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The Miracle Worker (1962) Poster

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Although Patty Duke had been playing Helen Keller in the play for more than year, she almost didn't get the part in the film adaptation. The studio felt that being a teenager, she looked too old to play a seven-year-old. However, they decided to use Duke after deciding to use Anne Bancroft, who played Duke's original Annie Sullivan in the play.
The famous breakfast scene in which Helen trashes the dining room only contains two words ('good girl' spoken by Anne Sullivan).
United Artists originally offered a $2-million budget if writer William Gibson and director Arthur Penn would cast either Elizabeth Taylor or Audrey Hepburn in the role of Annie Sullivan. When they insisted that the part be recreated by Tony Award winner Anne Bancroft, UA cut the budget by $1.5 million.
The eggs Patty Duke throws into Anne Bancroft's face during the eight minute fight scene were mixed with popcorn in order to make them less slippery.
Patty Duke later played Annie Sullivan (with Melissa Gilbert as Helen Keller) in a 1979 TV production (The Miracle Worker (1979)).
Anne Bancroft wasn't present to receive her Academy Award for Best Actress. At the time, she was in New York doing a play and the award was accepted by Joan Crawford. Crawford did it to spite her What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) co-star Bette Davis, who was also nominated (Crawford wasn't).
The play was originally produced as "Playhouse 90; The Miracle Worker (1957)", broadcast on February 7, 1957, and starred Teresa Wright as Annie Sullivan, Patty McCormack as Helen Keller, Burl Ives as Captain Keller and Katharine Bard as Katie Keller.
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Ingrid Bergman claimed in her autobiography that she was offered the role of Annie Sullivan.
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William Gibson took Helen Keller's story to Broadway in 1959, but it was performed for the first time not on Broadway but on live television in a 1957 episode of "Playhouse 90": Playhouse 90: The Miracle Worker (1957). The two leads were Teresa Wright and 11-year-old Patty McCormack. On the Broadway stage and in the film they were Anne Bancroft and 16-year-old Patty Duke. Arthur Penn directed both the TV version and the 1962 film.
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The original Broadway production of "The Miracle Worker" opened at the Playhouse Theater on October 19, 1959, ran for 719 performances, and won the 1960 Tony Award for Best Play. Anne Bancroft (winner of the 1960 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play) and Patty Duke recreated their stage roles in the movie. Also in the opening night cast were Kathleen Comegys as Aunt Ev and Beah Richards as Viney, both originating their movie roles. William Gibson wrote the teleplay, the stage play and the screenplay.
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Several actors in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in this movie. These were (with their character names): Diane Bryan (Martha at Age 5), Donna Bryan (Martha at Age 7), Peggy Burke (II) (Helen at Age 7), Keith Moore (I) (Percy at Age 6), Mindy Sherwood (Helen at Age 5), and Walter Wright Jr. (Percy at Age 8)
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By both winning an Oscar in their respective category, Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke beat two iconic villainous performances; respectively: Bette Davis as Baby Jane Hudson in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) in the lead category and Angela Lansbury as Eleanor Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) in the supporting category.
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The French title of this film is "Miracle en Alabama" (translated literally, "Miracle in Alabama").
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When Duke won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress she became the youngest actor to win a competitive Academy Award. This record stood for eleven years until Tatum O'Neal broke it in 1974.
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