Channah Means Grace (film #3 in the Health section of the State of Israel section of Stephen Spielberg Jewish Film Archive). [Category: Public Service]

This touching film from the early 50s profiles Channah, a girl who cannot walk due to injuries she suffered in a DP camp, and how she is helped by professionals at the Hadassah Medical Center to walk again. Surgery and physical therapy result in her legs returning to normal, yet Channah will not try to walk without assistance. A psychological evaluation reveals that Channah’s traumatic experiences make it hard for her to trust, so the treatment team makes the wise decision to build Channah’s desire for rehabilitation by having her take dance classes, something she has shown interest in. Eventually, she learns to walk by learning to dance. This is a very well-made film that shows an unusual degree of understanding of its troubled protagonist and of the importance of psychological factors in physical rehabilitation. It is one of the better examples of a public service film; one that manages to stimulate empathy in the viewer for the struggles of the people it portrays.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****.

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