Johnny Belinda

Synopsis: 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
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Jean Negulesco
Production: Warner Bros. Pictures
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 13 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
102 min

The island of Cape Breton,

the northeastern end of Nova Scotia...

is just a small chunk of land

sticking out into the Atlantic.

Roads haven't been built through

everywhere yet.

You mostly have to come in from the sea.

It needs an old hand to navigate

through the shoals offshore...

especially during the storms that come up

suddenly in the summertime...

and the little lighthouse

has saved many a life.

The village isn't much to shout about.

Just a quiet, peaceful place where

the people are proud of their church...

built with their own hands and what

little money they could scrape up.

Their farms don't bring in much...

but for a few months each year

when the cod are running...

there's a lot of excitement.

You should see the harbor then,

alive with boats.

They leave the women to take care

of the potatoes and livestock...

and put out to sea.

Not many of them are lucky enough

to have their own boat...

but they all get a share

when the catch is paid for at the cannery.

A fair-sized haul means everything.

It means food for the long winter...

new blades for tools,

grain bought for cattle.

That's why we watch each vessel

as she comes in...

to see how low she sets in the water.

Floyd, come on back here

and give us a hand with these fish.

Fergus, tack in on that line.

Help get this catch ashore.

Get that unloading net aboard.

- How many drags did you make?

- Two, three hours.

Take it away.

Get that boom over.

Don't tie it off, get it back onboard.

I don't want to hang around all day

on this reeking wharf.

- Look out!

- Hook's in his shoulder.

Hey, Dan'I!

- Do you know where the doctor is?

- Sure, he's dead.

No, the new doctor. Same place. Get.

Hurry up, bring him back, quick.

Come on, get going before this load

starts stinking the place up.


I got to get the doctor.

Tim's been hurt down at the boat.

What is it, Stella?

There's a boy out here says a man's

been hurt down at the wharf.

I'll be right there.

Will you be giving me

some medicine, doctor?

No, Mrs. Poggety, just this diet list.

I think you'd better

have your teeth X-rayed.

- Oh, but Dr. Peterson always said...

- I'm not Dr. Peterson.

But what do my teeth to do

with my backache?

Well, it's taken medicine a good

many years to define that connection...

and I haven't time, unfortunately,

right now to explain it all to you.

Stella will take care of your things.

- Will you be back to supper?

- I don't know.

- When can I go back to work?

- No time at all.

The main thing is to see

there's no infection.

Would you like to put his coat on?

I'll take him in the buggy.

Hello, darling.

Hey, Locky. Going to the dance Saturday?

- Why? Your Gus going out with the fleet?

- I'll be on the wharf tonight.

Well, don't catch cold.

- So long, girls.

- Bye, Locky.

I looked for you, McCormick.

One half the fish you land yesterday

are undersize like little sardines.

Well, at 14 cents a pound I can't be

bothered sorting them. I'd starve to death.

If the buyer see them

he will not take them from me.

Well, boost your price

and I'll toss back the little ones.

And while we're talking about it...

- you miserable old skinflint...

- What's that?

Don't get your hackles up,

you Micmac Indian...

not with that tub of guts.

- Micmac?

- Micmac! You'd not last two rounds.

It's about time

somebody took you down a peg.

You sell our catch for fancy prices...

yet you knock down 12 cents the pound

on us farmers.

You do not like that?

Well now, you listen to me,

Mr. Locky McCormick...

you owe big bill in my store.

You know that.

Well, you pay or I take your stinky boat.

Why, you greasy old half-breed.

You try and take that boat

and I'll gut you out like a cod.

You keep your hands to yourself.

Pretty tony since you're working

for His Lordship, huh?

You mind your own business.

I've got to get supper ready.

I don't like to see you

working for this man, Stella.

He's a fine doctor. He's a...

Anyway he's something big.

Something even you can't pronounce.

Probably something not fit to mention.

What're you working your head off for,


What good's a dead uncle

if you don't use his money?

No hurry.

Plenty can happen between now

and the time the deeds will be signed.

You going to try to run it yourself?

That's a good farm, needs a man.

- We could make a lot out of that place.

- We?

Sure, I've been thinking things over.

You and me make a great pair.

We ought to get married,

the sooner, the better.

Well, this is a surprise,

Mr. Locky McCormick.

Blow your nose, don't look so silly.

Oh, Stella...

what dress you wearing

to the dance Saturday? The one I like?


- You're taking me then?

- Well, of course I am.

Fergus put in for it first.

We practiced a step for the jig contest.

I'm taking you.

He and Floyd can toss a coin to see

who dances with you, but I'm taking you.

The doctor's coming.

You'd better get out of here.

He's in my way.

- You're coming down to the wharf later?

- Might.

Thank you.

- Is the doctor in?

- He's eating his supper.

I've got to see him. She's awful bad.

I'll tell him as soon as he's finished

but I can't...


- What is it?

- It's only Aggie MacDonald from the mill.

Nobody has anything to do with them...

and it's never a penny of pay

you'll get from her.

Well, she said someone was sick,

didn't she?

I didn't like bothering you,

but she's having so much trouble.

- The pain's that strong.

- I'll get my bag.

He didn't come at night last time.

It's 12 miles to the veterinary.

It's our cow,

she's the only good one we've got.

We'll fix her up.

He wouldn't have wanted me

to call you, Black wouldn't.

He'll say it costs money...

but if the critter dies,

then it's me who's to blame.

I'll do all I can to help.

In there.

Would you hold the light

a little higher, please?

She can't hear you. She's deaf, dumb.

That's too bad.

What she don't know don't hurt her none.

- By the way, it's a girl.

- Aye.

- Thanks for coming.

- Glad to help.

- Was she born deaf?

- No...

she took sick

when she was about a year old.

Come time to talk, no sound come out.

She growed up that way, dumb.

Blessing she has

such a fine father and mother.

That ain't her mother.

It's my sister, Aggie.

Her mother's dead. She killed her.

She died in childbed.

I guess sometimes it's meant to be.

Sometimes it's easier

to lose someone that way...

than to lose them when they're still alive.

I was in love with a girl.

She married another man.

I was wondering. A young chap like you,

burying himself here.

The other doctors was always old.

That was part of it.

There were lots of other things.

It's a pretty stale story.

Way things were going,

I sort of got fed up.

So I decided to look for another way.

Simple life, simple things.

If people would only learn

to let each other live...

it would be a different world.

What's the fee?

I wouldn't know.

I never delivered a heifer before.

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Irma von Cube

Irma von Cube (December 26, 1899 – July 25, 1977) was a German-American screenwriter. She began as an actress and a writer for films in Germany in the early 1930s, and continued when she arrived in the United States in 1938. Among her films is the They Shall Have Music (1939), Johnny Belinda (1948), for which she received an Academy Award nomination, and Song of Love (1947) co-starring Katharine Hepburn, Paul Henreid, and Robert Walker. She also directed one of five segments of the Italy-UK co-production anthology film A Tale of Five Cities (1951). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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