Marian Rose White (1981)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], Docudrama  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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By the admission of its own producers, the made-for-TV Marian Rose White was "extremely loosely based" on a true story. The real Marian Rose White was a 1930s teenager who suffered from a congenital visual defect. This led to her being misdiagnosed as "feebleminded," and locked away in a Sonoma, California institution. Despite the entreaties of sympathetic staffers, Marian was forced to undergo a legally mandated sterilization--which her widowed, impoverished mother readily agreed to. Thirty years passed before this terrible wrong was addressed and Marian was allowed to re-enter society. For the purposes of this film, those three decades were telescoped into four years. The result is a sincere (if somewhat rushed) "injustice of the week" TV effort. Katherine Ross is top-billed as a compassionate nurse, while Valerie Perrine is cast as Marian's unfeeling mother. Marian Rose White is brilliantly essayed by Nancy Cartwright, who is best known today as the voice of cartoon character Bart Simpson.

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Keywords

diagnosis, institution, sterilization, teenagers