Full page view
HISTORY

Dr. Francis Trevelyan Miller, who wrote the story and scenario, was an historian, editor emeritus of The Journal of American History and a friend of Helen Keller. Edwin Leibfreed, the copyright claimant, who presented the version shown in New York, also wrote some insert titles in verse. The film had its premiere in nine reels at the Lyric Theatre in New York on 18 Aug 1919. Dr. Anselm Goetzl of the Metropolitan orchestra, who arranged the accompanying music, conducted the augmented orchestra at the opening. The film was divided into three acts, the first entitled "Childhood," the second "Maidenhood," and the third "Womanhood." According to a news item, director George Foster Platt shot the film in a style that emphasized the playing of scenes as they would be played on stage, and used very few close-ups or "cut-aways." After the New York run, George Kleine acquired the distribution rights. He had the negative of over 40,000 feet recut to various lengths between six and seven reels for the standard version, and ten reels for road shows. He also had new titles written. After test showings in Atlanta, Madison, WI and possibly a few other cities, he planned in Feb 1920 to open the film in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus, OH before releasing it elsewhere, but it is unclear when the film was actually exhibited. George Kleine presented his version which had the subtitle "My Message to the ... More Less

Dr. Francis Trevelyan Miller, who wrote the story and scenario, was an historian, editor emeritus of The Journal of American History and a friend of Helen Keller. Edwin Leibfreed, the copyright claimant, who presented the version shown in New York, also wrote some insert titles in verse. The film had its premiere in nine reels at the Lyric Theatre in New York on 18 Aug 1919. Dr. Anselm Goetzl of the Metropolitan orchestra, who arranged the accompanying music, conducted the augmented orchestra at the opening. The film was divided into three acts, the first entitled "Childhood," the second "Maidenhood," and the third "Womanhood." According to a news item, director George Foster Platt shot the film in a style that emphasized the playing of scenes as they would be played on stage, and used very few close-ups or "cut-aways." After the New York run, George Kleine acquired the distribution rights. He had the negative of over 40,000 feet recut to various lengths between six and seven reels for the standard version, and ten reels for road shows. He also had new titles written. After test showings in Atlanta, Madison, WI and possibly a few other cities, he planned in Feb 1920 to open the film in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus, OH before releasing it elsewhere, but it is unclear when the film was actually exhibited. George Kleine presented his version which had the subtitle "My Message to the World." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
ETR
30 Aug 19
p. 1089.
MPN
30 Aug 19
p. 1843, 1873
MPN
14 Feb 20
p. 1677.
MPW
23 Aug 19
p. 1122.
MPW
30 Aug 19
p. 1369.
MPW
21 Feb 20
p. 1150.
New York Times
19 Aug 19
p. 10.
Variety
22 Aug 19
p. 76.
Wid's
24 Aug 19
p. 22.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
First episode:
Edythe Lyle
First episode:
First episode:
First episode:
First episode:
First episode:
First episode:
+

NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
First episode:
Edythe Lyle
First episode:
First episode:
First episode:
First episode:
First episode:
First episode:
First episode:
First episode:
First episode:
First episode:
Second episode:
Second episode:
Edythe Lyle
Second episode:
Second episode:
Second episode:
Second episode:
Third episode:
Third episode:
Ardita Mellinino
Third episode:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
FILM EDITOR
MUSIC
Mus accompaniment arr
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 August 1919
Copyright Claimant:
Edwin Leibfreed
Copyright Date:
26 March 1919
Copyright Number:
LU13725
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In her infancy, Helen Keller loses her sight and hearing. When Helen is seven, her parents hire Anne Sullivan, who herself was blind for seventeen years, to educate her. Ignorance, depicted as an allegorical figure, seeks Helen as his victim, while Knowledge, a woman robed in white, struggles to raise Helen to the realm of spiritual freedom. Despite Helen's often unmanageable willfulness, the tender care of her parents and Anne's patient instruction enable Helen to learn the names of objects and places through a system of signs. Later, through the efforts of noted educator Sarah Fuller, Helen learns oral speech. Meanwhile, Nadja, the daughter of an immigrant agricultural laborer, is unwilling to take advantage of educational opportunities in her school, and although she has all her faculties, is handicapped by Ignorance. After college, Helen meets some of the distinguished men of her time. Nadja, who works in a sweatshop, is rescued from an unpleasant incident by Josef, an immigrant violinist. They marry, but Josef, worn out by his failure to get work, dies before their child is born. Later, Nadja's child returns from World War I blind, and Nadja takes him to Helen, her childhood friend, for advice. Helen begins hospital work with Nadja to help with the rehabilitation of blind and crippled soldiers. Helen inspires councils dealing with the great world problems, and is seen horseback riding, in an airplane, and christening a ship. She sends words of cheer to farmers, laborers and immigrants. Finally, Helen, Nadja and Josef as a boy appear on horseback leading a great concourse of people in a demonstration of the ideals of ... +


In her infancy, Helen Keller loses her sight and hearing. When Helen is seven, her parents hire Anne Sullivan, who herself was blind for seventeen years, to educate her. Ignorance, depicted as an allegorical figure, seeks Helen as his victim, while Knowledge, a woman robed in white, struggles to raise Helen to the realm of spiritual freedom. Despite Helen's often unmanageable willfulness, the tender care of her parents and Anne's patient instruction enable Helen to learn the names of objects and places through a system of signs. Later, through the efforts of noted educator Sarah Fuller, Helen learns oral speech. Meanwhile, Nadja, the daughter of an immigrant agricultural laborer, is unwilling to take advantage of educational opportunities in her school, and although she has all her faculties, is handicapped by Ignorance. After college, Helen meets some of the distinguished men of her time. Nadja, who works in a sweatshop, is rescued from an unpleasant incident by Josef, an immigrant violinist. They marry, but Josef, worn out by his failure to get work, dies before their child is born. Later, Nadja's child returns from World War I blind, and Nadja takes him to Helen, her childhood friend, for advice. Helen begins hospital work with Nadja to help with the rehabilitation of blind and crippled soldiers. Helen inspires councils dealing with the great world problems, and is seen horseback riding, in an airplane, and christening a ship. She sends words of cheer to farmers, laborers and immigrants. Finally, Helen, Nadja and Josef as a boy appear on horseback leading a great concourse of people in a demonstration of the ideals of the world's new era. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.