The Quiet One relates, in semidocumentary fashion, the inner workings of the Wiltwyck School for Boys at Esopus, New York. The nonprofessional cast is headed by Donald Thompson as emotionally disturbed youth Donald Peters. Under the compassionate ministrations of a psychiatric counselor (Clarence Cooper) (a real-life Wiltwyck counselor), Donald recalls the various traumatic events that have led up to his present troubled state. Though the film’s dialogue sounds spontaneous, it was pre-scripted by critic James Agee, who also narrates the film. Of particular interest to modern viewers is the fact that Donald Thompson is black. Unlike other “socially conscious” films of the late 1940s, The Quiet One does not make Donald’s race an issue in the proceedings; he is simply a disturbed young boy in need of sympathetic treatment.
Director: Sidney Meyers / Runtime: 68 mins / Date: 1948
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