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JOHNNY BELINDA – Max Steiner

December 6, 2021 1 comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Author Elmer Blaney Harris wrote a story titled “Johnny Belinda” in 1934 and tried unsuccessfully to secure studio backing to bring his creation to the big screen. Thwarted, he opted to instead pursue a Broadway production and the play had a successful run from 1940 – 1941. This rekindled his hope and he again approached MGM to advocate for a film adaptation, but executives were still wary of its subject matter, which involved rape. Subsequent efforts to obtain support from independent film producers also failed, but in 1946 Warner Brothers Studio producer Jerry Wald took renewed interest in the play and convinced CEO Jack Warner to purchase the film rights for $50,000. He was given the reins to produce the film with a $1.6 million budget, Jean Negulesco was hired to direct, and Allen Vincent and Irma von Cabe were tasked with writing the screenplay. A fine cast was hired with Jane Wyman as Belinda MacDonald, Lew Ayres as Dr. Robert Richardson, Stephen McNally as Locky McCormick, Charles Bickford as Black “Mac” MacDonald, and Agnes Moorehead as his sister Aggie MacDonald. Read more…