Friday, May 20, 2011

Anne Bancroft in "The Miracle Worker"

Anne Bancroft won the Oscar for playing Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker.

The Miracle Worker is a fantastic film that doesn't feel stagy or slow - it's almost a miracle because most stage plays fail on the big screen. I think what makes the film work so much is how much of a "movie" it is, the scenes pop and the performances are largely physical. The story of how Helen Keller was able to learn how to function as a person, all thanks to a determined and strong willed teacher, Annie Sullivan.

Anne Bancroft almost seems like a perfect choice for the role, yet it's still uncanny how much she took away from her later performances. Annie is a woman who herself has survived eye sight problems and wants badly to teach people how much they can learn while being blind. There is so much determination to be felt in the character of Annie. We feel her need to help Helen, yet Bancroft also layers Annie with her own pain and problems. We see how much she herself needs to be accepted and how much pain she has experienced.

Anne Bancroft never once lets Patty Duke overshadow her, they both work wonders together, and their chemistry on screen made for some intense and realistic fight scenes. While the performance of Patty Duke is much more interesting, it's Anne Bancroft's performance where we see true emotional vulnerability. She is haunted by her past and when she describes incidents in her past, Bancroft invests so much into these scenes, it's unbelievable how hard she is acting, when she had already played this character many times on the screen.

She is amazing at how much she does and when the camera really takes notice of her, she sells the character of Annie for everything she is worth.

3 comments:

joe burns said...

I agree! She is fantastic! Did pundits think she had any chance back then?

Louis Morgan said...

Yes her performance is very good, and the way she and Duke perform together makes the film work quite well.

dinasztie said...

I think she had a great chance even though Bette was the front-runner.