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A Child Is Waiting (1963)

Approved | | Drama | 11 January 1963 (USA)
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The actor playing Dr Mazer is not credited anywhere, but he looks exactly like, and must surely be Edward Asner. See more »

Goofs

The narrator tells us Reuben was placed in the State Mental Hospital 6 September 1959, but the automobile in which he arrives bears very visible 1962 New York license plates. 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.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Eu, Sidarta (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Snowflakes
Written by Marjorie D. Kurtz
Performed Judy Garland
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User Reviews

 
A Groundbreaking Film
15 December 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I wouldn't want to bet the rent money on it, but I think A Child Is Waiting is probably the first film to deal with the subject of mental retardation. In any event Stanley Kramer, John Cassavetes, Burt Lancaster and Judy Garland all ought to be commended for the work in this film.

My sister-in-law happens to have a mentally retarded sister and a late mentally retarded brother. They were in fact institutionalized at the time this film would have been made and later on were able to be a part of the workforce. To be sure it's menial labor, but the point is they are living independently. In fact her sister lives in a home for retarded adults now. She's closing in on 50 now.

I also had a neighbor with a mentally retarded child and she was kept locked in at home like some of the failures described by Lancaster in the film. They moved away when I was young, I never knew what became of her.

According to a recent biography of Burt Lancaster, John Cassavetes and Judy Garland did not get along at all during the making of this. Judy was going through some bad emotional problems at this time(when was she not)and working with the retarded kids in the film was pretty difficult for her. It was Lancaster who got her through the film and got her to focus on the role, channeling her own problems in life to what those kids had to deal with. Years later Cassavetes and Lancaster met up and some event and Cassavetes confessed he was green at the directing game and should have been more compassionate.

It's mentioned in the film that the president of the United States has a mentally retarded sister. Since that president was John F. Kennedy at the time, I wonder if the Kennedy family didn't have a behind the scenes role here.

I'm also glad that there was no romantic subplot going between Lancaster and Garland. Would have diverted too much from the film's impact.

And folks even today, it still has an impact.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 January 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Child Is Waiting 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
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