John Cassavetes's second effort as a studio director is an engrossing, sobering exposé of society's cruel prejudice toward children afflicted with mental retardation; the film focuses on an institution for those with Down's syndrome. A young boy, Reuben Widdicombe (Bruce Ritchey), arrives at the same time as Jean Hansen (Judy Garland), an inexperienced city transplant who has decided that she wants to help children. Immediately Reuben latches on to her, to the dismay of Dr. Matthew Clark (Burt Lancaster), the head of the institution. He feels that Jean's affections for Reuben will disturb the other children, prompting him to separate the pair. Convinced that a reunion with Reuben's parents (Gena Rowlands and Steven Hill) is important for the boy's mental health, Jean confronts them on this issue. Cassavetes stunningly uses actual disabled children to convey the reality of mental retardation, which gives the film a level of humanity and depth that actors could not re-create. He combines this with the performances of professionals--notably Lancaster and G
arland--in this unflinching drama that resonates long after the final credits have rolled.
Ernest Gold - Composer
Bruce Ritchey - Child Actor\1960s
Lawrence Tierney - American Actor
John Cassavetes - Avant-garde Filmmaker/Actor
Barbara Pepper - American Actress
Abby Mann - American Screenwriter
Elizabeth Wilson - American actress
Joseph La Shelle
Stanley Kramer - American Producer/Director
Burt Lancaster - Oscar-winning actor, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, ELMER GANTRY
Burton Stephen Lancaster - Oscar-winning actor, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, ELMER GANTRY
Steven Hill - Daniel Briggs of TV's "Mission: Impossible"
Rudolph Sternad - Production Designer
Paul Stewart - Character Actor/TV Director
Gena Rowlands - Actress, GLORIA (1980), A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Virginia Cathryn Rowlands - Actress, GLORIA (1980), A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Judy Garland - American actress/singer, THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)
Frances Gumm - American actress/singer, THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)
Gene Fowler Jr. - American Author
Gene Fowler - American Author
A CHILD IS WAITING is an unsympathetic, poignant drama by the always challenging John Cassavetes. The film takes place in an institution for mentally retarded children. Burt Lancaster, as the director, is a well-intentioned man; Judy Garland plays a new teacher whose focus on a lonely child results in their forming a stronger bond than she anticipated. Sobering issues are explored in an almost documentary-like fashion (which was to become the director's trademark), making the picture resonate more strongly than standard melodrama; the film represented Cassavetes's second project directing for a studio.
Theatrical release: February 13, 1963. Rereleased (Paris): January 23, 1991. The picture was shot in California. Except for Bruce Ritchey (Reuben), the children in the film were all patients at the Pacific State Hospital in Pomona, California. Abby Mann's screenplay was first presented on CBS TV's STUDIO ONE on March 11, 1957. Mario Gallo appeared as "Dr. Lombardi." The film was shown at the following venues/festivals: the Museum of Modern Art, New York (John Cassavetes: Filmmaker and Actor), June 25 & 28, 1980; the United States Film Festival in Park City, Utah (Tribute to John Cassavetes), January 22, 1989; Anthology Film Archives, New York City (John Cassavetes Retrospective), May 19, 1990.