The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  14 April 1939 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 748 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 1 critic

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 »



(story), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
0Check in


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Young freewheeling wanderer Jerry Day and his beautiful wife Toni are at odds over their lifestyle. Jerry can't accept responsibility but Toni yearns for a family and a settled life. Then ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Gary Cooper, Carole Lombard, Shirley Temple
Alibi Ike (1935)
Comedy | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Idiosyncratic new recruit Francis "Ike" Farrell tries to help the Cubs to the pennant with his pitching and hitting.

Director: Ray Enright
Stars: Joe E. Brown, Olivia de Havilland, Ruth Donnelly
Souls at Sea (1937)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Cooper and Raft save lives during a sea tragedy in this story about slave trade on the high seas in 1842.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Gary Cooper, George Raft, Frances Dee
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An entertainer in Rio impersonates a wealthy aristocrat. When the aristocrat's wife asks him to carry the impersonation further, complications ensue.

Director: Irving Cummings
Stars: Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Carmen Miranda
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An orphan is provisionally adopted by the manager of a hotel populated by show business people. The hotel's owner doesn't like the entertainers and wants the girl returned to the orphanage.

Director: Irving Cummings
Stars: Shirley Temple, George Murphy, Jimmy Durante
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A Confederate veteran living in the Yankee North struggles with his son's shock induced muteness and the hate of the Northerners.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland, Dean Jagger
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A depiction of the love/hate relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Quick tempered but likable Biff Grimes falls for beautiful Virginia Brush, but he is not the only young man in the neighborhood who is smitten with her.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth
Riffraff (1936)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Fisherman Dutch marries cannery worker Hattie. He quits his poorly paid job to concentrate on getting better working conditions as union leader. Unfortunately, the union members disagree ... See full summary »

Director: J. Walter Ruben
Stars: Jean Harlow, Spencer Tracy, Una Merkel
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The trustees of Midwestern University have forced three teachers out of their jobs for being suspected communists. Trustee Ed Keller has also threatened mild mannered English Professor ... See full summary »

Director: Elliott Nugent
Stars: Henry Fonda, Olivia de Havilland, Joan Leslie
Reckless (1935)
Drama | Musical | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Wealthy Bob Harrison buys all the seats in the theatre to watch Mona Leslie's musical by himself. He loves her, her agent Ned Riley loves her. Conflict ensues.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Jean Harlow, William Powell, Franchot Tone
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When an heiress finds out that the friendly young man she's met at Sun Valley is really an investigative reporter, she ruins his career by falsely claiming they're married.

Director: Robert B. Sinclair
Stars: Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, Reginald Gardiner


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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 April 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alexander Graham Bell  »

Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Don Ameche's brother, Jim Ameche, portrayed Alexander Graham Bell in The Story of Mankind (1957). See more »


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 »


Mrs. Hubbard: Mr. Watson, please eat something. You must have the appetite of a bird.
Thomas Watson: Yes, Ma'am, a vulture.
See more »


Spoofed in Go West (1940) See more »


The First Noel
Traditional 17th century hymn
Sung a cappella by unidentified carollers on Christmas Eve
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Young's sisters played her sisters in the film Moon_Doggie

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: