7.8/10
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58 user 21 critic

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:

There was temptation in her helpless silence...and then 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

With 12 nominations, the most nominated film of its 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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Freshman (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

The Maple Leaf Forever
(uncredited)
Music by Alexander Muir
Played during opening narration
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Dominant Performances Are the Order of the Day.
1 April 2003 | by tfrizzellSee 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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