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Johnny Belinda
     

Johnny Belinda

5.0 1
Director: Jean Negulesco

Cast: Jane Wyman, Lew Ayres, Charles Bickford

 

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After years of dumb-blonde and best-friend roles, Jane Wyman proved her skills as a dramatic actress -- and won an Academy Award in the bargain -- in Johnny Belinda. Adapted from a stage play by Elmer Harris, the story takes place in Nova Scotia, where deaf-mute Belinda (Wyman) leads a lonely existence on the hardscrabble farm of her father Black Macdonald

Overview

After years of dumb-blonde and best-friend roles, Jane Wyman proved her skills as a dramatic actress -- and won an Academy Award in the bargain -- in Johnny Belinda. Adapted from a stage play by Elmer Harris, the story takes place in Nova Scotia, where deaf-mute Belinda (Wyman) leads a lonely existence on the hardscrabble farm of her father Black Macdonald (Charles Bickford) and her aunt Aggie (Agnes Moorehead). Newly arrived doctor Robert Richardson (Lew Ayres) takes a special interest in Belinda, vowing to ease her road in life by teaching her sign language. Despite initial resistance from her father and aunt, Belinda quickly learns how to communicate with others, opening a whole, wonderful new world for her. But things take a sorry turn when local lout Locky (Stephan McNally) corners poor Belinda after a village dance and rapes her. If the ending seems a bit ambiguous, it is because director Jean Negulesco intended it that way, allowing the viewer to draw his or her own conclusion regarding Belinda's future relationship with her mentor Dr. Richardson. Upon accepting her Oscar, Jane Wyman commented on the fact that she accomplished this feat through the simple expedient of "keeping my mouth shut." But there is nothing simple or facile in Wyman's astonishing performance as Belinda, which far outclasses the actresses who repeated the role in the two TV remakes. Also worthy of praise is the lush musical score by Max Steiner, one of his best post-Casablanca efforts.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
Johnny Belinda features a superb performance from Jane Wyman in the title role and a well-crafted story without the overtly happy ending common to this type of "personal triumph" drama. Filmed in effective black-and-white by Ted D. McCord, the studio recreation of a Nova Scotia fishing village is convincing, while director Jean Negulesco underplays many scenes, allowing the performances to resonate with the material. Ironically, Negulesco was fired late in the production of the film, when studio execs saw that he was avoiding the sort of tear-jerking sentimentality that they had expected. Because it would have been too expensive to re-shoot the entire picture, the studio reluctantly released it pretty much as Negulesco had wanted. The result was Warner Bros.' biggest hit of the year. This is another example of how films with strong, non-traditional women as the central character became more prominent in the post-WWII era. The film was nominated for a near-record twelve Academy Awards, though Wyman's Best Actress Oscar was the only category in which it won.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/20/2013
UPC:
0883316860199
Original Release:
1948
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:42:00
Sales rank:
2,831

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jane Wyman Belinda McDonald
Lew Ayres Dr. Robert Richardson
Charles Bickford Black McDonald
Agnes Moorehead Aggie McDonald
Stephen McNally Locky McCormick
Jan Sterling Stella McCormick
Rosalind Ivan Mrs. Poggety
Dan Seymour Pacquet
Mabel Paige Mrs. Lutz
Ida Moore Mrs. McKee
Alan Napier Defense Attorney
Monte Blue Ben
Douglas Kennedy Mountie
James Craven Interpreter
Richard Taylor Floyd McQuiggen
Richard "Hock" Walsh Fergus McQuiggen
Joan Winfield Mrs. Tim Moore
Ian Wolfe Rector
Holmes Herbert Judge
Jonathan Hale Dr. Gray
Ray Montgomery Tim Moore
Barbara Bates Gracie Anderson
Franklin Farnum Juryman
Creighton Hale Bailiff
Charles Horvath Churchgoer
Harry "Snub" Pollard Actor
Frederic Worlock Prosecutor
Blayney Lewis Dan'l

Technical Credits
Jean Negulesco Director
Milo Anderson Costumes/Costume Designer
Irma Von Cube Screenwriter
Mel Dellar Musical Direction/Supervision
Edwin DuPar Special Effects
Elizabeth Gessner Consultant/advisor
Robert M. Haas Art Director
Elmer Harris Original Story
Ted D. McCord Cinematographer
William McGann Special Effects
Max Steiner Score Composer
Allen Vincent Screenwriter
Jerry Wald Producer
William Wallace Set Decoration/Design
David Weisbart Editor
Perc Westmore Makeup

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Johnny Belinda 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
KateintheDesert More than 1 year ago
If this movie doesn't touch your heart strings nothing can. It is almost haunting. This is one of those movies that stays with you even when it is over. This is my favorite of Jane Wyman's works. She showed the tenderness of youth and the strength of youth when faced with adversity. A must see by anyone who loves the classics.