Children Of A Lesser God


1h 50m 1986
Children Of A Lesser God

Brief Synopsis

A teacher at a school for the deaf marries a rebellious pupil.

Film Details

Also Known As
Bortom alla ord
MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Medical
Adaptation
Release Date
1986
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Location
New Brunswick, Canada; Maine, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m

Synopsis

Sarah Norman is a young deaf woman, working as a custodian at a New England school for the deaf and hard of hearing. Enthusiastic James Leeds has just joined the teaching staff and encourages Sarah to break free from her insulated life by learning to talk. But Sarah prefers to use sign language and vehemently resists his efforts to change her way of life. Despite the friction between them, James and Sarah fall in love and, before long, are living together; however, their mutual stubbornness causes great conflict between them.

Crew

Hesper Anderson

Screenplay

Fabienne April

Costumes

Renee April

Costume Designer

Johann Sebastian Bach

Music

Guenter Bartlik

Scenic Artist

Alan R Barwiolek

Technical Advisor

Mary Bauer

Associate Editor

David Beaudrow

Driver

George Berndt

Adr Editor

Ruth Bird

Sound Editor

Bryan Blanford

Production Assistant

Else Blangsted

Music Editor

Jack Blessing

Other

Chris Boardman

Original Music

Daniel R Bradette

Property Master Assistant

Marie Brazil

Location Assistant

Ann Brodie

Makeup

Paul Brown

Audio Consultant

J Tracy Budd

Property Master

Jerry Butler

Song

Gene Callahan

Production Designer

Jan A Campbell

Assistant Production Accountant

Eve Cantor

Production Assistant

James Carrington

Consultant

Robin Chaykin

Production Associate

Brian Cole

Craft Service

Joyce L Cole

Other

Michael Convertino

Music

Michael Convertino

Original Music

Michael Convertino

Song

Christopher Cook

Production Coordinator

Carmine Coppola

Song

Marnie Craig

Caterer

David Crone

Steadicam Operator

Robert Daprato

Dolly Grip

Susanna David

Script Supervisor

Mario Davignon

Production Assistant

Thomas Doherty

Art Director

Dody Dorn

Sound Editor

Dennis Drummond

Sound Editor

Patrick Drummond

Sound Editor

Kathy Ebbinghaus

Art Assistant

Sammy Fain

Song

Steve Ferrier

Electrician

John Frederics

Production Assistant

Mark Freeborn

Set Decorator

Leigh French

Other

Lisa Fruchtman

Editor

Barry Gardner

Other

Walter Gest

Sound

Terry Gould

Production Assistant

Paul Gravel

Assistant Camera Operator

Robert Grieve

Sound Editor

Dave Grinstead

Grip

Nicholas Guest

Other

Manfred Guthe

Director Of Photography

Manfred Guthe

Dp/Cinematographer

Archie Hahn

Other

Lorenz Hart

Song

Alvertis Isbell

Song

Stephen Jacobs

Other

Weits Jekel

Construction

Kevin Jewison

Assistant Camera Operator

Michael Jewison

Location Manager

Margaret Johnson

Other

Irving Kahal

Song

Jim Kaufman

Assistant Director

Richard Kendall

Technical Advisor

Candace Koethe

Associate Producer

Craig S Kohne

Driver

Ron Lambert

Color Timer

Ruth Lambert

Casting Associate

Paul Leblanc

Hair

Gilles Leonard

On-Set Dresser

Richard Lightstone

Sound

Robert J Litt

Sound

Steve Maslow

Sound

Barbra Matis

Art Director

Rose Marie Mcsherry

Set Decorator

Mark Medoff

Screenplay

Mark Medoff

Play As Source Material

Tony Merzetti

Apprentice

Mary Beth Miller

Technical Advisor

Steven Mitchell

Song

Margaret Amy Moar

Stand-In

Leanne Moore

Production Accountant

Stephanie Ng

Sound Editor

Pierre Norman

Song

Michael O'connor

On-Set Dresser

Bonnie Palef

Production Coordinator

Patrick Palmer

Producer

Joseph Peters

Electrician

Toni Phillips

Production Assistant

Michel Pradier

Production Assistant

Bill Pryde

Assistant Camera Operator

Otis Redding

Song Performer

Otis Redding

Song

Stephane Reichel

Unit Production Manager

Gretchen Rennell

Casting

Ron Renzetti

Grip

Richard Reseigne

Construction Coordinator

Valley Via Reseigne

Production Coordinator

Richard Rodgers

Song

Matos Rodriguez

Song

Paul Roscorla

Electrician

Laurence Rosenthal

Song

Arthur Rowsell

Costumes

Nikki Sahagen

Choreographer

John Seale

Dp/Cinematographer

John Seale

Director Of Photography

Takashi Seida

Photography

Marti Sharron

Song

Patti Shore

Other

Dan Siretta

Choreographer

Gary Skardina

Song

The Staple Singers

Song Performer

Krista Steeves

Production Assistant

Lynne Marie Stewart

Other

Burt Sugarman

Producer

Nick Sweetman

Transportation Coordinator

Randal Tambling

Key Grip

Ron Thiessen

Special Effects Assistant

James L Thompson

Boom Operator

Rae Thurston

Electrician

Joanne Tickle

Other

Neil Trifunovich

Special Effects Coordinator

Elliot Tyson

Sound

Pat Vaughan

Stand-In

Gigi Vorgan

Other

Shirley Walker

Original Music

Shirley Walker

Music Conductor

Dan Wallin

Music

Carole A Wattles

Accountant

Jenny Weyman-cockle

Assistant Editor

Linda Whittlesey

Foley Editor

Kim Winther

Assistant Director

Film Details

Also Known As
Bortom alla ord
MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Medical
Adaptation
Release Date
1986
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Location
New Brunswick, Canada; Maine, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m

Award Wins

Best Actress

1986
Marlee Matlin

Award Nominations

Best Actor

1986
William Hurt

Best Adapted Screenplay

1986

Best Picture

1986

Best Supporting Actress

1986
Piper Laurie

Articles

Children Of A Lesser God


Life imitates art in Randa Haines' film adaptation of Mark Medoff's Tony-award-winning play, Children Of A Lesser God (1986). Marlee Matlin, a 19-yr-old newcomer at the time, stars as Sarah Norman, an embittered graduate of the Governor Kittridge School for the hearing-impaired. William Hurt plays James Leeds, the unconventional speech therapist at the school, who teaches Sarah about survival, trust and love in a world she has never known. And like the two main characters in Children Of A Lesser God, Matlin and Hurt embarked on a real-life romance during filming.

By the 1980s, William Hurt had established himself as the most promising dramatic actor of his generation. While he was heralded for his performances in Altered States (1979), Body Heat (1981), and Gorky Park (1983), it wasn't until his Academy Award¨ winning performance in Kiss Of The Spider Woman (1985) that he really was touted as a great actor.

Marlee Matlin was hearing-impaired before she was two as a result of infantile measles. Despite her handicap, she was fiercely determined to become an actress and at the age of nineteen won the title role in Children Of A Lesser God after a six month talent search throughout the U.S., Canada, Sweden, and Great Britain. The story goes that Matlin was spotted in a video of a Chicago theatrical production in which she played a minor role and her performance captivated the producers.

In an interview with the New York Daily News Matlin said: "I guess I have a Zorba spirit because I like being free and doing what I want. I used to be a very angry deaf person, like Sarah in Children Of A Lesser God...I even wrote a letter to President Ford asking why he didn't have closed captions for his TV speeches. He didn't answer." This outspoken nature was also indicative of Matlin's formidable presence on a film set. The actress recalled the struggle she had with director Randa Haines during the making of Children Of A Lesser God in a New York magazine article. The two had a major altercation about Matlin's unwillingness to learn to smoke for the film. Haines won the argument and ordered Matlin to practice smoking two months prior to production. In sheer defiance, Matlin chose to begin smoking a week before shooting commenting that, "[Haines didn't] control [her] life, [she didn't] control [Haines']."

On the other hand, Matlin did feel she had a lot to learn from her real-life lover and teacher, William Hurt, and moved into his Central Park West apartment as soon as filming was completed. Ironically enough, during the 1986 Oscar® ceremony, Hurt was the presenter of the Best Actress Oscar® and was delighted to announce Matlin as the winner. (Her competition included Sissy Spacek in Crimes of the Heart, Jane Fonda in The Morning After, Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, and Kathleen Turner in Peggy Sue Got Married). With the aid of an interpreter, Matlin thanked the cast and crew of the film, "particularly William Hurt for his great support and love." Columnist Army Archerd later wrote, "the audience at home could not see the warm and long embrace she received from William Hurt as she came offstage."

Children Of A Lesser God (1986) was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Hurt), Best Supporting Actress (Piper Laurie), and Best Adapted Screenplay. The title, by the way, comes from a line in an Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, Idylls of the King.

Director: Randa Haines
Producer: Patrick Palmer, Burt Sugarman
Screenwriter: Hesper Anderson, Lloyd Fonvielle, Mark Medoff
Cinematographer: John Seale
Composer: Michael Convertino
Editor: Lisa Fruchtman
Production Designer: Gene Callahan
Art Director: Barbara Matis
Costume Designer: Renee April
Cast: William Hurt (James Leeds), Marlee Matlin (Sarah Norman), Piper Laurie (Mrs. Norman), Philip Bosco (Dr. Curtis Franklin), Allison Gompf (Lydia).
C-119m. Letterboxed.

by Kerryn Sherrod

Children Of A Lesser God

Children Of A Lesser God

Life imitates art in Randa Haines' film adaptation of Mark Medoff's Tony-award-winning play, Children Of A Lesser God (1986). Marlee Matlin, a 19-yr-old newcomer at the time, stars as Sarah Norman, an embittered graduate of the Governor Kittridge School for the hearing-impaired. William Hurt plays James Leeds, the unconventional speech therapist at the school, who teaches Sarah about survival, trust and love in a world she has never known. And like the two main characters in Children Of A Lesser God, Matlin and Hurt embarked on a real-life romance during filming. By the 1980s, William Hurt had established himself as the most promising dramatic actor of his generation. While he was heralded for his performances in Altered States (1979), Body Heat (1981), and Gorky Park (1983), it wasn't until his Academy Award¨ winning performance in Kiss Of The Spider Woman (1985) that he really was touted as a great actor. Marlee Matlin was hearing-impaired before she was two as a result of infantile measles. Despite her handicap, she was fiercely determined to become an actress and at the age of nineteen won the title role in Children Of A Lesser God after a six month talent search throughout the U.S., Canada, Sweden, and Great Britain. The story goes that Matlin was spotted in a video of a Chicago theatrical production in which she played a minor role and her performance captivated the producers. In an interview with the New York Daily News Matlin said: "I guess I have a Zorba spirit because I like being free and doing what I want. I used to be a very angry deaf person, like Sarah in Children Of A Lesser God...I even wrote a letter to President Ford asking why he didn't have closed captions for his TV speeches. He didn't answer." This outspoken nature was also indicative of Matlin's formidable presence on a film set. The actress recalled the struggle she had with director Randa Haines during the making of Children Of A Lesser God in a New York magazine article. The two had a major altercation about Matlin's unwillingness to learn to smoke for the film. Haines won the argument and ordered Matlin to practice smoking two months prior to production. In sheer defiance, Matlin chose to begin smoking a week before shooting commenting that, "[Haines didn't] control [her] life, [she didn't] control [Haines']." On the other hand, Matlin did feel she had a lot to learn from her real-life lover and teacher, William Hurt, and moved into his Central Park West apartment as soon as filming was completed. Ironically enough, during the 1986 Oscar® ceremony, Hurt was the presenter of the Best Actress Oscar® and was delighted to announce Matlin as the winner. (Her competition included Sissy Spacek in Crimes of the Heart, Jane Fonda in The Morning After, Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, and Kathleen Turner in Peggy Sue Got Married). With the aid of an interpreter, Matlin thanked the cast and crew of the film, "particularly William Hurt for his great support and love." Columnist Army Archerd later wrote, "the audience at home could not see the warm and long embrace she received from William Hurt as she came offstage." Children Of A Lesser God (1986) was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Hurt), Best Supporting Actress (Piper Laurie), and Best Adapted Screenplay. The title, by the way, comes from a line in an Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, Idylls of the King. Director: Randa Haines Producer: Patrick Palmer, Burt Sugarman Screenwriter: Hesper Anderson, Lloyd Fonvielle, Mark Medoff Cinematographer: John Seale Composer: Michael Convertino Editor: Lisa Fruchtman Production Designer: Gene Callahan Art Director: Barbara Matis Costume Designer: Renee April Cast: William Hurt (James Leeds), Marlee Matlin (Sarah Norman), Piper Laurie (Mrs. Norman), Philip Bosco (Dr. Curtis Franklin), Allison Gompf (Lydia). C-119m. Letterboxed. by Kerryn Sherrod

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall October 3, 1986

Released in United States September 1986

Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 1986.

Released in USA on video.

Began shooting August 26, 1985.

Released in United States September 1986 (Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 1986.)

Released in United States Fall October 3, 1986