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The Magic Box (1951)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | 21 January 1952 (UK)
A chronicle of the life of William Friese-Greene, a British inventor and early pioneer in cinema.

Director:

Writers:

(based on the biography: "Friese-Greene, Close Up of an Inventor"), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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
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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 »
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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:

(Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Ronald Neame in his memoirs, Alec Guinness was only actor to refuse a role in this. See more »

Goofs

The middle-aged Friese-Greene is shown meeting William Fox-Talbot, who actually died when the former was only 22. 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 tablets bearing the following inscriptions: THOMAS ALVA EDISON 1847 - 1931 THE INVENTOR OF MOTION PICTURES / ETIENNE-JULES MAREY 1830 - 1908 FONDATEUR 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

Referenced in Inside the Actors Studio: Martin Scorsese (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Let the Great Big World Keep Turning
(1917) (uncredited)
Written by Nat Ayer and Clifford Grey
See more »

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User Reviews

A biography of one of the true first inventors of the cinema.
30 March 1999 | by (Culver City, CA) – See all my reviews

A brilliant biography of one of the virtually unknown inventors of modern motion pictures. The historical aspects are incredibly well researched and detailed (look at the film credits)-- down to the reproduction of a beautiful example of his first twin-lensed motion picture camera, which was stereoscopic (which proved not be be practical until the introduction of polarized projection at the 1939 World's Fair). This film was made as a showcase piece for the 1951 "Festival of Britain" at the current location of the Royal Festival Hall and the Museum of the Moving Image on the banks of the Thames in London, England. What remains of the original Friese-Greene camera may be seen at the Science Museum in London. For those interested in the history of the cinema, and its earliest experiments, this is a "must see" film. Historical footage is brilliantly incorporated into the story. Although the presentation is a little bit slow by today's standards, it remains a fascinating and unique film. For related topics see the book "The Missing Reel", by Christopher Rawlence, about the other unknown film pioneer, Louis Aime Augustin Le Prince.


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