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The Magic Box (1951)

 -  Biography | Drama  -  21 January 1952 (UK)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 744 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 11 critic

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

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(based on the biography: Friese-Greene, Close-Up of an Inventor), (screenplay)
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Title: The Magic Box (1951)

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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:
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
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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:

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:

(Technicolor) (as Colour by Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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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 »

Connections

Referenced in Hugo (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Till the Boys Come Home
(1914) (uncredited)
Written by Ivor Novello and Lena Guilbert Ford
See more »

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User Reviews

STUNNING picture.
16 February 1999 | by (Medford, Oregon US) – See all my reviews

A stunning biography of William Friese-Greene, the UK inventor who made important contributions towards the creation of the motion picture, then saw greatness pass him by. Brilliantly written by Eric Ambler, and with beautiful color photog by Jack Cardiff (working in the 3-strip Technicolor process that we see Friese-Greene working towards in the picture!). Robert Donat's performance in the lead is among his best screen work. As this was made on the occasion of Britain's 1951 "Festival of Lights", virtually every British actor of note at the time appears in the picture---but pay particularl attention for Laurence Olivier, as a London "bobby" who is the first to see Friese-Greene's "pictures that move", and for the film's closing line, delivered by Dennis Price.


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