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Johnny Belinda (1948)

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

Director:

Jean Negulesco

Writers:

Irma von Cube (screenplay) (as Irmgard VonCube), Allen Vincent (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jane Wyman ... Belinda McDonald
Lew Ayres ... Dr. Robert Richardson
Charles Bickford ... Black MacDonald
Agnes Moorehead ... Aggie MacDonald
Stephen McNally ... Locky McCormick
Jan Sterling ... Stella McCormick
Rosalind Ivan ... Mrs. Poggety
Dan Seymour ... Pacquet - Storekeeper
Mabel Paige ... Mrs. Lutz
Ida Moore ... Mrs. McKee
Alan Napier ... Defense Attorney
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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:

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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

14 September 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Belinda See more »

Filming Locations:

Fort Bragg, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only film to be nominated for Best Actor and Actress Oscars that year. See more »

Goofs

When Belinda fires one barrel of what looks like a 12 gauge, double-barreled, shotgun at Locky McCormick, there is no recoil of any kind, not even a slight twitch. That seems very unlikely given the size of the gun. See more »

Quotes

Locky McCormick: [to the trembling Belinda as he is about to rape her] Your heart's poundin'. I caught a sea gull once. It had the same scared look.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also shown in computer colorized version. See more »


Soundtracks

Come, Thou Almighty King
(1769) (uncredited)
Music by Felice de Giardini
Words anonymous
First stanza sung by the church congregation
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Wyman's finest hour
13 February 2006 | by Dan-13See all my reviews

Every great actress has one signature role, the film for which she's forever identified because of the amazing impression she leaves on the screen. Rosalind Russell has Hildy Johnson in "His Girl Friday," Judy Garland has Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz," and Jane Wyman has Belinda MacDonald in "Johnny Belinda." Without saying a word, Wyman speaks volumes as the lonely deaf mute who learns about love and tenderness from doctor Lew Ayres as well as fear from bully Stephen McNally. She shines in every scene and creates one of the most touching characterizations ever put on screen. Moments such as her discovery of music and her sign-reading of the Lord's Prayer are beautifully done with a skill exceeding those of the best silent screen stars. Her Oscar was richly deserved.

Wyman, though, is not alone in creating this great film. Ayres, Charles Bickford, Agnes Moorehead and Jan Sterling all give complex, layered performances that make each character believable and memorable. And "Johnny Belinda" would probably not be as powerful or moving without the exceptional black-and-white photography and Max Steiner's lovely score, one of his finest, which underscores every moment. Warner Bros. deserves extra credit for taking on a delicate subject (the rape of a deaf character was hardly typical screen fare in the 1940s) and handling it in a tasteful manner.

Ultimately, the movie is a showcase for Jane Wyman who rightly became Warner Bros.' top female star upon its release. She and the film are unforgettable.


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