Saturday, September 29, 2012

A History of Disability in Film, Turner Classic Movies

The unconditional love he received from his family, rather than his disability, is the overriding theme of Christy Brown's life.
Daniel Day Lewis as Christy Brown, "My Left Foot"

Because awareness of those who are mentally and physically challenged, their struggles, and even more important their contribution to society is so important, Turner Classic Movies is  featuring several films in October with "The Projected Image; A History of Disability in Film", series.

Films featuring those living with a disability are an inspirational reminder of the strength of the human spirit. For me, it was "My Left Foot", "Rain Man", the "The Miracle Worker" and "The Best Years of our Lives", that left me smiling through my tears again and again. I also gained new perspective from, "At First Sight".
Val Kilmer, Mira Sorvino, "At First Sight"
Excerpt from the press release

The Projected Image: 

A History of Disability in Film in October


Turner Classic Movies will dedicate the month of October to exploring the ways people with disabilities have been portrayed in film. On behalf of Inclusion in the Arts, Lawrence Carter-Long will join TCM host Ben Mankiewicz for The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film. The special month-long exploration will air Tuesdays in October, beginning Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. (ET).

TCM makes today's announcement to coincide with the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) on July 26. And in a first for TCM, all films will be presented with both closed captioning and audio description (via secondary audio) for audience members with auditory and visual disabilities.

The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film features more than 20 films ranging from the 1920s to the 1980s. Each night's collection will explore particular aspects, themes, or types of disability, such as blindness, deafness and psychiatric or intellectual disabilities. In addition, one evening of programming will focus on newly disabled veterans returning home from war.

TCM's exploration of disability in cinema includes many Oscar-winning and nominated films, such as, to name a few:

An Affair to Remember (1957), in which Deborah Kerr's romantic rendezvous with Cary Grant is nearly derailed by a paralyzing accident

A Patch of Blue (1965), with Elizabeth Hartman as a blind white girl who falls in love with a black man, played by Sidney Poitier

Butterflies Are Free (1972), starring Edward Albert as a blind man attempting to break free from his over-protective mother

Gaby: A True Story (1987), the powerful tale of a girl with cerebral palsy trying to gain independence as an artist

Johnny Belinda (1948), starring Jane Wyman as a "deaf-mute" forced to defy expectations

The Miracle Worker (1962), starring Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan and Patty Duke as Helen Keller

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), with Jack Nicholson as a patient in a mental institution and Louise Fletcher as the infamous Nurse Ratched

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), the post-War drama starring Fredric March, Myrna Loy and real-life disabled veteran Harold Russell

Charly (1968), with Cliff Robertson as an intellectually disabled man who questions the limits of science after being turned into a genius.

Inclusion in the Arts
Inclusion in the Arts advocates for full inclusion of artists of color and performers with disabilities at all levels of production in film, television, and theatre. Our principal aim is to achieve full inclusion in American arts and entertainment, such that what we see on our screens and stages truly reflects the society in which we live; where each artist is considered on his/her merits as an individual; where the stories being told are drawn from authentic and diverse experiences; and where our individual humanity can be celebrated.

For more information:

National Council on Disability:



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