MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 3,581 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 835 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

"Hand of God" - What to Watch

IMDb sits down with the cast of the thriller drama "Hand of God," including Ron Perlman, Julian Morris, Garret Dillahunt, and Alona Tal.

Watch our interview

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 3995 titles
created 08 Nov 2011
 
a list of 36 titles
created 11 Dec 2011
 
a list of 3752 titles
created 31 Jul 2012
 
a list of 4237 titles
created 31 Jul 2012
 
a list of 8 titles
created 6 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 7.1/10

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... 

Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Stanley Windrush has to interrupt his university education when he is called up towards the end of the war. He quickly proves himself not to be officer material. This leads him to meets up ... See full summary »

Director: John Boulting
Stars: Ian Carmichael, Ronald Adam, Henry B. Longhurst
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A naive aristocrat in search of a career becomes caught up in the struggles between his profit-minded uncle and an aggressive labour union.

Director: John Boulting
Stars: Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, Peter Sellers
Caught (1949)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

It was Leonora Eames' childhood dream come true. She had married Smith Ohlrig, a man worth millions. But her innocent dream became a nightmare once she realizes the truth about her husband ... See full summary »

Director: Max Ophüls
Stars: James Mason, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Ryan
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Beautiful half-breed Pearl Chavez becomes the ward of her dead father's first love and finds herself torn between her sons, one good and the other bad.

Directors: King Vidor, Otto Brower, and 5 more credits »
Stars: Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Gregory Peck
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A noblewoman doomed to a loveless marriage falls into a scandalous affair with the dashing Lord Byron.

Director: Robert Bolt
Stars: Sarah Miles, Jon Finch, Richard Chamberlain
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Sir Walter Raleigh overcomes court intrigue to win favor with the Queen in order to get financing for a proposed voyage to the New World.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Bette Davis, Richard Todd, Joan Collins
Spitfire (1942)
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Aircraft designer/patriot R. J. Mitchell, alarmed at growing German militarism, works to perfect a defense against the German Messerschmidt at the cost of his health.

Director: Leslie Howard
Stars: Leslie Howard, David Niven, Rosamund John
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Volunteers take over their local passenger train service (against bus company resistance) when the government announces its closure.

Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: Stanley Holloway, George Relph, Naunton Wayne
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The San Demetrio of the title is a British merchant ship in an Atlantic convoy in 1940. Disabled and left to the mercy of patrolling U-boats the crew must keep her afloat and out of harms ... See full summary »

Directors: Charles Frend, Robert Hamer
Stars: Arthur Young, Walter Fitzgerald, Ralph Michael
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Chaos ensues for staff and students alike when an all-boys and an all-girls school are amalgamated into one.

Director: Frank Launder
Stars: Alastair Sim, Margaret Rutherford, John Turnbull
High and Dry (1954)
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An American businessman in Scotland is conned into shipping a valuable load of cargo to a Scottish island via a coal powered boat.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Paul Douglas, Alex Mackenzie, James Copeland
Wee Geordie (1955)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Geordie is a Scots lad sent to the Melbourne Olympics to represent Britain in Hammer-Throwing. He insists on wearing his kilt...

Director: Frank Launder
Stars: Bill Travers, Alastair Sim, Paul Young
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

Closing credits superimposed over the tablet bearing the following: WILLIAM FRIESE-GREENE 1855 - 1921 A PIONEER OF THE CINEMA See more »

Connections

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

 
Terrific film for film collectors and film buffs
8 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is the 1951 feature made by the British film industry to celebrate the festival of Britain. The film stars a virtual who's who of all the famous British cinema actors of that time, and one of the fun things about this film is trying to identify all of them as they pop up in various cameo roles. The story is the biography of William Friese- Greene, who this film claims invented the motion picture camera and projector. Edison and Lumiere are casually acknowledged as also being motion picture pioneers, but Friese-Greene is claimed to have had the first intermittent mechanism (presumably the Maltese cross) used in today's cinema projectors. It also claims that he invented the biocolour process, where color motion pictures are produced by rotating two color filters in front of the camera and projector (KinemaColour). The lead role is beautifully played by Robert Donat as the quiet intense inventor obsessed with producing moving photographs, and his wife is competently played by Maria Schell. Also appearing in cameo roles are Michael Redgrave, Richard Attenborough, Peter Ustinov, Stanley Holloway, Michael Dennison, the great Dennis Price, the beautiful Glynnis Johns and her father Mervyn Johns, the eccentric Joyce Grenfell, the wonderful Margeret Rutherford, and a host of others too long to mention. The most famous cameo is by Sir Laurence Olivier, as the astonished policeman who witnesses Friese-Greene's first triumph, the projection of moving images of Hyde Park on an improvised sheet screen. This is the most remembered scene of the film, and Friese Greene's excitement at this event reminded me of my own excitement when I first turned the handle on my first Pathescope 9.5mm projector! The film is of great interest to film collectors and movie buffs, containing beautiful shots of old wood and brass magic lanterns and early movie equipment. There are many wonderful scenes, such as the Victorian photo studio where they show customers having to stand absolutely still for 30 seconds to get their photo taken! The film was produced by Roy Boulting, and the beautiful Victorian settings and costumes are sumptuously photographed by Jack Cardiff. My family and friends really enjoyed this movie, it is low key almost like a BBC period drama, but if you are a film collector you will love it. We take the showing of films in our homes for granted these days, and it easy to forget the real struggle by inventors such as Friese- Greene to achieve what seemed impossible at the time. American audiences will of course have to (at least temporarily) suspend their belief that Edison was the sole inventor of the motion picture camera ( in fact Edison was primarily a business man and entrepreneur who copied many of the motion picture concepts developed by Lumiere in France) This film is very rare indeed. I don't think it exists on VHS or DVD,(certainly not in the USA), however Super 8mm film prints do exist, so if you find an S8 print grab it! My particular super 8 print is a 2400 ft Agfa color print, pin sharp with beautiful rich colors and great contrast. The mono magnetic track sound quality is very good for a film of 1951 vintage. Highly recommended, if you can find it.


20 of 21 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:
?