What the Deaf Man Heard

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What the Deaf Man Heard
What the Deaf Man Heard.jpg
What the Deaf Man Heard
Created by G.D. Gearino (novel)
Directed by John Kent Harrison
Produced by Richard Welsh
Brent Shields
Written by Robert W. Lenski
Starring Matthew Modine
James Earl Jones
Music by J.A.C. Redford
Production company Hallmark Hall of Fame
Country USA
Language English
Original channel CBS
Release date November 23, 1997
Running time 120 minutes
"What the Deaf Man Heard"
Hallmark Hall of Fame episode
Episode no. Season 47
Episode 1
Production code 307
Original air date November 23, 1997
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What the Deaf Man Heard is a 1997 Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie that aired on CBS television on November 23, 1997. It concerns Sammy, a man who pretends to be deaf and mute, when in reality he can hear and speak perfectly well. The movie starred Matthew Modine and James Earl Jones.

Plot summary[edit]

During a stop on a bus trip, 10-year-old Sammy Ayers' mother Helen ventures into a bar, while Sammy sleeps on the bus. Helen is murdered as the bus leaves. At the last bus stop in Georgia, Sammy is woken up and realizes that his mother has disappeared. He takes to heart her warning to "keep quiet." He is taken in by the bus station manager, Norm, and informally adopted by Lucille as the entire small town looks after him. As Sammy grows to adulthood, he pretends to be deaf and mute as a self-protective device. Over a 20-year period, he hears many secrets and confidences. However, when he hears something harmful he decides to take action, to protect the townspeople who have become his family, revealing his secret.

The Ira Gershwin/Kurt Weill song "My Ship" (sung by Bernadette Peters) is heard at the end of the film, as Sammy listens to a music box.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

In her New York Times review, Caryn James wrote: "Nothing seems real in What the Deaf Man Heard. Instead, its soothing, storybook quality has Hallmark written all over it."[1]

The film was the highest-rated made-for-television movie on any network since 1991 with approximately 36 million viewers.[1][2]

The film received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Made for Television Movie and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie (Judith Ivey) and won for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or a Movie. It also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV (Matthew Modine).

References[edit]

External links[edit]