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The Magic Box (1951)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | 1 August 1952 (Australia)
A chronicle of the life of William Friese-Greene, a British inventor and early pioneer in cinema.

Director:

John Boulting

Writers:

Ray Allister (based on the biography: "Friese-Greene, Close Up of an Inventor"), Eric Ambler (screenplay)
Reviews
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)
Richard Attenborough ... Jack Carter
Robert Beatty ... Lord Beaverbrook
Martin Boddey ... Sitter in Bath Studio
Edward Chapman ... Father in Family Group
John Charlesworth 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
Robert Donat ... William Friese-Greene
Joan Dowling Joan Dowling ... Maggie
Henry Edwards ... Butler at Fox Talbot's
Mary Ellis ... Mrs. Nell Collings
Marjorie Fielding Marjorie Fielding ... Elderly Viscountess
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Storyline

Now old, ill, poor, and largely forgotten, William Freise-Greene (Robert Donat) 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 at which he was so good. 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 {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One of the world's great actors in the crowning performance of his career. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an American Film Institute poll, Jack Lemmon named this movie as his favorite movie. 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.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

It's a Long Way To Tipperary
(1912) (uncredited)
Written by Jack Judge and Harry Williams
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User Reviews

Loose biography of film pioneer William Friese-Green
11 October 1999 | by Garry JSee all my reviews

Probably one of the finest films about film to be produced. Made for the Festival of Britain in 1951, the cast boasts just about every major British star of the time. The plot involves a somewhat fictionalized history of English motion picture pioneer William Friese-Green. It is technically excellent, period details are superb and the script intelligent and poignant. Donat, as Friese-Green, is superb. The sequence where he shows an awestruck local Bobby (Laurence Olivier) the first projected motion picture image is stunning. For lovers of early film....indeed all film....this movie is a must.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1952 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Magic Box See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD) | (edited) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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