This film is part of Free

Life With Junior

Saved by the timely advice of a child expert! A jealous sister is poised to smash a bottle over her baby brother’s head, until the wise words of a counsellor avert disaster.

Documentary 1948 18 mins


Despite its focus on boys, this 1948 film from March of Time presents an enlightened view of child development which reflects changing times and attitudes. Traditional pastimes - fording streams, kicking a can down the street - and newer hobbies, such as reading comics and listening to gangster series on the radio, are all seen as helping the development of the child’s imagination, in a charming film which leavens its ration of cute children with some serious insights into child psychology.

Made with the Child Study Association of America (CSAA) and reflecting series producer Richard De Rochement’s interest in psychology, this film is in tune with a family-oriented postwar America, in which the marriage and birth-rate had soared, and attitudes towards child development were changing. Using convincingly realistic misbehaving children to recreate case studies from the files of the CSAA, the film shows how understanding rather than coercion could be used to change behavioural problems relating to food and sibling rivalry. Less appealing are precocious kids on Jack Barry’s popular ‘Juvenile Jury’ TV show, glimpsed here reciting their wisecracks in a mercifully brief clip.