This is a truly touching movie that pulls no punches. Witness the first time we meet Margaret - she is being returned to the orphanage by her adoptive "mother", a woman too busy with her social life to pay attention to this needy child, and who punishes her for crying. Young Peter is unable to talk; the return of a stuffed lamb that John had inadvertently placed in his pocket turns out to be the key to his return to normalcy. Another child screams any time she sees a man - it was a man who pulled her from the horror of her bombed home. The film not only gives us a look at the war's effect on the children, but on adults as well. Our hearts ached for the older couple who long to adopt a child, but cannot seem to make emotional contact with either Peter or Margaret (we all hoped that another child would be offered to this loving people).
Robert Young is just wonderful here, as is Laraine Day (who leaves the action midway through the film). And Fay Bainter is just lovely as a woman who refuses to surrender on any of her young charges. Finally, there are the children. It goes without saying that Margaret O'Brien can break your heart (watch her breakdown when Trudi gives her "permission" to cry), but equally good is William Severn as Peter. A young man with a very short film career, Severn is just splendid as the anchor of the film.
This is a jewel of a picture. Give it a try. In the interim, take a look at the trailer: