Some will argue that a film, being essentially a means of entertainment, can do little to change a national consciousness. Others, citing the power of the medium, will claim that motion pictures possess this rare and extraordinary ability. These two opposing viewpoints are about to be put to the test with a pair of films that, while different in so many ways, have a number of fundamental similarities.
The Miracle Worker” seems to have been ahead of its time in its accurate portrayal of disability. The film shows us that the young Helen Keller (Duke), blind and deaf from infancy, was treated as little more than a family pet before the arrival of her teacher, Ann Sullivan (Bancroft).
One of the central themes is how family attitudes tended to emotionally handicap young Helen. The movie effectively depicts the familys low expectations of their disabled daughter and gives us a look into how physical disabilities were equated with mental disabilities in an earlier era.
The portrayal of Helen and the other characters is
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