7.7/10
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Johnny Belinda (1948)

Unrated | | Drama | 14 September 1948 (USA)
Trailer
2:36 | Trailer
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 »
Reviews
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

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

Quotes

Stella McCormick: He's a... something even you can't pronounce!
Locky McCormick: Probably something not fit to mention.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also shown in computer colorized version. 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

Touching Without being Sappy
7 January 2013 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

To me the Academy Awards are much more a matter of industry politics than real artistic achievement. Here, however, that's definitely not the case. Wyman's deaf mute is one of the more moving portrayals that I've seen in some 60-years of movie watching. She manages to express more with her eyes alone than most actresses do with their entire emoting. Thanks to Wyman, it's a rare glimpse into a delicate soul, though I do hope she wasn't being paid by line of dialog.

In fact, the entire cast is outstanding, though visually McNally and Sterling approach caricature in his dark looks and her blonde cheapness. Of course, the topics of rape and a wedlock baby were pretty explosive stuff for the Production Code of the time, but the writers handle the material deftly. At the same time, the murder of MacDonald (Bickford) is often overlooked in terms of the Code. After all, the murder goes unrecognized in the courtroom accounting and in that sense goes unpunished even in an expanded moral sense.

Something should also be said about director Negulesco's compelling visual compositions. Happily, so many of the interior frames are arranged richly in detail, while the moody landscapes reflect a perceptive artistic eye. All in all, we get both an atmospheric fishing village and a series of eye-catching visuals both of which expertly complement the storyline.

No need to echo more aspects of this much-discussed film, except to say that Hollywood managed here to overcome one of the industry's biggest pitfalls—a kind of soap opera that's truly touching without being sappy. Thank you, Warner Bros.!


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