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The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 14 April 1939 (USA)
Alexander Graham Bell falls in love with deaf girl Mabel Hubbard while teaching the deaf and trying to invent means for telegraphing the human voice. She urges him to put off thoughts of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Mrs. Hubbard
...
Gertrude Hubbard
Polly Ann Young ...
Grace Hubbard
Georgiana Young ...
Berta Hubbard
Bobs Watson ...
George Sanders
...
Mr. Barrows
Paul Stanton ...
Chauncey Smith
Jonathan Hale ...
President of Western Union
...
Judge Rider
Beryl Mercer ...
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Storyline

Alexander Graham Bell falls in love with deaf girl Mabel Hubbard while teaching the deaf and trying to invent means for telegraphing the human voice. She urges him to put off thoughts of marriage until his experiments are complete. He invents the telephone, marries and becomes rich and famous, though his happiness is threatened when a rival company sets out to ruin him. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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Darryl F. Zanuck's Entertainment gem will take its place in the Hall of Fame ! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

14 April 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alexander Graham Bell  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In real life Bell's wife was a deaf mute, but the studio only would allow Loretta Young as a deaf person. This bothered Miss Young so much that she decided not to renew her Fox contract and instead freelance. See more »

Goofs

One of the stories in the movie, that is set in 1873, is that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone "in his youth". But the first telephone was invented by Antonio Meucci in 1860 and Johann Philipp Reis in 1861, who also called his device "telephone", not Bell as it's stated in the movie. Bell didn't invented THE telephone but A telephone, the Bell-telephone. See more »

Quotes

Alexander Graham Bell: Shall the lonely scientist, the man who dreams, and out of his dreams benefits the world, is he, that often half-starved, lonely little man, to be told the world has no need of him the moment his work is done?
Alexander Graham Bell: Is he to be told that others, less gifted, but stronger, men with money and power behind them, are waiting to take the product of his genius and turn it to their own uses? -leaving him with liar and thief branded on his brow as his only reward? Do that, and you stop the clock of progress....
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Connections

Referenced in Go West (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
Music traditional - English origin (ca. 1755)
Part of a medley sung by an unidentified trio demonstrating the telephone
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User Reviews

 
While not the best history lesson, it is great entertainment...
8 June 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

If are looking for an accurate and detailed lesson about either the life of Alexander Graham Bell or the invention of the telephone, this film is far from perfect. Often it takes liberties and omissions--all in the aim of producing an entertaining film first and foremost. However, if you understand that it is NOT great history but purely there to entertain, it's pretty good. I would not put in on par with the Edison films at MGM or the wonderful Warner Brothers films on Pasteur and Erlich, but it is quite good.

The movie only concerns the period just before the telephone was invented as well as the process of inventing and marketing the device. So, if you want information about his work as a deaf educator or about his interesting family background, this film is maddeningly silent. I would LOVE to see a film talk particularly talking about his hatred of sign language (as he felt the deaf MUST be forced to learn to talk and function like the hearing) or the disdain many deaf today have for him. Perhaps this sort of discussion would be best dealt with in a documentary, but it IS fascinating stuff.

As far as this film goes, Ameche, Fonda and Young are all very good here, the direction very nice and the entire production is polished and pleasant from start to finish.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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