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32 user 13 critic

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:

John Boulting

Writers:

Ray Allister (based on the biography: "Friese-Greene, Close Up of an Inventor"), Eric Ambler (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:
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:

A fabulous cast of 60 STARS See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 January 1952 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Caixa Mágica 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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Friese-Greene's son Claude Friese-Greene continued to develop his father's color process and produced a series of color travelogues of Britain in the 1920s. These never achieved contemporary commercial success, but formed the basis of a very popular three-part BBC Television broadcast The Lost World of Friese-Greene (2006), after being preserved by the British Film Institute. 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

Choral Concert
(uncredited)
Words and Music by William Alwyn
See more »

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User Reviews

A Terrific Movie
19 December 2001 | by falonSee all my reviews

The most enjoyable and very emotional scene was when Robert Donat (Wm. Friese-Greene) finally succeeds in producing moving images on a sheet he's hung in his studio...he runs like a madman into the street in the middle of the night desperate to find someone to witness this miracle. Who does he find? Sir Laurence Olivier..a Police Constable . Donat ushers him into his lab, sits him down and proceeds to ramble on about what he's invented. Sir Laurence, the ever vigilant and cautious policeman thinks he's some kind of nut and slowly reaches for his night stick..that's when Robert Donat flicks on the first moving pictures of Hyde Park...Olivier is flabergasted..gets up moves to the sheet and looks behind it.."That's Hyde Park!' After rambling some more Robert Donat breaks into tears..finally explaining what he has accomplished..Olivier replies "You must be a very happy man"..a terrific scene and one I'll never forget. A cameo appearance by Lord Olivier and a very memorable scene.


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