Learning Difficulty





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Deaf: Major Films   no photo.
TitleTin Man (1983)
Alternative/Original Title
DirectorJohn G. Thomas
CastTimothy Bottoms John Phillip Law Troy Donahue
NotesA deaf, young man creates a computer to allow him to hear and speak. Yvonne has sent the following review: Synopsis. The story opens with Marcia (Deana Jurgens) a hearing/ speech therapist collecting her car from repair shop. Whilst waiting she asks for help with a crossword puzzle. The only person who can help is Casey (Timothy Bottoms). She soon realises that he is deaf and she finds that he cannot read lips, speak nor sign. Intrigued by him, she tries to communicate with him by writing but he will have none of it. She speaks to Casey's boss about his deafness in front of an insurance safety officer and this eventually results in both Casey and his boss getting the sack. She follows him to apologise and on a second try gets inside his home. He gets her to talk into a microphone, which translates her spoken words into type on the computer screen. It also translates typed words to mechanical sounding speech. She is very excited by his invention and encourages him to let her ex-boyfriend Lester (Troy Donahue) see the computer, as his business would be able to develop it. She makes a condition that Casey must visit her clinic and have an assessment by the doctor (John Phillip Law). He reluctantly agrees. The examination reveals that a cochlear implant operation might restore his hearing and the doctor asks Marcia to break the news. Meanwhile Lester sees the invention and wants to produce it. He unintentionally mentions the operation before Casey has been told about it. Casey is furious that he has not been told and tells Marcia how hearing people make him feel like a freak and that he hates being deaf and wants to hear more than anything. Marcia persuades him to take a chance on the operation. He is deliriously happy to find that he has full hearing restored. However, he cannot understand spoken words or speak, so Marcia undertakes his tuition in the clinic. They become increasingly close and intimate despite Casey's initial reluctance due to his inexperience. Meanwhile his invention has been developed by Lesters company, not as an aid for the deaf but for things like trivial computer games. Casey has made a lot of money and moves to an incredible unique house. He spends all his time developing a computer called Osgood that is able to communicate and make its own decisions. Osgood points out that Casey's hearing is deteriorating. The fact that his implant is being rejected is confirmed by the doctor. He is very upset and decided to break the relationship with Marcia but he does not tell her that he is going deaf. Meanwhile Lesters company has realised that the contract on the inventions is short term and that all the patents are reverting to Casey. They give Lester the sack and when Casey returns to the house he finds that Osgood has been destroyed by Lester. Marcia arrives, having been told that he has lost his hearing by his ex-boss. She finds him deaf and defeated. Casey can still speak of course and by lip-reading Marcia, he is encouraged to start afresh and rebuild a new better computer. She persuades him to take a vacation. Before he goes, Casey visits Lester's company where he barges into the M.D.'s office and after dropping the torn up contracts on his desk, he punches him and then leaves with Marcia for their life together. Comments. No beating around the bush. This film is terrible. The acting, except Timothy Bottoms, was universally appalling. Deana Jurgens whole range seems to be to earnestly shout into the camera. The writing and possibly direction too had a lot to answer for. Can you imagine, a therapist or doctor working in a hearing clinic with hearing impaired people, do any of the following. Sound the horn to attract a deaf person's attention, shout at him,speak very quickly and excitedly to a lip-reading person or a doctor who discusses a patient with a therapist and then lets her go to the patient's house to explain about an operation. There were a couple of repeated, slow motion shots, one was of Casey screaming when he finds the computer ruined and the other was of Ms Jurgens naked body falling onto the bed both are completely unnecessary, weird and the second is exploitative. The plot was sheer nonsense made worse by being backed by ignorance of hearing impairment and medical facts. I believe that one of the positive functions of films involving disability is the dissemination of information. Pleased, as I am that, Casey is clearly shown as having superior intelligence, I find it unlikely that with no education in language skills other than written, he would have acquired the kind of language ability that would enable him to be able to teach a computer how to talk. The misinformation on the medical facts were particularly irritating, the information about meningitis seems to be wrong, as is the idea that a cochlear implant will restore normal bilateral hearing. The implant itself was shown to be wholly inside the body with no external parts, which is inaccurate. (If you want to hear a demo of what a cochlear implant sounds like then try http://www.utdallas.edu/~loizou/cimplants/) I doubt that restoring hearing to an adult would enable them to acquire perfect understanding of speech and ability to speak especially if they had none before. I found it inaccurate that after becoming deaf again, Casey was able to lip-read Marcia's, fast paced, complicated speech with no difficulty. I am left with a question of why this film was made, it seems to have no merits at all.

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