Friday, October 23, 2009

Latest Oscar-winner seen: Johnny Belinda (1948)

This was a very good film. I'm not saying it was fantastic, because it wasn't. It was indeed very moving and touching, but not very deep. Still, it must have been considered brave in its time. It was made in 1948, when rape scenes were not very common in motion pictures. But the whole movie is made with dignity and it's very subtle.
Jane Wyman in the lead is superb. She gives one of the most endearing and cute performances ever. And man her praying scene is one of the most moving scenes ever filmed, I think she deserved the award she won. Lew Ayres gives a good performance as the honest and consciencious doctor looking after Belinda. The supporting players include two great character actors who both knew too well that it's an honor just to be nominated: Charles Bickford and Agnes Moorehead. They are exceptional in their roles, even though sometimes I found Moorehead's accent a bit annoying. They both give depth to their roles. I think they deserved their nominations, but nothing more. Jan Sterling also has to be mentioned as Stella. I think she could have received a nomination too.
The directing and the writing is good, but again, not fantastic. But I really loved the score made by Max Steiner, it was really awesome. I guess it could have won an award.
To sum up I really enjoyed this film, but I doubt that I'll watch it more than twice. But for one view it's more than perfect.
My grade: 8/10
Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director (Jean Negulesco), Best Actor (Lew Ayres), Best Actress (Jane Wyman, WON), Best Supporting Actor (Charles Bickford), Best Supporting Actress (Agnes Moorehead), Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Black and White, Best Cinematography, Black and White, Best Editing, Best Sound, Best Music
My wins: Best Actress (Jane Wyman) and maybe Best Score

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