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Johnny Belinda

(1948 b 102')

En: 6 Ed: 7

Adapted from a play by Elmer Harris, in a small fishing village a physician befriends a deaf mute who is raped and has a child.

At Cape Breton a fisherman is injured because of Locky McCormick (Stephen McNally) and is treated by the new doctor, Robert Richardson (Lew Ayres). Stella (Jan Sterling) works for the doctor, and Locky asks her to marry him. Aggie McDonald (Agnes Moorhead) asks the doctor to help their cow, and Black McDonald (Charles Bickford) tells him that Belinda McDonald (Jane Wyman) is deaf.

Robert gets a book on signs and teaches Belinda the signs for rooster, hens, water, earth, land, eggs, talk, ocean, etc. Robert tells Black that Belinda could go to school. She reads Black's lips, and she and Robert show Black signs. Locky comes for his flour with people, and they dance. Stella tells Locky to keep away from Belinda.

Black and Aggie go away for a few days. Drunk Locky takes a violin and goes to Belinda. He kisses her and holds her against her will. Robert finds that Belinda is sad, and he says he needs her.

Robert takes Belinda to a town and gives her a scarf. Dr. Gray (Jonathan Hale) examines her. Robert tells Aggie that Belinda is going to have a child, and he asks her to help. Black brings Belinda to church with Robert and Aggie. The banns of marriage for Locky and Stella is read. Aggie tells Black why Belinda can't work hard, and he asks Belinda who the father is. Robert tells Belinda she is going to be a mother. Robert delivers her baby boy.

Aggie tells Black they no longer get credit. Stella tells Robert that everybody says he is the father. Robert tells Black that he could marry Belinda, but Black says he feels pity. Belinda sees that her son can hear. Locky comes in and sees the baby. He tells Black he looks like his father. Black wants Locky to tell people, and they fight. Black falls off the cliff. Belinda tells Robert that something is wrong. She leads a prayer for Black.

Robert sells his horse to Pacquet (Dan Seymour) and says he is leaving. Locky weds Stella. Robert tells Belinda he is going away to a Toronto hospital, and she embraces him. At a meeting Pacquet suggests they take the baby and give it to Locky and Stella.

Belinda welcomes Stella and lets her hold the baby. Stella asks her for the baby and shows her a letter giving up her rights, but Belinda points for her to get out. Stella tells Locky they are being mean, and he says he is the father. Locky goes in to get the child, and Belinda shoots him. Stella sees Robert's letter referring to "their son."

Belinda is tried for murder. Stella testifies she knows of no motive. Robert helps Belinda answer questions. Robert is asked about his letter. Stella cries out that Locky was the father. Belinda is acquitted because she was protecting her child.

This drama shows how a deaf-mute can learn to communicate and explores the harm that can be caused by bullying and false rumors.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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