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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
...
...
Sitter in Bath Studio
Edward Chapman ...
Father in Family Group
John Charlesworth ...
Graham Friese-Greene
...
Bride's Father in Wedding Group
Roland Culver ...
1st Company Promoter
John Howard Davies ...
Maurice Friese-Greene
Michael Denison ...
Reporter
...
Joan Dowling ...
Maggie
...
Butler at Fox Talbot's
...
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

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

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

Connections

Referenced in London Entertains (1951) 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

 
Wonderful Robert Donat!
24 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

A first-class actor ,playing a character from his youth to an old man,with the same talent:he is as convincing as the mischievous boy who takes photographs unbeknown to his boss as the old man who tries to save the seventh art from the moneychangers in the Temple . The film has an unusually inventive construction:it is roughly made of two flashbacks ,but the first one takes place after the second one."The magic box" tells the story of a pioneer of the cinema who died in dire straits ("that's the price for a seat for pictures" )His destiny resembles that of Georges Méliès who ended his life selling candies in a railway station and who never complained about his fate.Geniuses often die unnoticed.The cinematography is splendid with tasteful colors ,the dialog does not forget humor (Donat:"Enjoy yourselves!Schell:"We're going to the church!!"),and there are very powerful scenes:the concert where Schell sings a moving solo "Where is he?I know not!I know not!";an ecstatic Donat showing his film to a constable .The cast is incredibly various and includes such luminaries as Laurence Olivier,Margaret Rutherford,Peter Ustinov,Stanley Holloway and more ,all in supporting parts or even often cameos.

How prophetic the pioneer's last words were!


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