Johnny Belinda (1948)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir  |  14 September 1948 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,943 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 19 critic

In post-war Cape Breton, a doctor's efforts to tutor a deaf/mute woman are undermined when she is raped, and the resulting pregnancy causes scandal to swirl.



(screenplay) (as Irmgard VonCube) , (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Stephen McNally ...
Rosalind Ivan ...
Dan Seymour ...
Mabel Paige ...
Ida Moore ...


Dr. Robert Richardson, a dedicated young general practitioner, seeks to establish himself in an isolated fishing village on Cape Breton Island off the Nova Scotia coast. The population is poor and the struggling physician generally gets paid for his efforts in barter. When he meets Belinda McDonald, a young deaf mute callously dismissed by family and neighbors as "the dummy," he alone senses her innate intelligence. He overcomes the initial skepticism of her flinty, gruff father and indifferently cold aunt, who operate a hardscrabble grist mill and farm, and devotes himself to teaching the young girl sign language and lip-reading. Hopes are even raised that she might even eventually qualify for a medical procedure that might improve her condition. Her optimism is crushed, however, when she raped by Locky McCormick, a brutish local fisherman. Traumatized, she is unable to communicate the outrage to her family, who are baffled and angry when they learn she is pregnant. The local gossips... Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


She was alone with terror - and torment! See more »


Drama | Film-Noir


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

14 September 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Belinda  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jane Wyman's Oscar acceptance speech is reportedly the shortest on record for Best Actress: "I won this award by keeping my mouth shut and I think I'll do it again." Sir John Mills bowed and said nothing after winning Best Supporting Actor for playing a mute in Ryan's Daughter (1970). See more »


The adoption papers from the council misspell the possessive "its" as "it's." See more »


Stella McCormick: He's a... something even you can't pronounce!
Locky McCormick: Probably something not fit to mention.
See more »


Referenced in Ellery Queen: The Adventure of the Mad Tea Party (1975) See more »


Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played at the church after the wedding
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Wonderful All-Around Film
31 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a great storytelling and movie-making rolled into one and I can see why it was up for so many Academy Awards in its day (when they rewarded the best movies.)

Jane Wyman seems to get the most attention here but I was totally impressed not only with her but all the actors, the director and the photographer. All excelled in this film, I thought - a great effort all-around.

Wyman and Lew Ayers were terrific in the leads, playing endearing characters who were easy to become involved with and root for in this story. Wyman, like Dorothy McGuire in "The Spiral Staircase" (1945) and Alan Arkin in "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter" (1968), plays a deaf mute effectively with haunting, expressive facial features. I hope people don't overlook Ayers' extremely warm performance as the doctor who truly cares for this woman. Ayers plays a very decent man and does it with a lot of dignity.

Charles Bickford was powerful, too, as Belinda's father and ditto for the always-entertaining Agnes Moorhead, playing Belinda's sister. I can't leave out the "villains," either: Stephen McNally, who really looks his part, and his reluctant bride Jan Sterling, an underrated classic-era actress.

Jean Negulesco's direction provided numerous interesting low and high-angle camera shots and cinematographer Ted McCord made the most of it, including some great facial closeups. To be honest, I am not familiar with either of these two names but I was very impressed with their work here. Oh.....having Max Steiner doing the music didn't hurt, either!

The film gets a little melodramatic at times but it's never overdone. The story flows nicely. No scene - pleasant or unpleasant - overstays its welcome. You get a cohesive blend of heartfelt sentiment, romance, drama and suspense. In addition, the DVD transfer of this film is magnificent. I would like to have seen some behind-the-scenes features with the disc, but the film was so good I am not complaining.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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