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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Miracle Worker [Blu-ray]


(Arthur Penn, 1962)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Playfilm Productions

Video: Olive Films / Eureka (UK)



Region: 'A' / 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:46:39.393 / 1:46:39.393

Disc Size: 23,620,466,384 bytes / 33,259,340,826 bytes

Feature Size: 23,566,061,568 bytes / 31,173,504,576 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps / 34.89 Mbps

Chapters: 9 / 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: October 31st, 2017 / January 27th, 2020


Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1881 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1881 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)


LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit



English, None / English (SDH), none



• None


• Brand new audio essay by Amy Simmons (11:17)
Theatrical trailer (2:22)
A collector's booklet featuring new essays by film critic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, and film critic and author Richard Combs




1) Olive Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



Description: The powerhouse performances of Anne Bancroft (The Graduate) and Patty Duke (Valley of the Dolls) are the heart and soul of director Arthur Penn’s (Bonnie and Clyde) screen adaptation of The Miracle Worker. Working on familiar ground (having directed Bancroft and Duke in the Broadway play), Penn would find a fresh approach in transitioning the story of Helen Keller from stage to screen by opening up the action with on-location shooting, unique camera work by Ernest Caparros (TV’s Naked City), razor sharp editing by Aram Avakian (Lilith) and several bravura set pieces.

The young Helen, blind and deaf since infancy as a result of scarlet fever, becomes prone to violent outbursts that grow more frequent and intense, resulting in her parents, Captain Arthur Keller (Victor Jory, Gone with the Wind) and Kate Keller (Inga Swenson, Advise & Consent), reaching out to a school for the blind for help. That help arrives in the form of Anne Sullivan, a teacher whose personal struggles have provided her with the tools to assist Helen. And so begins a battle of wills between the obstinate Helen and the equally stubborn Anne (a breakfast scene between the two becomes a virtual wrestling match). Through sheer willpower and compassion, the walls separating Helen from the outside world begin to crumble, as student and teacher forge a connection.

The Miracle Worker is directed by Arthur Penn, written for the screen by William Gibson (based upon his stage play), produced by Fred Coe and features music by two-time Academy Award nominee Laurence Rosenthal (Best Score, Becket – 1965; Best Musical Adaptation, Man of La Mancha – 1974).



The Film:

Based on William Gibson's Broadway play and retaining its acclaimed cast, Arthur Penn's The Miracle Worker tells the true story of Helen Keller (Patty Duke), an Alabama girl struck blind and deaf as a baby after an elevated fever. Enter Annie Sullivan (Anne Bancroft), a partially-blind woman assigned the task of teaching Helen sign language. After first separating Helen from her over-protective parents (Victor Jory and Inga Swenson), Annie begins the arduous process of teaching the girl.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

During the filming of The Miracle Worker (1962), both Bancroft and Duke became so immersed in their roles, they put their health at risk. For the famous dining room battle scene, which required three cameras for a nine-minute sequence and took five days to film, both actresses wore pads beneath their clothing. At one point during the filming, Bancroft started laughing from sheer exhaustion and her reaction was left in the film. In fact, Bancroft was hospitalized with pneumonia just after filming was complete. As for Duke, she later admitted she dreaded the final wrap-up of the film because it meant her final separation from a role that had become such an important part of her life.

The Miracle Worker was responsible for launching the careers of both stars. Bancroft, who up until that point had been cast in mediocre movies, such as Treasure of the Golden Condor (1953) and Gorilla at Large (1954) went on to starring roles in The Graduate (1967) and The Slender Thread (1965). Patty Duke, just 15 at the time the movie was made, went on to star in her own sitcom, The Patty Duke Show (1963-66).

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Miracle Worker arrives on, single-layered, Blu-ray from Olive Films. The image quality is outstanding. The 1.66:1 aspect ratio has excellent contrast - deep rich black levels, a high level of detail and plenty of depth. The 1080P is impressive! The grain is fine and supportive of the presentation that has no detrimental flaws. 


Eureka's 1080P advances upon the older Olive with a dual-layered transfer with a max'ed out bitrate. The image quality improvement is visible in-motion - a smoother, more consistent HD presentation. It's not extensive but the superiority is there.




1) Olive Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Olive Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Olive Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Olive Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



More Blu-ray Captures













Audio :

Audio is transferred to a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1881 kbps (24-bit). The score is by Laurence Rosenthal (Requiem for a Heavyweight, Becket, 1977's The Island of Dr Moreau, the TV Series Coronet Blue) and it sounds wonderful in he lossless. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


A slightly more robust uncompressed audio transfer is about the same to my ears - clear, audible with some depth in the Rosenthal score. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified the Eureka as being a region 'B'-locked.



Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases. This film, in particular, deserves more.


Eureka add some supplements starting with a new 11-minute audio essay by Amy Simmons. She is an author and freelance film critic who has written for Time Out, Sight & Sound, Little White Lies, the BFI and Senses of Cinema. Her comments on The Miracle Worker (to stills from the film) are very professional and revealing. There is also a theatrical trailer and the package contains a liner notes collector's booklet featuring new essays by film critic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, and film critic and author Richard Combs.


Olive Region 'A' - Blu-ray


Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray



The Miracle Worker is a masterpiece. Olive should be commended for bringing this to Blu-ray. Unfortunately it is bare-bones - but the presentation has immense value. Rewarding and unforgettable.
Absolutely recommended!


It's a good idea to see this film every couple of years. Iconic performances of an impossibly inspiring story. So impacting. Eureka have produced a superior version in every area from a/v to extras, plus I prefer the cover. This Blu-ray gets our highest recommendation and a double-dip for serious fans of the film.


Gary Tooze

November 1st, 2017

January 19th, 2020






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