MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 875 this week

The Magic Box (1951)

 -  Biography | Drama  -  21 January 1952 (UK)
7.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 774 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 11 critic

The story of William Friese-Greene, a British inventor who (this film would have you think) made the first movie camera.

Director:

Writers:

(based on the biography: Friese-Greene, Close-Up of an Inventor), (screenplay)
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Sundance 2015

Watch our IMDb & AIV Sundance Studio Interviews with Keith Simanton

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 85 titles
created 08 Feb 2013
 
a list of 36 titles
created 29 Aug 2013
 
a list of 73 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Magic Box" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Magic Box (1951)

The Magic Box (1951) on IMDb 7.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Magic Box.
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Ivan Kouznetsoff, a Russian engineer, recounts during World War II his stay in England prior to the war working on a new propeller for ice-breaking ships. Naïve about British people and ... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Penelope Dudley-Ward, Marjorie Fielding
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An unhappily married white policeman in Sierra Leone falls in love with a white girl and starts an affair. He soon starts feeling guilty.

Director: George More O'Ferrall
Stars: Trevor Howard, Elizabeth Allan, Maria Schell
I Walk Alone (1948)
Film-Noir | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Frankie Madison leaves prison expecting a share from his ex-partner. But Prohibition bootlegging didn't prepare Frankie for Big Business.

Director: Byron Haskin
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In pre-WW1 England, a youngster is expelled from a naval academy over a petty theft, but his parents raise a political furor by demanding a trial.

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Robert Donat, Cedric Hardwicke, Basil Radford
Fantasy | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A melancholy poet reflects on three women he loved and lost in the past: a mechanical performing doll, a Venetian courtesan, and the consumptive daughter of a celebrated composer.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Moira Shearer, Robert Rounseville, Ludmilla Tchérina
Lease of Life (1954)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The parson of a small rural community knows he is dying and this makes him reconsider his life so far and what he can still do to help the community.

Director: Charles Frend
Stars: Robert Donat, Kay Walsh, Denholm Elliott
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After spending three years in an asylum, a washed-up actor views a minor assignment from his old director in Rome as a chance for personal and professional redemption.

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Cyd Charisse
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Vincenzo Denizot
Stars: Alex Bernard, Filippo Boutens, Giovanni Casaleggio
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Directors: Robert Donat, Alexander Shaw
Stars: Robert Donat, Renée Asherson, Marjorie Rhodes
Europe '51 (1952)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Irene Girard is an ambassador's wife and used to always live in luxury. After the dramatic death of her son, she feels guilty of having neglected him and feels compelled to help people in ... See full summary »

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Alexander Knox, Ettore Giannini
HealtH (1980)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Carol Burnett, Glenda Jackson, James Garner
Short | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Pluto, having seen the earth, comes back home amazed at the success of that well-known dance, the "cake-walk." He has brought back with him two noted well-known dancers, who start their ... See full summary »

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Georges Méliès
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Renée Asherson ...
Miss Tagg (as Renee Asherson)
...
Jack Carter
...
Martin Boddey ...
Sitter in Bath Studio
Edward Chapman ...
Father in Family Group
John Charlesworth ...
Graham Friese-Greene
Maurice Colbourne ...
Bride's Father in Wedding Group
Roland Culver ...
1st Company Promoter
John Howard Davies ...
Maurice Friese-Greene
Michael Denison ...
Reporter
...
Joan Dowling ...
Maggie
Henry Edwards ...
Butler at Fox Talbot's
Mary Ellis ...
Mrs. Nell Collings
Marjorie Fielding ...
Elderly Viscountess
Edit

Storyline

Now old, ill, poor, and largely forgotten, William Freise-Greene was once very different. As young and handsome William Green he changed his name to include his first wife's so that it sounded more impressive for the photographic portrait work he was so good at. But he was also an inventor and his search for a way to project moving pictures became an obsession that ultimately changed the life of all those he loved. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A rich and deeply moving story of a man whose achievement opened up a new world, and of the two women whose love and sacrifices made it possible!

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 January 1952 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Caixa Mágica  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD) | (edited) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor) (as Colour by Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the extras in this movie is a teenage Ronnie Kray (later the infamous London gangster). See more »

Goofs

In 1915 when Green's three eldest sons join the army, the landlord's agent mentions that the Spanish influenza is going around. In actuality the Spanish influenza did not begin until 1918. See more »

Quotes

William Fox-Talbot: The original thinker - the innovator - mustn't mind seeming a little foolish to his contemporaries. He must always look to his star... In the end, he may still fail. That's unimportant. If he is true to himself, he won't be too unhappy or embittered, even in failure, and will still speak for what is good.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits superimposed over a tablet bearing the following: THOMAS ALVA EDISON 1847 - 1931 THE INVENTOR OF MOTION PICTURES ETIENNE-JULES MAREY 1830 - 1908 FONTADEUR DU CINEMA LOUIS LE PRINCE 1842 - 1890 L'INVENTEUR DE LA CINEMATOGRAPHIE LOUIS LUMIERE 1864 - 1948 AVEC SON FRERE LE CREATEUR DU CINEMA MODERNE See more »

Connections

Featured in Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag, and Smile, Smile, Smile
(1915) (uncredited)
Written by George Asaf and Felix Powell
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Forgotten Pioneer
5 January 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I'm sure it didn't hurt in the resolve of the British film industry to honor one of its pioneers and one who some claim to have been the actual inventor of motion pictures, William Friese-Greene, to have one of his grandchildren, Richard Greene as a film star in his own right. The Magic Box is a fine tribute to someone generally forgotten if known at all to American audiences especially.

Robert Donat brings his Mr. Chips character and weaves it into the character of William Friese-Greene. The story is told in flashback and in reverse order, first by his second wife Margaret Johnston from their first meeting in 1897 through their marriages and then later by Donat himself as he remembers his first wife Maria Schell. But in both remembrances, the thing that stands out is his driving obsession to capture movement on some medium. As Donat eloquently puts it, 'movement is life'.

It costs him dear, he does not get the credit he feels due him, it goes to that upstart Thomas Edison from the USA. Actually fellow Britishers George Alfred Smith and Charles Urban and Frenchmen Auguste and Louis Lumiere and Emile Reynaud all could claim pioneering contributions to the motion picture as well. Friese-Greene was a fine portrait photographer, but spent all his money on his experiments, even selling the patent he took out on his early motion picture camera.

Donat, Johnston and Schell are supported by a massive cast of the best British players doing small parts in tribute and belated recognition to the guy who now is considered if not THE inventor of motion pictures, the founder of British cinema. From Laurence Olivier in the role of an astonished policeman who is the first to see Robert Donat's breakthrough, to Bernard Miles as Donat's stuffy cousin who's worried about having the bite put on him, to young John Howard Davies as the youngest of Friese-Greene's sons, you'll recognize lots of familiar faces.

Still the film belongs to Donat as the obsessed, but touching Friese- Greene who helped give the world a universal medium of entertainment. Donat never gave a bad performance on the screen and Friese-Greene ranks among his best.


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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
TCM will show Jan. 5, 2009 rcs8
On TCM: Sep 06, 08:00PM 2009 STUPOR
Looking for memorable lines HilcoKlinkert
British DVD plurality-1
Uncredited cameo? jeannash8-1
Discuss The Magic Box (1951) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?