This film is part of Free

His Fighting Chance

Eleanor Roosevelt and Michael Redgrave narrate this optimistic post-war film on the rehabilitation of disabled people with polio.

Government sponsored film 1949 10 mins



American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and actor Michael Redgrave join forces to narrate this postwar film on the rehabilitation of disabled people with polio. Polio epidemics were not unusual in the 1940s. This film portrays polio as survivable and suggests that with therapy, aids and adaptations, an ordinary life can be led.

Despite the optimistic tone of the film, many disabled people affected by polio would have been consigned to institutions and faced huge barriers to employment. Some of the first disability campaigners in the UK with the condition began to challenge these barriers in the late 1960s. President Roosevelt was gravely impaired by polio and primarily a wheelchair-user, but very few images and representations of him in a wheelchair were allowed to be shown until relatively recently. He was normally portrayed using a cane.