7.2/10
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15 user 1 critic

What the Deaf Man Heard (1997)

Arriving in a new town, a child pretends to be deaf-mute to protect himself - a ruse which works so well that for twenty years he is custodian to all the town's secrets.

Director:

John Kent Harrison

Writers:

G.D. Gearino (novel), Robert W. Lenski (teleplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Modine ... Sammy Ayers
Claire Bloom ... Mrs. Tynan
Judith Ivey ... Lucille
James Earl Jones ... Archibald Thacker
Jerry O'Connell ... Reverend Perry Ray Pruitt
Bernadette Peters ... Helen Ayers
Tom Skerritt ... Norm Jenkins
Anne Bobby ... Tallasse Tynan
Stephen Spinella ... Percy
Jake Weber ... Tolliver Tynan
Frankie Muniz ... Young Sammy
Andy Stahl ... Finis
Tyler Noyes Tyler Noyes ... Young Tolliver
Hallee Hirsh ... Young Tallasse
Teagle F. Bougere ... Abraham Thacker
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Storyline

In 1945, a young boy arrives in a small Georgia town on a bus from which his mother was abducted and murdered. Alone he sits quietly and everyone becomes convinced that he is deaf and mute. Deciding that silence offers some power and protection, the boy decides to remain mute and just listens to all that is being said around him by people who think that he cannot hear. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For twenty years, he lived in silence. Now his heart needs to speak the truth.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: What the Deaf Man Heard (#47.1) See more »

Filming Locations:

Wilmington, North Carolina, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The musical leitmotif heard throughout the film is "My Ship," composed by Ira Gershwin and Kurt Weill. At the end of the film it is sung by Bernadette Peters, who plays Helen Ayers at the beginning of the film. See more »

Goofs

Norm Jenkins finds Sammy's suitcase and learns his identity but doesn't tell anyone about the suitcase. Yet the entire town knew and used his full name, presumably starting soon after his first day in Barrington, and the police never searched for his mother after that first day even though his name was known. See more »

Quotes

Reverend Perry Ray Pruitt: Burn 'em I say.
Mrs. Tynan: Oh, he's good.
Tallasse Tynan: Don't you think cremation is a little harsh?
See more »

Connections

Edited into Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Messy mixture of styles spoils fine acting.
8 July 1999 | by David-240See all my reviews

There are some terrific performances in this film - Matthew Modine, Tom Skerritt, Judith Ivey, James Earl Jones - but the director and writer seem uncertain whether this is a sentimental drama or a satirical comedy. As it stands it is a peculiar mixture of both with the drama spoiling the comedy and the comedy spoiling the drama. And what a terrible waste of the magnificent talent of Claire Bloom!


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