The Miracle Worker

We have something very special in store for our readers this month. To celebrate our first year on the internet, we have chosen a theme of "Testimony" for the month of November. All month long we will be sharing true stories of God's grace and power in our lives. Perhaps no film would be more appropriate to accompany our theme than The Miracle Worker. And because this is a special month for us, we thought we'd do something a little different with our film of the month. For this reason, The Miracle Worker is our first ever "double-feature" (well, sort of).

Year: 1962 (Not Rated)
Directed by Arthur Penn, based on the play by William Gibson
Starring Anne Bancroft (Anne) and Patty Duke (Helen)
Setting: United States, 1890's.

Year: 1979 (Made for Television)
Directed by Paul Aaron, based on the play by William Gibson
Starring Patty Duke (Anne) and Melissa Gilbert (Helen)
Setting: United States, 1890's.

Based on the life of Helen Keller, who was both deaf and blind, and her teacher, Anne Sullivan.

Content warning: Mild violence in the form of Anne and Helen slapping each other in the face. Otherwise, no objectionable content observed.

I will not list point by point the themes I have noticed in this film. Instead, I would encourage you to simply reflect on God's love as you watch this movie. Many of us will most likely identify with Helen Keller on a spiritual level, as we were once without eyes to see or ears to hear. For me, the whole relationship between Annie and Helen is best described when Annie says:
I treat her like a seeing child because I ask her to see! I expect her to see!

We can expect no less from our faithful God, who treats us like seeing children because He expects us to see:
For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Patty Duke, who won an Oscar as young Helen Keller in the 1962 version, played Anne Sullivan in the 1979 TV version and won an Emmy for it.

The 1979 version is extremely hard to come by, but highlights are available on YouTube. On the other hand, the 1962 version is easily accessible as a video or DVD rental. The 1962 version should most likely have sufficed as our feature film on its own. (In fact, I happen to think it is superior to the 1979 clips I've seen.) But I just couldn't see myself ignoring Patty Duke's wonderful double performance. For a quick comparison of Patty's talent, here are both versions of the final (and most powerful) scene of the movie side by side:

1962 film, Patty Duke as Helen Keller:

1979 Made-for-TV Movie, Patty Duke as Anne Sullivan:

Kind've reminds me of my relationship with God sometimes!


Grace Abounds said…
Oh! Oh! Oh! This was such a good movie. Thanks for recommending it Jen. I can't get my hands on the '79 one either. Would LOVE to watch it though. Wonder how I can do so???


P.S. The "word verification" to post this comment is "snogy" lololol. Wonder if there is meaning to that. I think I'm feeling a little snogy today :)

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