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Thursday's Children (1954)

Approved | | Documentary, Short | 18 April 1955 (USA)

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Won the Academy Award for the Best Documentary Short of 1954. The subject deals with the children at The Royal School for the Deaf in Margate, Kent. The hearing-handicapped children are ... See full summary »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Won the Academy Award for the Best Documentary Short of 1954. The subject deals with the children at The Royal School for the Deaf in Margate, Kent. The hearing-handicapped children are shown painstakingly learning what words are through exercises and games, practicing lip-reading and finally speech. Richard Burton's calm and sometimes-poetic narration adds to the heartwarming cheerfulness and courage of the children. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Genres:

Documentary | Short

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Approved | See all certifications »
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18 April 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I bambini del giovedì  »

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1.37 : 1
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An interesting historical document
23 May 2012 | by (Planet Earth) – See all my reviews

Nowadays, Lindsay Anderson's short documentary about children at a school for the deaf is probably of more interest for what it reveals about attitudes during the 1950's than for its own sake. The film shows how these children are taught to lip-read and to vocalize, and it is interesting to see how it was done. The two teachers shown in the film clearly love their work and the children, and do their jobs with an almost saintly patience. The children are shown as bright, happy, and enthusiastic -- although we see the occasional failure, we never see how the children react to the inevitable frustration that they must have experienced.

For those of us who watch the film nowadays, from a perspective of more than half a century, it is hard not to start wondering about the social attitudes toward the deaf that were current at the time the film was made. For example, no effort is made to teach the children sign language (or at least if there is, we never see any evidence of such an effort), even though they openly admit that the school's teaching methods only succeed with one child in three. And one would hope that nowadays, the teacher would find something other than _Little Black Sambo_ to read to the children.


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