Ulysses Kay: Twentieth Century Composer

Film and Television Scores > The Quiet One - Film


"The Quiet One" is a documentary film about Donald Thompson, then ten years old, written and directed by Sidney Meyers,  with commentary by James Agee, narrated by Gary Merrill, and additional photography by Richard Bagley.

In his February 14, 1949 review of the film in the New York Times, Bosley Crowther wrote: "Out of the tortured experiences of a 10-year-old Harlem Negro boy, cruelly rejected by his loved ones but rescued by the people of the Wiltwyck School, a new group of local film-makers has fashioned a genuine masterpiece in the way of a documentary drama."

The still photographer Helen Levitt was one of the film's cinematographers and writers, along with the painter Janice Loeb. The film's three writers - Meyers, Loeb, and Levitt - were nominated for the Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Academy Award; the film itself was also nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award. The National Board of Review named "The Quiet One" the second best film of 1949.


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