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Archive for August 17th, 2015

the-miracle-worker-anne-bancroft-patty-duke-1962

by Lucille Juliano

Biography, Drama

Director……Arthur Penn

Screenplay…….William Gibson (based on his stage play)

Starring…..Anne Bancroft, Patty Duke, Victor Jory, Inga Swenson, Andrew Prine

The Miracle Worker tells the story of Annie Sullivan’s struggles to teach the blind and deaf Helen Keller how to interact in her world.  Despite this subject matter, Penn does not give into manipulating the viewer’s emotions.  He made the story very realistic.  The use of black and white cinematography adds to the simplicity of the sets and locations.  The background music helps to carry the story to a degree but is quite nonintrusive.  The film draws much of its power from the performances of Anne Bancroft (Annie) and Patty Duke (Helen).

This realistic portrayal features an 8-minute sequence of Annie trying to teach Helen table manners.  Most critics agree that this segment may just be one of the most electrifying and honest sequences ever committed to film.  This is just one example of the physicality of Bancroft and Duke’s performances.  There are many other confrontations between the two throughout the film as Annie and Helen are what you might call spirited.

Annie uses humor, compassion, and a large dose of stubbornness as she deals with Helen’s behavior.  Annie was virtually blind as a child and went through 9 surgeries to regain most of her sight.  Light sensitivity is what remains and causes her to wear tinted lenses.  She grew up in an asylum with her younger crippled brother, which taught her many life lessons.  She attended the Perkin’s School for the Blind in Massachusetts where she gained experience working with the blind and the deaf. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

And now when we croon the refrain of the The Happenings’ I’ll See You in September, we can be rest assured that moment is nearly upon us.  Late vacationers are either embarking on their final reprieves or are arriving back home.  Those who count themselves as big fans of the NFL, music and the best part of the movie season have reason to be heartened of the coming months.  Others who just want to feel comfortable when outdoors can dream of the heat going on sabbatical.

The Childhood/Adolescence Films Countdown will be approaching the halfway point this week on Wednesday.  This is very hard to believe as it seems we only started it a few weeks ago.  The page view and comments totals have not broken any site records to be sure (nor have come anywhere close to) but everything is moving forward nicely.  The only mild contentiousness concerning the venture have been voiced behind the scene in e mails among site staff members, and they have nothing to do with the stellar reviews, but rather with opinions as to what should not be considered “childhood” or “adolescent.”  While a few films didn’t not receive endorsement by several, the countdown choices have been and will be largely embraced.  The polling will continue into the middle of October.

Lucille and I saw two new released in the theaters this past week, and I also managed some at-home viewings, two of which were seen several years back.

I escorted my family on a day trip to Gettysburg on Saturday.  The three-and-a-half hour ride was draining, since it had to be repeated later in the night after all the festivities.  We purchased the CD tour set at the Visiting Center gift shop, and followed through to all the battlefield stops and at other historical stations throughout this famed town in south-central Pennsylvania – the place where the bloodiest multi-day battle in American history took place.  The CD was superbly narrated by a historian who gave the tour the proper discussion.  A scorching hot day near 90, but the air conditioned car kept everything comfortable, even with the numerous forays outside during the tour.  We spend a few hours strolling the main street in town, which featured souvenir shops, museums and eateries.  The kids loved the trip, and asked if we could return, since one day is hardly enough to take in everything.  We have tentative plans to return in the fall.  Now I’m itching to re-read James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom and Bruce Catton’s A Stillness at Appomattox.   (more…)

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