MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 12,761 this week

The Magic Box (1951)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  21 January 1952 (UK)
7.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 791 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

ON DISC

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 36 titles
created 11 Dec 2011
 
a list of 2622 titles
created 05 Mar 2012
 
list image
a list of 48 titles
created 02 Oct 2013
 
a list of 250 titles
created 21 Jan 2014
 

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 7.1/10

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... 

Crime | History | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When the composer of an opera about a swashbuckling, wenching highwayman meets his hero's real life counterpart he's disappointed with his lack of dash.

Director: Peter Brook
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Hugh Griffith, George Rose
Term of Trial (1962)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Graham Weir is an alcoholic schoolteacher whose criminal record for refusing to fight during the Second World War has prevented him from progressing further in his teaching career. He is ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Glenville
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Simone Signoret, Sarah Miles
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 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
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An egocentric artillery captain and his venomous wife engage in savage unremitting battles in their isolated island fortress of the coast of Sweden at the turn of the century. Alice, a ... See full summary »

Director: David Giles
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Geraldine McEwan, Robert Lang
Comedy | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The black sheep of a family (Dick Dudgeon) and the local minister (Anthony Anderson) discover their true vocations during the Revolutionary War.

Directors: Guy Hamilton, Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Compton Bennett
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Valerie Hobson, Flora Robson
Uncle Vanya (1963)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Director: Stuart Burge
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Max Adrian, Lewis Casson
The Smugglers (1947)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Told in flashback, the film opens on a brutal scene of a 17-year-old boy, Francis Andrews, being brutally lashed during a police interrogation in which the boy thinks back to the past that ... See full summary »

Director: Bernard Knowles
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Jean Kent, Joan Greenwood
Magic Box (1963)
Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Stars: Ranjan Kapoor, Sheila Kashmiri, Nasreen
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
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Vincenzo Denizot
Stars: Alex Bernard, Filippo Boutens, Giovanni Casaleggio
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

The actress Amy Veness - shown in the cast list against Undetermined Role - can be identified as the elderly lady in black, a grandmother presumably, in the first wedding group we see being photographed in Mr.Guttenberg's studio. 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 prologue: WILLIAM FRIESE-GREENE 1855 1921 followed by the year 1921 See more »

Connections

Featured in Great Performances: Laurence Olivier: A Life (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

It's a Long Way To Tipperary
(1912) (uncredited)
Written by Jack Judge and Harry Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Robert Donat shines in nice biography of inventor William Friese-Greene...
5 January 2009 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

For all of his dogged determination to succeed, William Friese-Greene never quite established himself firmly in the public's mind as the inventor of the first motion picture camera, THE MAGIC BOX. That honor seems to rest with Thomas Edison. But as the film goes on to suggest, it was "Willie" who developed the first camera similar to what motion picture cameras use today. The film gives credit to Edison and other inventors with Greene as "one of the first pioneers." The story is told slowly, with flashbacks, and captures the time and customs of a bygone era with careful attention to detail. And for added interest, almost every small role is played by one of Britain's most famous actors. Keep an eye out for Margaret Rutherford, Kay Walsh, Joan Hickson, Laurence Olivier, Leo Genn, Eric Portman, Richard Attenborough, Glynis Johns, and others.

Maria Schell, as one of the inventor's wives, wears a perpetual smile or grin on her face which always irritates me--let's face it, she's never been one of my favorite actresses and unfortunately she's in a good many of the scenes. I wish another actress had been cast in the role of his understanding first wife.

It's an interesting story, well told and extremely well acted by most of the cast with Margaret Rutherford standing out as one of the photographer's best customers and Laurence Olivier doing a fine job as the policeman called hurriedly to Donat's laboratory to witness motion pictures taken in Hyde Park and staring at the screen in amazement.

Donat's illness shows in many of the early scenes where he's supposed to be a young man, so that he looks more natural in the age make-up sequences as an older chap. The age make-up makes him resemble Mr. Chips again. I thought the ending was overly sentimental and not the way I would have preferred the story to conclude.

Well worth viewing.


4 of 6 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:
?