5.9/10
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21 user 6 critic

The Story of Esther Costello (1957)

Eighteen-year-old Esther has been deaf and blind since the accident which killed her mother. Wealthy Margaret Landi, a native of Esther's village in Ireland, is talked into helping to ... See full summary »

Director:

David Miller
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Crawford ... Margaret Landi
Rossano Brazzi ... Carlo Landi
Heather Sears ... Esther Costello
Lee Patterson ... Harry Grant
Ron Randell ... Frank Wenzel
Fay Compton ... Mother Superior
John Loder ... Paul Marchant
Denis O'Dea ... Father Devlin
Sidney James ... Ryan
Bessie Love ... Matron in Art Gallery
Robert Ayres ... Mr. Wilson
Maureen Delaney Maureen Delaney ... Jennie Costello
Harry Hutchinson Harry Hutchinson ... Irish publican
Tony Quinn Tony Quinn ... Irish pub customer
Janina Faye ... Esther Costello, as a child
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Storyline

Eighteen-year-old Esther has been deaf and blind since the accident which killed her mother. Wealthy Margaret Landi, a native of Esther's village in Ireland, is talked into helping to educate and possibly heal Esther. Margaret grows to love Esther as a daughter, but finds Esther's innocence threatened by sleazy promoters and her own sleazy ex-husband. Radiant performance by Heather Sears. Based on a book that nearly had Helen Keller's co-workers suing for libel due to perceived parallels between Carlo Landi and the husband of Annie Sullivan. Written by <mailcall@intersource.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Drama without equal that smashes its way into a woman's love-starved heart! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 November 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Golden Virgin See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Romulus Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Crawford, then on the Pepsi-Cola board of directors, demanded that product placement shots be included in all her films of this era. Look for it here prominently displayed in signs in an airport lobby. See more »

Goofs

When the cottage explodes in the beginning of the movie, the right wall falls revealing the plywood set construction underneath. The stone walls are just paper covering over wood. See more »

Connections

References Toward the Unknown (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Lead Kindly Light
Words by John Henry Newman (as Newman)
Music by John B. Dykes (as Dyke)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Esther The Cash Cow
18 May 2010 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Shot in the United Kingdom and the continent, The Story Of Esther Costello seems to be a hybrid production of The Miracle Worker and Johnny Belinda. Heather Sears's performance in the title role might have been worthy of Oscar consideration had not Jane Wyman already won an award playing a deaf mute.

Joan Crawford plays a wealthy American who is separated from her husband Rossano Brazzi and touring Ireland, specifically the village of her birth. While there the village priest Denis O'Dea introduces Joan to Sears who is deaf, blind, and mute. In a prologue we see why she is that way, as a child she found a cache of gunpowder and grenades left over from the Rebellion which explodes killing her mother and leaving her as she is.

Eventually Joan takes Heather from the squalid conditions she's living in courtesy of her aunt Maureen Delaney and gives her the Helen Keller treatment. When Sears becomes a celebrity of sorts, Brazzi reenters the picture see the cash cow Sears has become what with the charities organized in her name.

A rather unbelievable 'cure' for Sears mars what could have been a much better drama. The players all perform well, particularly Crawford who is in her best Mildred Pierce mode as an adoptive mother to a much more appreciative child than Ann Blyth.

Definitely one for Joan Crawford fans.


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