A CHILD IS WAITING

STUDIO:  United Artists

PRODUCTION DATES: January 1962 – April 1962

PRODUCTION COST:   $2,000,000

RUNNING TIME:  104 minutes

RELEASE DATE:  February 13, 1963

INITIAL BOX OFFICE:  $925,000

Judy Garland on the set of "A Child Is Waiting"A Child Is Waiting was Judy’s third straight dramatic film role.  The previous year (1961) she had completed her critically acclaimed role in Judgment at Nuremberg.  In 1945, Judy made her first dramatic film The Clock.  However, A Child Is Waiting stands out for several reasons.

The subject matter of A Child Is Waiting is a sober one about the treatment of mentally challenged children (referred to as “retarded” which was indicative of the time).  It was a subject dear to Judy’s heart.  She performed to help raise money for several different children’s charities and was always willing to give her time and talent to children’s causes. Even so, it was a daring choice by all involved in the making of A Child Is Waiting to make a sensitive, thoughtful film about something that most audiences did not want to be confronted with, especially in the early 1960s. 

Producer Stanley Kramer and director John Cassavetes took a risk and although it wasn’t a success when it was released, A Child Is Waiting earned good reviews and has gained in respect and stature over the decades.  The sensitive direction helps as do the performances of Judy and co-star Burt Lancaster, and the rest of the cast.  Child actor Bruce Ritchey, in the central role of Ruben, and being the only non-special-needs child of the cast, is phenomenal.  The film wouldn’t have worked if he hadn’t been up to the challenge.

Many Garland fans list this film as one of their favorites specifically because of her dramatic performance.  As brilliant as she was with her musical talent, she could easily succeed without it in a straight dramatic role.  Most “musical stars” were not able to transition into drama or comedy as easily as Judy Garland could.  She arguably (although there is no argument here) was the most naturally gifted all-around performer in films in the 20th century.  

Most of the images on this page were provided my Kim Lundgreen.  Thanks, Kim!!

CAST:

Burt Lancaster as Dr. Matthew Clark

Judy Garland as Jean Hansen

Gena Rowlands as Sophie Widdicombe Benham

Steven Hill as Ted Widdicombe

Lawrence Tierney as Douglas Benham

Bruce Ritchey as Reuben Widdicombe

John Marley as Holland

Paul Stewart as Goodman

Elizabeth Wilson as Miss Fogarty

Barbara Pepper as Miss Brown

Gloria McGehee … Mattie

Frederick Draper … Dr. Sack

Marlo Gallo … Dr. Lombardi

June Walker … Mrs. McDonald

Keith and Kerry Simon as infant Ruben

Billy Mumy as boy counting Jean’s pearls

Juanita Moore as Julius’ Mother

CREW:

Produced by: Stanley Kramer

Associate Producer: Philip Langner

Directed by: John Cassavetes

Assistant Director: Douglas Green, Lindsey Parsons

Associate Producer: Philip Langner

Screenplay by: Abby Mann, Based upon his story

Music: Ernest Gold

Production Design: Rudolph Sternad

Art Direction: Rudolph Sternad

Set decoration: Joseph Kish

Miss Garland’s Wardrobe by: Howard Shoup

Make Up: George Lane

Hair Stylist: Al Paul

Song “Snowflakes” by: Marjorie D. Kurtz

Poem “The Mist & I” by: Dixie Wilson

Technical Assistance provided by State of California Department of Mental Hygiene and Pacific State Hospital

Sound Engineer: James Speak

Director of Photography: Joseph La Shelle

Film Editors: Gene Fowler, Jr.; Robert C. Jones

Media