A Child Went Forth (film #312 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]

This 40s film documents a progressive summer camp for young children, one that allows them to spend their time in free play, learning to solve their own problems. Mostly what we see are idylic images of small children playing freely in a farm setting. Adult supervision seems minimal, but the kids never seem to get really out of control, so you know that there must have been some limits. This film recalls a time when people seemed to be a lot less afraid of children or for children––I doubt whether much of this would fly today. The kids are genuinely cute and charming and the scenes seem quite realistic. The only thing that bothered me was some of the interactions with animals––these were for the most part little kids who didn't yet realize that animals have feelings and that if you pick up a bunny by its ears, it hurts. I think a little more adult supervision was called for there. There are also some brief, innocent scenes of nudity, generally involving water play, that may seem disturbing from today's perspective, but probably were not problematic in that time and place. This is a charming film, for the most part, though. If you like to watch little kids playing in an outdoor setting, then this is your movie.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

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