Run time: 102 mins
In Theaters: Tuesday 14th September 1948
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Production compaines: Warner Bros Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 7 Rotten: 1
IMDB: 7.9 / 10
Director: Jean Negulesco
Producer: Jerry Wald
Screenwriter: Allen Vincent, Irma von Cube
Starring: Jane Wyman as Belinda McDonald, Lew Ayres as Dr. Robert Richardson, Charles Bickford as Black MacDonald, Agnes Moorehead as Aggie MacDonald, Stephen McNally as Locky McCormick, Jan Sterling as Stella McCormick, Rosalind Ivan as Mrs. Poggety, Dan Seymour as Pacquet - Storekeeper, Mabel Paige as Mrs. Lutz, Ida Moore as Mrs. McKee, Alan Napier as Defense Attorney
Well, it will involve tears and a lot of courtroom hair-tearing, and given that this is a feel-good movie from 1948, it's all going to come up aces.
Wyman won the Best Actress Oscar for this multi-hanky affair, and its 11 additional nominations put it close to record territory. It's easy to see why. Belinda is an ultimately hopeful film delivered at a time of great national optimism. At the time it was nearly unthinkable that a "dummy" who couldn't hear or speak might be competent enough to raise a child. I obviously wasn't around at the time, but Johnny Belinda's rabid acceptance by the populace probably started a bit of social change, a little nudge toward acceptance of handicaps and the ability of the deaf to learn to communicate.
Still, Johnny Belinda has a certain saccharine aftertaste, a Forrest Gumpian flavor that makes it tolerable today only in small doses. The tough love of, say, The Miracle Worker, is nowhere to be found when Belinda is learning to sign. As played by Wyman, she's a sweet and innocent naif who's never done a wrong thing in her life, ever. She's a victim of circumstance and the cruelty of man, but her perma-smirk/smile stays plastered on her face. Try all you want to make yourself jaded over this, but in the end poor little Belinda wins us all over in the end.