Thursday, April 5, 2012

Johnny Belinda(1948).

Johnny Belinda(1948). Cast: Jane Wyman, Lew Ayres, Charles Bickford, Agnes Moorehead, Stephen McNally, and Jan Sterling. Wyman won an Oscar for this film for Best Actress.

Deaf/mute girl Belinda, lives in a small fishing village with her father and her aunt. She can not communicate with her family and lives in a world all her own. Until, a doctor named Robert, comes to help the family with the birth of a calf.. He and Belinda quickly become friends and  he teaches her sign language.

One evening, when Locky McCormick and his girl friend, Stella Maguire, stop by the farm with a group of their friends. They begin playing music and dancing and Robert places Belinda's hand on the violin so that she can feel the music for the first time.

Later, having been rejected by Stella, a drunken Locky rapes Belinda. Belinda becomes withdrawn and her father asks Robert, to find out what is wrong with her.

Robert takes Belinda, to town to visit an ear specialist and learns that she is pregnant. Robert only tells Aggie, knowing her father, will take it to hard.

One Sunday.. her father and Robert, take her to church for the first time. Locky and Stella, also attend the service and Belinda's reaction to Locky makes Robert think that he may be the father of the child.

After the baby, is born the townspeople, believing that Robert is the child's father, ostracize him and the McDonalds. Robert offers to marry Belinda, but.. her father does not think it is a very good idea, because he is not in love with her.

When Locky shows up during a storm, Belinda's father suddenly realizes the identity of his grandson's father and the two men get into a fight to and Locky pushes her father off a cliff to his death.

Robert, leaves town to start a new life and promises to send for Aggie and Belinda, as soon as he can. The townspeople decide to take the baby from Belinda and give him to Stella and Locky, who have since married. Stella, can not go through with it. Locky then tells Stella that he is the baby's father. When he comes after the baby, Belinda shoots and kills him. Will Stella tell the truth and save Belinda from going to jail for murder?

Fun Fact:
Jane Wyman became the first actor since the silent era to win an Oscar without uttering a word.

I think that you will love Agnes Moorehead's down to earth character in this film. I think you will also agree that Jane Wyman, gave one of her greatest performances of all time.

Jan Sterling (April 3, 1921 – March 26, 2004). In 1947, she made her film debut in, Tycoon, billed as Jane Darian. Ruth Gordon, reportedly insisted she change her stage name and they agreed upon Jan Sterling.

She played a prominent supporting role in, Johnny Belinda (1948). She also performed in the films, Caged (1950), Mystery Street (1950), The Mating Season (1951), Ace in the Hole (1951), Flesh and Fury (1952), The Human Jungle (1954), and Female on the Beach (1955). Often cast as hard and determined characters, she played a more sympathetic character in, Sky Full of Moon (1952). In 1954 Sterling was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in, The High and the Mighty.


  1. Good review of a wonderful movie, Dawn...Jane Wyman was spectacular in this. And Agnes Moorhead -- well, she is always wonderful. You know, I didn't realize until last a couple of years ago that Johnny Belinda is based on a true story. I keep meaning to look it up, and then I forget (not unusual for me!) I really enjoyed this, and your bio of Jan Sterling.

  2. Dawn, this is Wyman at her dramatic best.

  3. Becky, you are right.. Johnny Belinda, is based on a true story of a young girl named, Lydia Dingwell, who was born at Dingwells Mills ca. 1852. She was born, a deaf-mute. She passed away in poverty on April 13, 1931.

    Kim, I agree..

  4. This is a wonderful film. I agree, Agnes Moorehead is great to watch and Jane Wyman indeed gives one of her best performances. I need to revisit this film again.

  5. You may be interested to know that Stephen McNally, who was so despicable as Locky in the movie, played the compassionate doctor in the original Broadway production when he still went by his given name of Horace McNally. Talk about your acting stretches!

  6. Great review! Haven't seen the movie but have heard of it! Gotta love good melodrama.

  7. Robby Cress, I will keep a eye out for it and post the date up on the sidebar.

    Caftan Woman, Thank you for sharing that fun fact.. That is very interesting.. Although, I do not see him playing the Dr.

    Kristen, Thank you, I think that you will enjoy watching it..

  8. Jan Sterling has one of the greatest lines ever in "Ace in the Hole." Kirk Douglas asks her if she's praying for her husband and she says, "I don't go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons."


  9. I knew and met Jan Sterling in London, between 1991 and 2002, as she lived there for three decades, before she died in Woodland Hills.
    She was a wonderful human being, actress and woman, and she told me so much about Hollywood and life.
    She liked to be this perfect bad girl in Film Noir, from gun moll to cold and icy wife of trapped man for Billy Wilder, where she was terrific.She had comedy talent, which was underused.
    I could see her many times, and I was always welcome in her nice house in Knightsbridge.The greatest events in my life.Nowaday, I phone to her sister in Florida,to share memory.

    Rest in peace, Jan.


  10. She was one cold lady in that film..

  11. Georges, Thank you for stopping by and sharing such a wonderful memory with us.

  12. hello, Dawn
    I'm always happy to share and bring some about Jan Sterling, she did such a lot for me, and in the last years, many people seem to like her, and it is good,as Hollywood can be cruel and forget some of its stars.
    As I was young, I saw "Ace in the hole", and that was the point!
    later came Union Station, Appointment with danger, Mystery Street,and many more.

    So, Jan is still alive :-)

    best, Georges

  13. Georges, Jan Sterling, is still alive in films.. I'm glad that you two were such great friends.


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