“Garland and Lancaster radiate a warmth so genuine that one is certain the children are responding directly to them, not merely following some vaguely comprehended script.”—Saturday Review
Stanley Kramer and Abby Mann tackled another controversial subject in this compassionate study of the treatment of challenged children. Then ahead of its time (and now understandably dated), the film nonetheless endorsed the encouragement and discipline essential to their education.
Garland plays a rootless musician who seeks stability as a teacher. Her emotional reaction to a problem student is then deemed counterproductive by Burt Lancaster as the head of the school. Featured roles were filled by a remarkable array of respected players, Gena Rowlands, Stephen Hill, and Elizabeth Wilson among them. Actor Bruce Ritchey is extraordinary as the central child, though most of the rest of the juvenile cast was filled by actual residents of Pacific State Hospital in Pomona.