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Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb and Sidney Meyers' credit reads: "Written and edited by." The film begins with the following written foreword: "This film was made in New York City and at the Wiltwyck School at Esopus, New York. Wiltwyck is a school for boys of New York City who have reacted with grave disturbance of personality to neglect in their homes and in their community, and who, for various reasons of age, religion, race or special maladjustments are not cared for by other agencies." According to reviews, the story was based on case histories at Wiltwyck.
Production notes add the following information about the film: This was the first production of Film Documents, Inc., which had been organized two years earlier. Donald Thompson was not a professional actor. Because his father would not allow him to miss school to make the film, the picture was shot after school and on the weekends. Filming took place during the summer, when Thompson lived at Wiltwyck with the other boys. Clarence Cooper was an actual counselor at Wiltwyck, and Paul Baucum was a musician. Estelle Evans and Sadie Stockton were the only professional actors in the film. Levitt and Loeb had previously made a short film in East Harlem, and according to the Variety review, some scenes in this film were also shot in Harlem. The review also notes that "while Thompson is a Negro, the film makes no explicit comments on any racial problems, developing a story that could have happened to any kid." A November 12, 1948 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that the 16mm film was made for $30,000. It received Academy Award nominations for Best Documentary Feature and for Best Writing.