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Johnny Belinda (Bilingual)
Jane Wyman won a Best Actress Oscar for her strong performance in this touching drama of a deaf-mute girl (Wyman) and a doctor (Lew Ayres) who works closely with her. The story (based on Elmer Harris's play) seems intent on dumping one grievance after another onto the poor character, from rape to community pressure to give up the resultant baby, plus a terrible loss sustained somewhere in there as well. But Wyman and director Jean Negulesco manage to make the film more than the sum of its perils, and the texture and atmosphere of the town is particularly effective. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Lew Ayres gives possibly his best performance here. For other reviewers who say he's the weakest part of the movie, I don't agree; perhaps they need to see him in the classic 1930 offering, "All Quiet on the Western Front." In that film, Lew was gorgeous to look at it, but couldn't act his way out of a paper bag. Here, he's vastly improved and deliberately underplays a character who is caring, decent, but essentially stoic and very still. I admit there isn't a lot of chemistry between Wyman and Ayres, but he projects a dignity and decency which shines through.
Agnes Moorehead and Charles Bickford deliver outstanding supporting performances. Their interplay and dialogue is interesting and they contribute to the flowing plot.
Aside from Wyman's stellar performance, the most interesting aspect of the film is that it is not dated in the least. The subjects of rape, an illegitimate baby and pre-marital sex were hardly common themes in movies of that era, and this film handles it with aplomb and class. The weakness of the film is that Belinda is assailed from all sides constantly; her lot in life is hard enough to begin with, but she is thrown one vicious curve after another. But not to worry, all comes out all right in the end.
This movie is worth watching solely for Wyman's outstanding performance. Watch her eyes and how she conveys such beautiful emotion in them. I have renewed respect for Jane Wyman after watching this moving drama.
The ONE possible flaw may be with the "Perry Mason-style" theatrics in the courtroom. However, it's so minor as (and so VERY 40's!) that it detracts nothing from this outstanding film.