In 1962, United Artists made a movie about her early life, The Miracle Worker. It won Best Actress and Best Actress in a supporting role for it’s 2 leads. Doing pretty good up against Lawrence of Arabia and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Looking at it, it’s a pretty modern movie, even though it’s in black and white. The film stock is a little grainy, but not too contrasty like a real “old movie”. And the lenses were good enough that everything could be in focus all the time. Which is an interesting selling point for a movie about a couple of blind people.
There’s an amazing fight scene that just goes on forever. In the dining room, with a spoon. The only sound, and it’s loud, is of the chairs scooting across the floor, and bumping against the dining table. It must have been exhausting to film. No wonder the actors got awards.
It’s about preconceptions, accommodation, and doing what you think is best when you are just plain wrong. But it’s never really preachy. People yell at each other a little bit, but the story is much more subtle than that. People lost within the walls of their own little worlds, never really making contact with any others. Solipsism.
It takes place in Alabama, after the Civil War. After reconstruction failed to rehabilitate. Much like Keller’s parents failed to rehabilitate their daughter. From the activities of the black folks in the movie, it’s difficult to tell that it’s actually post-bellum.
In real life, Keller grew up to be a Left-wing, anti-war, socialist, wobbly, pro-suffrage, ACLU-founder. She had other peculiar ideas. I wonder how she felt about Martin Luther King, Jr. What about gay power, or undocumented aliens?
Just remember, it’s all in your mind.