As a psychologist, Dr Clark is the head of the Crawthorne State Training Institute, one of the first boarding schools exclusively for developmentally challenged children. Sympathetic but demanding when it comes to his teachers and students, the doctor’s tough love approach often causes controversy.
When he meets gentle aspiring pianist Jean Hansen, who has no background in nursing or teaching, he takes a chance and hires her as the school music teacher. Hansen immediately bonds with an autistic student named Rueben (Bruce Ritchey), whose parents have never visited in the two years of his enrolment.
Dr Clark believes the way to handle this trauma is to treat Rueben no differently from other students, while Hansen believes the absence of parents means the child requires her undivided attention. Whose method will prevail?
Directed by the legendary John Cassavetes (Rosemary’s Baby, The Dirty Dozen), who the New Yorker dubbed ‘the most influential American director of the last half century.’
“Cassavetes elicits magnificent performances from his cast, making especially fine use of Garland’s tremulous emotionalism… fascinating.” – Time Out