I first saw this film in the weeee hours of the morning a few days into January of 2011. It was about six months into my new-found obsession with Lew Ayres and it was one of the films that really solidified my undying love for him. It’s a pretty racy film for 1948 and holds up quite wonderfully nearly seventy years later. It’s also one of the most nominated films in Academy history. Johnny Belinda was nominated for twelve Academy Awards, winning one: Best Sound, Best Score, Best Film Editing, Best B&W Cinematography, Best B&W Art Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor Charles Bickford, Best Supporting Actress Agnes Moorehead, Best Actor Lew Ayres, Best Actress Jane Wyman (won), Best Director and Best Picture. The other films up for Best Picture that year were The Red Shoes, The Snake Pit, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and winner Hamlet.
Kay Scott: It’s about time you wore something besides that old black velvet.
Cary Scott: Is it?
Kay Scott: Of course. Personally, I’ve never subscribed to that old Egyptian custom. At least I think it was Egypt.
Cary Scott: What Egyptian custom?
Kay Scott: Of walling up the widow alive in the funeral chamber of her dead husband along with his other possessions. The theory being that she was a possession too. She was supposed to journey into death with him. The community saw to it that she did. Of course it doesn’t happen anymore.
Cary Scott: Doesn’t it? Well, perhaps not in Egypt.
Wick Birnam: All right, maybe you’re not a writer. Why don’t you do something else?
Don Birnam: Sure, take a nice job. Public accountant, real estate salesman. I haven’t the guts, Helen. Most men lead lives of quiet desperation. I can’t take quiet desperation.
Helen St. James: But you are a writer. You have every quality for it. Imagination, wit, pity. . .