worthwhile TV production does have a few flaws, which Patty Duke objectively acknowledged: "it's inescapable that {the TV production] wasn't as powerful as [the original film version]...the choreography of the production was in general lacking in intensity," she writes. The TV production also loses some dramatic intensity because it is in color, and "The Miracle Worker" is much better suited to black and white; like the original 1962 film. Still, there's plenty of emotional power in William Gibson's strong script, and when the battle of wills between Annie and Helen finally results in an amazing triumph, there won't be a dry eye in the audience.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the 1979 Version and it's Just as Good as the 1962 Version! Jan. 30 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
This is the 1979 made for television remake of the 1962 theatrical movie The Miracle worker, in that movie Patty Duke played Helen Keller and Anne Bancroft played her teacher Annie Sullivan but in this remake Helen keller is played by Melissa Gilbert and Patty Duke played Annie Sullivan. I saw this remake before I saw the original and I liked it and think that both Patty Duke and Melissa Gilbert were very good and this is a very inspirational, heartwarming story. The Miracle Worker is based on the real story of Helen Keller who was left, deaf, blind and mute when she had gotten sick when she was a baby. Annie Sullivan is the teacher who trys to teach Helen how to be able to communicate in a world that she doesn't understand. The original movie is very good too and there is another remake that stars Hallie Kate Eisenberg as Helen Keller but I haven't seen that version yet.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and well performed April 22 2004
By Robert A. Bowers - Published on Amazon.com
I teach this play so I have seen both this version and the 1962 version many times. I must say that I think the "62 version is better in many respects. The performances of the leads in that version truly set the mark for this play and probably couldn't be equaled by anyone else. In the remake, the performances are not quite as good although they are certainly first class performers doing excellent work. What makes this verion better for classroom use, is the color photography and the settings. Those not used to black and white, as my students are not, tend to find the '62 version slightly depressing. I remember when this verion was first televised the marketing factor was Patty Duke and the role reversal for this version. She is an excellent actress and is very good as Annie. The actors playing Mrs. Keller and James are also good, but I find the actor playing Captain Keller far less forceful than Victor Jory in the "62 version. I haven't seen the most recent version so I can't say how that compares to either. I wish this would come out on DVD, my VHS copy won't live much longer!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the 1st...? For some...but not for all. Nov. 23 2007
By Anthony L. Ochoa - Published on Amazon.com
In short...I too have seen this 1979 "Made-For-Television" classic. Funny though, by 1979, I had only seen the original '61 Bancroft/Duke classic, just bits & pieces, a time or two. So the storyline, plot, theme & "modern" production of the newer Duke/Gilbert version, really struck a chord within me...like many, in that time, I trust. Nothing can take the place of that art filmish-like masterpiece from writer William Gibson & director Arthur Penn, but Duke having such a pivotal role in BOTH films...helps make this re-make a "modern-day" classic as well. The only BIG problem? As of late 2007...a day when those are moving into movie-downloads and viewing them on portable, miniature camera/phone micro-devices...still NO DVD ever released...and still, no plan to...at this time. And for that reason...and that reason only...I leave you with only 4 Stars my film-friend. But THAT, of course, is not "your" fault...!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent choice April 8 2009
By C. Mollick - Published on Amazon.com
The story is very compelling and being a true story, is even more amazing. My daughters (9 and 7)read the book first so it was interesting to see the images of the story they already knew. This DVD is worth having. We also recommend Melissa Gilbert's excellent performance in "The Diary of Anne Frank".
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