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The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 14 April 1939 (USA)
The story of how Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.

Director:

Irving Cummings

Writers:

Ray Harris (story), Lamar Trotti (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Ameche ... Alexander Graham Bell
Loretta Young ... Mrs. Mabel Hubbard Bell
Henry Fonda ... Thomas Watson
Charles Coburn ... Gardner Hubbard
Gene Lockhart ... Thomas Sanders
Spring Byington ... Mrs. Hubbard
Sally Blane ... Gertrude Hubbard
Polly Ann Young ... Grace Hubbard
Georgiana Young ... Berta Hubbard
Bobs Watson ... George Sanders
Russell Hicks ... Mr. Barrows
Paul Stanton ... Chauncey Smith
Jonathan Hale ... President of Western Union
Harry Davenport ... Judge Rider
Beryl Mercer ... Queen Victoria
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Storyline

Alexander Graham Bell falls in love with deaf girl Mabel Hubbard while teaching the deaf and trying to invent means for telegraphing the human voice. She urges him to put off thoughts of marriage until his experiments are complete. He invents the telephone, marries and becomes rich and famous, though his happiness is threatened when a rival company sets out to ruin him. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Darryl F. Zanuck's Entertainment gem will take its place in the Hall of Fame ! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 April 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alexander Graham Bell See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Don Ameche's brother, Jim Ameche, portrayed Alexander Graham Bell in The Story of Mankind (1957). See more »

Goofs

Bell said, that he sent the first time a sound through a wire, in the 1870s. The actual first sound through a wire was made by Philipp Reis in 1862. See more »

Quotes

Alexander Graham Bell: Your honor... Have I committed some offense by starving in an attic? By spending sleepless nights at my work? By being too poor to own a decent scrap of paper, on which to tell her of my love? I have sat here for days and heard myself called liar, thief, fraud and cheat. I've seen my friends humiliated, my invention belittled, just as I have seen my business destroyed by methods which must leave every honest man appalled.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 50 Years of Magic (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

The Star Spangled Banner
(1814)
Music by John Stafford Smith
Lyrics by Francis Scott Key
Part of a medley sung by an unidentified trio demonstrating the telephone
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pappa Bell
13 April 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

This biopic about the invention of the telephone proved to be a surprise. Not having seen it, we took the chance and it proved to be a real charmer. Under the direction of Irving Cummings, we get to know a great deal, not only about the invention itself, but a little bit about the man.

Alexander Graham Bell was an ambitious man who was interested in helping a young deaf-mute boy, as the picture opens. We see him toiling at a prototype for the telegraph, and stumbling into the transmission of sound through wires, thus creating something that revolutionized society, business and the world at large. In retrospect, one can only imagine how could anyone survived without it! Thanks to Mr. Bell, his invention is something that benefited all of us.

Don Ameche makes an intense Alexander Graham Bell. He was a charming actor who never ceased to amaze us in all the movies he left behind. Loretta Young, makes a wonderful Mabel Hubbard, Mr. Bell's beloved wife who had to struggle with her own deafness. A young Henry Fonda is seen as Bell's loyal friend Thomas Watson.

The cast assembled for the film shows the best Hollywood could offer. Charles Coburn and Spring Byinton play the kind Hubbards. Gene Lockhart is also quite good as Thomas Sanders. Two of Loretta Young sisters Polly Ann and Georgiana play two of the Hubbard girls, as well as Sally Blane who is the fourth daughter.

This is a film that is instructive as well as fun to watch because of the subject matter and the cast that made the story come alive.


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