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Helen Keller in Her Story

Helen Keller in Her Story(1954)


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This film opened in New York in June 1954, under the title The Unconquered-Helen Keller in Her Story. As Helen Keller in Her Story, the title of the print viewed, it won the Academy Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary in March 1956 and was acquired for distribution by Louis de Rochemont Associates. Although the print viewed carried a "Copyright MCMLIII Nancy Hamilton" notice, the film was not registered under either title. According to a New York Times report of March 7, 1954, Hamilton was an actress and co-author, with Morgan Lewis, of three Broadway revues. A modern source credits Hamilton with both production and direction of the film. Following the death of Polly Thompson in 1960, Helen Keller lived on alone until her death on June 1, 1968. Keller's burial urn is next to Thompson's and Annie Sullivan's in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
       There have been many film and television plays about Keller. In addition to the 1919 film Deliverance (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20), her early years were dramatized by writer William Gibson in February 1957 in a Playhouse 90 CBS television program titled The Miracle Worker, starring Patty McCormack as Keller and Teresa Wright as Sullivan. The program was directed by Arthur Penn, who also directed Gibson's theatrical adaptation, which opened on Broadway under the same title on October 19, 1959, starring Patty Duke as Keller and Anne Bancroft as Sullivan. Producer Fred Coe reunited Duke, Bancroft, Gibson and Penn for the film adaptation, which premiered in May 1962 and earned many critical accolades and awards, including Oscars for Bancroft and Duke as Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, and Oscar nominations for Penn for best direction and Gibson for best screenplay.
       In a 1979 television film, directed by Paul Aaron, Duke assumed the role of Sullivan while Melissa Gilbert portrayed Keller. Additional television adaptations of The Miracle Worker were broadcast in 1984, directed by Alan Gibson and starring Blythe Danner as Sullivan and Mare Winningham as Keller and in 2000, directed by Nadia Tass and starring Alison Elliott as Sullivan and Hallie Kate Eisenberg as Keller. A sequel to the story, entitled Monday After the Miracle, was broadcast in 1998, directed by Daniel Petrie and starring Roma Downey as Sullivan and Moira Kelly as Keller. Another teleplay, Helen Keller and Her Teacher, was broadcast in 1970, directed by Noah Keen, featuring Barboura Morris and Peri Weinstein.