The Quiet One (film)

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The Quiet One
The Quiet One VideoCover.jpeg
Directed bySidney Meyers
Written byHelen Levitt
Janice Loeb
Sidney Meyers
James Agee (commentary)
Produced byJanice Loeb
StarringGary Merrill
Donald Thompson
Clarence Cooper
Sadie Stockton
Estelle Evans
Paul Baucum
CinematographyRichard Bagley
Helen Levitt
Janice Loeb
Music byUlysses Kay
Film Documents, Inc.
Distributed byArthur Mayer & Joseph Burstyn
Release date
Running time
65 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Quiet One is a 1948 American documentary film directed by Sidney Meyers. The documentary chronicles the rehabilitation of a young, emotionally disturbed African-American boy; it contains a commentary written by James Agee, and narrated by Gary Merrill.[1] In his 1949 review, Bosley Crowther characterized the film succinctly:[1]

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, who also produced. The neoclassical composer Ulysses Kay wrote the score for the film. The film's principal cinematographer, Richard Bagley, also photographed the critically acclaimed New York semidocumentary feature On the Bowery.

The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 21st Academy Awards, losing to The Secret Land, and was then nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay at the 22nd Academy Awards the next year, losing to Battleground. Along with Street Angel, it is one of two English-language films to receive Oscar nominations in separate years.

The National Board of Review named The Quiet One the second best film of 1949.


  1. ^ a b Crowther, Bosley (1949). "'The Quiet One,' Documentary of a Rejected Boy, Arrives at the Little Carnegie," The New York Times February 14, 1949. Online version retrieved Jan. 12, 2008.

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