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|Index||50 reviews in total|
I caught this movie on a local station where I live and decided to watch
because my growing interest in older movies and it has become one of my
Jane Wyman did an excellent job and deserved the Oscar that she won despite the fact that she didn't utter a single word. With her sweet face and expressive eyes, she did a wonderful job of telling Belinda's story.
That said, I was quite surprised that that is the only Oscar that this film won for that year. I don't know who was up against Lew Ayres or Charles Bickford, but I thought they were quite impressive as well.
A very moving drama. Jane Wyman won an Oscar for her stunning portrayal of a deaf mute who is raped, then tried for murder. Lew Ayres plays the concerned doctor that befriends her. A very touching story featuring a strong supporting cast:Charles Bickford, Agnes Moorehead and Stephen McNally. The winsome Jan Sterling is hard to ignore. Nominated for a dozen Academy Awards and well worth your watching.
I am from the small island of Cape Breton. I just wanna know where
exactly it was filmed at. It was 31 years before I was born, but I am
glad to know Cape Breton has some Oscar history to it. Someone e-mail
with the response....
Some of the names sound like they'd be "fishing" names. They should film some more movies in Cape Breton. Maybe a 3-hour epic action movie or a silly comedy.
Take Care, everybody, and if anyone that reads this message gets a chance to come to Cape Breton, go visit the Cabot Trail. It's consistently ranked as one of the top 5 scenic destinations in the world. Think about it....
You have to love a movie where a group of three old ladies sitting at a dance comment upon the people on the dance floor. Pointing to one lady across the way, old lady #1 says, "She dances well for someone who just had all of her arteries cut out." "No, not her arteries," old lady #2 says. Then they all huddle together to discuss which body parts she had removed. That shows you the age of the movie. It's melodramatic and hokey in places, but it's still a gem of a story with compelling performances all around. I love the seaside setting. It prevents the movie from feeling as stodgy as it does later when they enter the courtroom.
It is a good movie. The photography is beautiful and the performances
are all quite good, though Jane is all wide-eyed and demure. Not a lot
of variety there. The courtroom scene at the end is just not dramatic
and that is the film's weakest part.
But the thing that will always hurt this film now is that by 2012 we learned that it is not possible for a woman to become pregnant because of rape so the dramatic edge is gone. It seems like a more innocent world today. Think, back then a woman not only had to feel the humiliation and anger from rape but had the fear of being pregnant. Such an easier world we live in now that that can no longer happen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wyman does first rate body and sign language as a deafmute Harm my kid
and I will blow you away.
None of the male roles are very appealing -- this is totally Wyman's eyes and face.
Best scene: The man who raped Wyman comes to take away his child by rape, and Wyman grabs a rifle and blasts him away.
I do not like the Reagans very much, but it is interesting hearing what the rightwing radio talkshow host Michael Reagan says about Wyman. The Reagan/Wyman marriage happened when Ronald was still an FDR liberal, and they adopted Michael. He was as mystified by Wyman as Ronald was.
You see Jane Wyman's primordial power in this movie
Drama about a deaf mute (Jane Wyman) growing up on the coast of Nova
Scotia with her caring but gruff father (Charles Bickford) and his
sullen sister (Agnes Moorehead). She's never seen by the other
townspeople and is regarded as an idiot. A new doctor in town (Lew
Ayres) begins to take an interest in her and draws her out of her
shell. She is then raped, gives birth to a baby and has to deal with
people who think its her fault and that she's not a fit mother.
Good but not great. The view of rape and deaf mutes is more than a little dated and this moves slowly and quietly--too quietly. I suppose it had to be treated cautiously (rape was still a taboo subject in 1948) but Wyman's quick recovery from a vicious rape was ridiculous. Still it looks great and captures the atmosphere of a small fishing village perfectly. Wyman is very good in her role, but how she got an Academy Award for this is beyond me. She's good but not THAT good! Bickford and Moorehead were exceptional in their roles. The only disappointment was Lew Ayres. Very wooden and way too goody-goody to take seriously.
So it's good but not that good. I give it a 7.
Infuriating picture about a deaf mute in a fishing village who is raped and gives birth to a son. This is the kind of movie wherein the mute is not only an outcast amongst the townspeople, but who has only one person supporting her (a noble doctor). The gossipy biddies and the rapist himself are all against the girl and band together to take her child away. It's like "Heidi" for grown-ups. Jane Wyman gives a sympathetic, Oscar-winning lead performance, but she is nearly defeated by the ridiculousness of this contrived plot, not to mention the pedagogic direction which is occasionally condescending to us in the audience--as if we were all Sunday school students. ** from ****
I had always heard of this film and of Jane Wyman in it, who won an
Oscar. I then saw the film and wondered, why did she win? Her work was
sweet and simple and competent, but certainly not of Oscar caliber.
Also, the film was the overly sentimental and sugary Reader's
Digest/Hallmark type of film-making that was so common in the
family-worshiping 40's. I never liked that sappy way of storytelling so
did not think the film was very good either. Some famous films of those
years were made in that soap opera way but few of them hold up at all
well with today's much more sophisticated audiences. It was a simpler
and more innocent time then, yes, but many truly good films were made
as that was the heyday of noir. This was not one of the good ones.
After a bit of research into a possible reason why Wyman won I found an obvious reason....she had lost a baby recently and resulting public sympathy for her won out over the superior work of others, exactly like Liz Taylor's public sympathy Oscar win years later following her near death from pneumonia. Neither one deserved to win. Check Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker, Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, or Dustin Hoffman in Rainman for actors who truly deserved their wins in stories about the handicapped. What a giant difference between their work and Wyman's in this film.
The story about a Nova Scotia fishing village around 1900 was interesting early on but was soon made about as unrealistic as it could possibly be, as it hinged on one incredulous point.....Wyman's deaf and mute character was viciously raped and made pregnant but she was never pushed or forced to "communicate" who the rapist father of her bastard child was! That obvious exposure would have ruined the trumped-up plot that the film depended upon. There is no way that outrageous act would ever happen in that area at that time and be swept under the rug in those days of strict religious and social conformity and personal integrity. The entire plot hinged on keeping the rapist's identity a secret until the end, and that plot phoniness ruined the story's credibility to me. Actually, it was all pretty unsophisticated film-making even for those days and not at all convincing throughout.
Best things about it.....the beautiful Northern California coast standing in for Nova Scotia, and the "sign" teaching of Wyman's character by the doctor so she could communicate, but then she never used it to tell anyone who the criminal father of her child was! That dumb story line really insulted the audience's intelligence.
So, in the end, Wyman got the publicity and the award, but the work of Lew Ayres as the doctor, Charles Bickford as her father, and Agnes Morehead as her aunt in their roles was superior to hers but was not awarded. Overall, I think this film and Wyman's work are very overrated and hardly watchable in this modern film-making era where we are much less accepting of the excessive use of sappy story sentimentalism.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie stands out as being more beautifully photographed than
typical dramas of the time. Granted, its 'Noir' peers are nothing to
sniff at, but this is more directly filmed, only occasionally breaking
into the Noir dynamic range, with dark blacks and striking
compositions. It's a regional Noir drama, reminiscent of Clash by
Unfortunately the photography is all that recommends this corny retread of The Scarlet Letter. The earnestness of every character is overbearing. The movie cheats all of its characters of depth with continual narrative cop-outs. At a potentially explosive scene, where Belinda might be harmed, the doctor arrives the very second he's needed to prevent the expected outburst, which should have been one of the movie's major dramatic moments. Gee, he sure is a swell guy! Belinda has only two modes, 1) pleasant/approval-seeking and 2) hurt. She's utterly neutral, a device to wring pity out of viewers and hang a sermon on. But pity isn't dramatically very interesting. And any unpleasantness or rage she's entitled to (and which would make her three dimensional) is erased from the script.
All that's left to film is a mathematical balancing of moral points and a conventional romance. The actors are all over the map trying to suggest a Nova Scotian accent... Irish brogues, Canadian dipthongs, Scottish, Cockney, upper class British, American. What the hell... They should have tossed in Jamaican and pirate accents just for laughs.
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