7.1/10
777
18 user 1 critic

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 »

Director:

Writers:

(story), (screenplay)
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When American newspaperman and adventurer Henry M. Stanley comes back from the western Indian wars, his editor James Gordon Bennett sends him to Africa to find Dr. David Livingstone, the ... See full summary »

Directors: Henry King, Otto Brower
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Nancy Kelly, Richard Greene
Jesse James (1939)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After railroad agents forcibly evict the James family from their family farm, Jesse and Frank turn to banditry for revenge.

Directors: Henry King, Irving Cummings
Stars: Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Nancy Kelly
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

82 year old inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Alva Edison is honored in 1929 and he reflects back on his sixty year career of scientific achievement.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Rita Johnson, Lynne Overman
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

With her husband away to fight in World War II, a housewife struggles to care for their two daughters - and a pair of lodgers who have moved in - alone.

Directors: John Cromwell, Edward F. Cline, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Susan Miller works behind the girdle counter in a department store and dreams about the beautiful clothes and glamour she can never hope to have. Enter May Worthington and Warren, a pair of... See full summary »

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney, Laird Cregar
Biography | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Life story of the musical star from her discovery in 1890 by band leader Tony Pastor till her retirement in 1912 when she married newspaperman Alexander Moore.

Director: Irving Cummings
Stars: Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Henry Fonda
San Francisco (1936)
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Barbary Coast saloonkeeper and a Nob Hill impresario are rivals for the affections of a beautiful singer, both personally and professionally in 1906 San Francisco.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, Spencer Tracy
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Fourteen-year-old Tessa is hopelessly in love with handsome composer Lewis Dodd, a family friend. Lewis adores Tessa, but has never shown any romantic feelings toward her. When Tessa's ... See full summary »

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Charles Boyer, Joan Fontaine, Brenda Marshall
Red Dust (1932)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The owner of a rubber plantation becomes involved with the new wife of one of his employees.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Gene Raymond
Certificate: Passed Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Woodrow is discharged from the military for hay fever, but fabricates receiving an heroic honorable discharge before returning home.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Eddie Bracken, Ella Raines, Raymond Walburn
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Elizabeth and John say goodbye as John leaves to go to war. When World War I ends, Elizabeth receives a telegram that John has been killed in action. She finds comfort in Larry and they ... See full summary »

Director: Irving Pichel
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Orson Welles, George Brent
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Dwight Dawson, who runs an unsuccessful success school, stages a contest to find the biggest failure in the USA, for publicity value when the "dope" takes his course. But winner Tad Page is... See full summary »

Director: Walter Lang
Stars: Henry Fonda, Lynn Bari, Don Ameche
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Mrs. Hubbard
...
Gertrude Hubbard
...
Grace Hubbard
...
Berta Hubbard
Bobs Watson ...
George Sanders
...
Mr. Barrows
Paul Stanton ...
Chauncey Smith
...
President of Western Union
...
Judge Rider
Beryl Mercer ...
Edit

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 April 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alexander Graham Bell  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 14, 1945 with Don Ameche reprising his film role. 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: Mr. Watson, come here, I want you!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Voyagers!: Barriers of Sound (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

The Star Spangled Banner
(1814)
Music by John Stafford Smith
Lyrics by Francis Scott Key
Part of a medley sung by an unidentified trio demonstrating the telephone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The invention of The Ameche
8 July 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Don Ameche has the title role in "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell" in this 1939 film starring Henry Fonda, Loretta Young, Charles Coburn, Gene Lockhart, and Spring Byington.

This movie was a big hit - it must have been, because in 1941's "Ball of Fire," Barbara Stanwyck teaches Gary Cooper slang and refers to the telephone as "the Ameche," as others have mentioned here. As far as how accurate the story is - for Fox, not bad at all. The background of Bell's teaching experience and family history of working with speech and sound is correct, he did have a demonstration of his new device, he did have patent problems, he did take on the little boy and Mabel as deaf clients to teach, he did teach finger-spelling, he did have patent problems, he did marry Mabel, their first child was a girl, and Mabel's father was one of his investors. The Fonda character, Watson, was also real, though Bell had two other assistants, and the scene where Bell finds out the telephone works when he calls for Watson is accurate. Also, Bell mentions a great interest in aeronautics in the movie - he indeed did a lot of work in aeronautics later on.

Don Ameche does a great job as Bell. Before Tyrone Power appeared at 20th Century Fox, Ameche was set for many more lead roles; Power's popularity pushed him into second leads. If Ameche seems melodramatic in the courtroom scenes, that was the style of the day. He gives a serious, intense, and sincere performance. It's probably the role for which he's best remembered. Henry Fonda is wonderful - he's funny and relaxed, positively excellent. In another year, he'd be starring in his own movies. Loretta Young as Mabel is believable as well as lovely, and her sisters in real life -- Sally Blane, Polly Young, and Georgiana Young - play her sisters here.

Gene Lockhart as Sanders is another standout in a poignant performance as a man who wants his deaf son to be able to speak. Charles Coburn plays Mable's no-nonsense, gruff father very well.

Considering that the movie "Suez" is fiction from beginning to end, 20th Century Fox is to be commended for bringing so much real history into this film and making it so entertaining.


11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?