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Johnny Belinda (1948)

Unrated | | Drama | 14 September 1948 (USA)
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.

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(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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Storyline

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

Taglines:

There was temptation in her helpless silence...and then torment See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Release Date:

14 September 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Belinda  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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." See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Dr. Robert Richardson: Your Lordship, I insist this girl obeyed an impulse older than the laws of man: the instinct of a mother to protect her child.
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Connections

Referenced in It's a Great Feeling (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Come, Thou Almighty King
(1769) (uncredited)
Music by Felice de Giardini
Words anonymous
First stanza sung by the church congregation
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Dominant Performances Are the Order of the Day.
1 April 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Outstanding and forgotten masterpiece from the late-1940s that led the way in 1948 with a dozen Oscar nominations, but somehow lost most of its steam as the Academy Awards were handed out. The titled character (Jane Wyman in a well-deserved Oscar-winning part) is a beautiful young lady who sadly happens to be deaf and mute. She is treated as an outcast by those within her Nova Scotia village's landscape. Her father (Oscar-nominee Charles Bickford) and aunt (Oscar-nominee Agnes Moorehead) love her very much, but become easily frustrated when they have trouble communicating with the youth on their small farm. When kind doctor Lew Ayres (yet another Oscar-nominee) comes to town he begins to teach Wyman how to read, teach her sign language and teaches her about life and love. Naturally those within the community despise the new outsider (they have never cared for Wyman and her family either). Jan Sterling comes to hate the doctor as she is turned down by Ayers and town bully Stephen McNally commits a horrific act by raping Wyman one night in her father's barn. A pregnancy occurs and the townspeople believe that Ayers is the culprit. Now those unfriendly people in the community wish to take Wyman's new-born child for their own, believing that Wyman is not fit to be a mother. Jean Negulesco (Oscar-nominated for direction) was a film-maker that never got too cute. He let his performers dominate the action and "Johnny Belinda" is no exception here. His subtle direction just adds to everyone else in the film. "Johnny Belinda" sometimes plays more like a stage play than an actual motion picture (this is a compliment by the way) and that just adds to the emotions and realism that are displayed throughout this fine movie. 5 stars out of 5.


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