17 user 6 critic

The Magnet (1950)

Approved | | Comedy | 26 February 1951 (USA)
A boy steals a powerful magnet from a younger boy and gets him into all sorts of trouble.


Charles Frend


T.E.B. Clarke (original screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Stephen Murray ... Dr. Brent
Kay Walsh ... Mrs. Brent
James Fox ... Johnny Brent (as William Fox)
Meredith Edwards ... Harper
Gladys Henson Gladys Henson ... Nannie
Thora Hird ... Nannie's Friend
Michael Brooke Michael Brooke ... Kit (as Michael Brooke Jr.)
Wylie Watson ... Pickering
Julien Mitchell Julien Mitchell ... The Mayor
Anthony Oliver Anthony Oliver ... Policeman
Molly Hamley-Clifford Molly Hamley-Clifford ... Mrs. Dean
Harold Goodwin ... Pin-Table Attendant
Edward Davies Edward Davies ... Delinquent Youth
Keith Robinson Keith Robinson ... Spike
Thomas Johnston Thomas Johnston ... Perce


A mixture of a psychological study of a ten-year-old boy, an English domestic comedy and a satire on psychologists finds young Johnny Brent, the only child of a pair of psychologists, trading an "invisible watch" to a much-younger child for a large magnet. His nurse/nanny accuses him of stealing and scolds him and he runs away. He soon convinces himself that the police are after him and following several unsuccessful attempts to get rid of the magnet, he presents it to an organizer of a fund-raising campaign for acquiring an iron-lung for the local hospital. The magnet is one of the auction items and finally is mounted on the iron-lung as a tribute to the unknown donor. Meanwhile, the father makes a completely inaccurate diagnosis for the mother of the boy's worries. In the end the boy meets the child he thought had died as a result of losing the magnet, and trades the boy back for the return of his "invisible watch" the gold medal the town mayor had given him for his part in the ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The happiest, most delightful misadventure of the year. See more »




Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Opening credits: The events and characters portrayed in this film are fictitious and any similarity to any incident, name or individual is coincidental. See more »


Near the start of the film, Johnny chalks a diamond shape on a gatepost. When a tramp appears moments later, the diamond is lower down and the corners are much sharper. See more »


Juke Box Jumba
Music by Jack Parnell
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User Reviews

Magnetic Narrative
15 October 2007 | by tedgSee all my reviews

English films from right after the war — particularly those from Ealing or Archers — are a pretty interesting pocket to mine. Its a strange mix of experiments of all types. There's no predictability, no massive copying. Its as if everything is reset in a cultural medium and tastes need to be rediscovered or even reinvented.

This story as two elements. One is a story about a boy in a boy's clever world of invention and exploration. That's the bits you are meant to see. The other is overtly symbolic: his father is a clinical psychologist who has a need to "explain things." The story is about the hunger of certain stories, one would almost say the attraction or magnetism of stories, and that can be the only reason why the possession that triggers the story-story is a magnet.

What happens here is an ordinary episode triggers several fantastic stories, all of them with lives of their own as they adapt to live and propagate. There's extreme attention to symbols as if it were written by the psychologist: iron lungs, remote alarms, "secret" sign language, an invisible watch.

The story itself has minor charms. Its the loading of the overt symbols that is the fun part, especially since the writer seems to be poking fun at the notion of symbols the whole time.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.

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Release Date:

26 February 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alba generosa See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (recorded on) (Gaumont Kalee Sound System) (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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