7.3/10
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A Child Is Waiting (1963)

Approved | | Drama | 11 May 1963 (Italy)
Psychologist Dr. Matthew Clark is the head of the Crawthorne State Training Institute, one of the first boarding schools for developmentally challenged children. Dr. Clark is sympathetic ... See full summary »

Director:

John Cassavetes

Writers:

Abby Mann (screenplay), Abby Mann (story)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Burt Lancaster ... Dr. Matthew Clark
Judy Garland ... Jean Hansen
Gena Rowlands ... Sophie Widdicombe
Steven Hill ... Ted Widdicombe
Paul Stewart ... Goodman
Gloria McGehee Gloria McGehee ... Mattie
Lawrence Tierney ... Douglas Benham
Bruce Ritchey ... Reuben Widdicombe
John Marley ... Holland
Bill Mumy ... Boy Counting Jean's Pearls
Elizabeth Wilson ... Miss Fogarty
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Storyline

Psychologist Dr. Matthew Clark is the head of the Crawthorne State Training Institute, one of the first boarding schools for developmentally challenged children. Dr. Clark is sympathetic but demanding of his teachers and students. His approach of tough love is controversial. He takes a chance at hiring former aspiring concert pianist Jean Hansen as the school's music teacher, Miss Hansen who has no background in nursing, teaching or dealing with the developmentally challenged. She herself is trying to find her own place in life. She immediately bonds with autistic student Reuben Widdicombe, who she sees as needing special attention in light of his parents having not visited him since they enrolled him in the school two years earlier. The Widdicombes divorced shortly thereafter because of the pressures their relationship faced in dealing with Reuben. Dr. Clark sees Reuben as the type of child the most difficult with which to deal: Reuben understands just enough to realize that he is ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If This Were Flesh Of Your Flesh - Would You Hold It Close ...Protect It ...Love It ...Or Would You Turn Your Back And Run... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 May 1963 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Un niño espera See more »

Filming Locations:

Pomona, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the British Board of Film Censors passed the film with an "X" certificate on 15 February 1963, United Artists took over three years to release the film in the UK. It finally premiered at the London Pavilion on 14 July 1966 and ran two weeks. In spite of two major stars and The Times headline "film worth waiting four years for," the UK release was small and not always handled appropriately. In St Ives, Cornwall, it was booked for two days in December 1966 and shared the bill with St George and the 7 Curses. See more »

Goofs

As the camera follows Jean Hansen from classroom to classroom during her first tour, a crew member is reflected in the glass doors between the classrooms. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Matthew Clark: I think you can find what you're looking for here, Miss Hansen. Because it's not what you can do for these children; it's what they can do for you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Following the last name in the cast list (Elizabeth Wilson) are the words "and The Children". See more »

Connections

Featured in Edge of Outside (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Snowflakes
Written by Marjorie D. Kurtz
Performed Judy Garland
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the most extraordinary filmgoing experiences you'll ever have.
2 November 1999 | by Hermit C-2See all my reviews

This is a remarkable motion picture. Its subject, mental retardation, is one that most of us avoid as much as possible. But it's a fact of life for millions--those diagnosed with it, their families and friends, and the people who work with them. If they have the courage to face up to it every day, we should at least have the nerve to do something as easy as watch a film. It turns out to be a much more rewarding experience than many might expect.

Judy Garland plays Jean Hansen, an over-thirty woman "drifting" through her life. To give it some purpose, she applies for work at an institution for mentally retarded children, though she has no expertise in the field. Dr. Clark (Burt Lancaster), who runs the place, has doubts about her altruism, but gives her a chance. Miss Hansen soon becomes attached to one young boy in particular--too attached for Dr. Clark's liking. He's a proponent of a modified "tough love" approach, one that calls for the students to do whatever they can for themselves to the best of their abilities.

Unlike the popular style of today, the children aren't played by actors who try to imbue their characters with a Forrest Gump-like "wisdom." They are real children who play themselves and in doing so bring a power to this film that a cast of the world's greatest actors couldn't hope to equal. At the movie's conclusion the students are seen performing a Thanksgiving play before an assembly and the effect on the viewer is staggering. We like to think that in our present-day society we deal much more openly with subjects that were taboo in the past, but no one else to my knowledge has had the courage to take such an unflinching look at mental retardation as this 1963 film does. For that we can thank producer Stanley Kramer for bringing it to the screen and to director John Cassavetes for making it tangible. I can't imagine that there is anyone who wouldn't benefit from watching this movie. I also can't recommend it strongly enough.


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