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The Miracle Worker
The Miracle Worker
Actors: Patty Duke, Melissa Gilbert, Diana Muldaur, Charles Siebert
Director: Paul Aaron
Genres: Drama, Television
G     2009     1hr 38min

Helen Keller was the young girl who was blind, deaf, and mute since infancy. She was in danger of being sent to an institution, that is, until a persistent and outspoken teacher named Annie Sullivan came into her life. Tog...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Patty Duke, Melissa Gilbert, Diana Muldaur, Charles Siebert
Director: Paul Aaron
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama
Studio: Shout Factory
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 03/10/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2000
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2000
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 38min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 19
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

DEWEY MEE | ELLENSBURG, WA, | 04/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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."
Excellent choice
C. Mollick | Edinburg, TX | 04/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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"."
Patty Duke's also brillant playing Annie Sullivan!
RJT | PA United States | 03/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am so happy this is finally on dvd!!! Patty Duke takes on the role of Annie Sullivan in this 1979 TV movie with Melissa Gilbert playing Helen Keller. (Patty Duke also played Helen Keller in the 1962 movie) They both did such an incredible job, this one is definitely my favorite of all the Miracle Worker movies."