7.0/10
898
17 user 2 critic

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)
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Union Pacific (1939)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In 1862, Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads compete westward across the wilderness toward California.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Akim Tamiroff
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A fictionalized account of the early life of the American president as a young lawyer facing his greatest court case.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Henry Fonda, Alice Brady, Marjorie Weaver
Let Us Live (1939)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two innocent men are wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The fiance of one of them convinces a police detective of their innocence, and together they try to find the real ... See full summary »

Director: John Brahm
Stars: Maureen O'Sullivan, Henry Fonda, Ralph Bellamy
Mister 880 (1950)
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Gentle romantic comedy about a Secret Service Agent trying to catch a cold case counterfeiter and a United Nations translator.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Edmund Gwenn, Dorothy McGuire
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Ex-GI Nick Blake gets involved in a scheme to fleece a rich, young widow, but finds himself falling for her, much to the displeasure of his racketeer cohorts.

Director: Jean Negulesco
Stars: John Garfield, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Walter Brennan
The Glass Key (1942)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A crooked politician finds himself being accused of murder by a gangster from whom he refused help during a re-election campaign.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Brian Donlevy
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

With her husband away to fight in World War II, a housewife struggles to care for their two daughters - and a pair of lodgers who have moved in - alone.

Directors: John Cromwell, Edward F. Cline, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When retired racket boss John Sarto tries to reclaim his place and former friends try to kill him, he finds solace in a monastery and reinvents himself as a pious monk.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sothern
Impact (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A unfaithful wife plots with her lover to kill her husband, but the lover is accidentally killed instead. The husband stays in hiding, and lets his wife be charged with conspiracy.

Director: Arthur Lubin
Stars: Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, Charles Coburn
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Journalist Steve O'Malley wants to write a biography of a national hero who died when his car ran off a bridge. Steve receives conflicting reports and tales that make him question what the truth about the hero is.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Richard Whorf
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

San Quentin prison inmate Arnie Judlow asks his twin brother Bill and his wife Ruth to assist him in a daring escape plan.

Director: Russell Rouse
Stars: Jack Palance, Harold J. Stone, Edward Platt
Certificate: Passed Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A cantankerous old man takes in his beloved, orphaned grandson, whom he must protect at all costs, including from an agent of Death with the help of a magical apple tree.

Director: Harold S. Bucquet
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Cedric Hardwicke, Beulah Bondi
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 April 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alexander Graham Bell See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film had its premiere at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. 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

Mrs. Hubbard: Mr. Watson, please eat something. You must have the appetite of a bird.
Thomas Watson: Yes, Ma'am, a vulture.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in You Bet Your Life: Episode #8.25 (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
Music traditional - English origin (ca. 1755)
Part of a medley sung by an unidentified trio demonstrating the telephone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Inventing the telephone
2 November 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

This film has a unique place in movie history. The Story of Alexander Graham Bell not only gave Don Ameche his signature role, but Ameche's very name entered the English slang. Still today, a telephone is sometimes referred to as an "ameche."

Bell was a Scottish immigrant who came by way of Canada to the Boston area. At the time the film opens, Don Ameche is a teacher of deaf children. He's also employed as a private tutor to one particular child, Bobs Watson who is Gene Lockhart's son. There scenes have a particular poignancy.

Ameche also woos and wins Loretta Young, a deaf woman who is the son of prominent businessman, Charles Coburn, who later backs him in his scientific work and business ventures.

As you can imagine living in a world with a whole lot of silent people and a natural scientific bent made him curious about sound. In inventing the telephone, Bell sought to break the sound barrier which was then limited by how loud the loudest person could shout.

The famous scene with assistant Henry Fonda when Bell's own voice goes over a wire for the first time is there. And his later patent struggles are also well documented.

But it is Don Ameche's sincere and straightforward interpretation of Alexander Graham Bell that makes this film memorable. And he's matched every step of the way by Loretta Young as his wife. Ms. Young by the way got to be in this film with all three of her sisters, playing her sisters, a rare treat.

Given Bell's lifelong interest in the deaf, I'm sure that today with the invention of TTY lines to help deaf people communicate by phone, he'd be doubly proud of what he had accomplished.

A good film and a great tribute to a great scientific and humanitarian individual.


21 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 17 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed