7.0/10
1,032
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)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Sergeant Jack Hardacre returns from the war to his contemptible fiancée Janey Jenkins intending to reconcile with her against all odds. But he falls in love with a charming new lodger Milly... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Donat, Alexander Shaw
Stars: Robert Donat, Renée Asherson, Marjorie Rhodes
Drama | Sci-Fi | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When the U.S. and Russia unwittingly test atomic bombs at the same time, it alters the nutation (axis of rotation) of the Earth.

Director: Val Guest
Stars: Edward Judd, Janet Munro, Leo McKern
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

As part of a bet, two aristocrats offer a penniless American a loan, without telling him that the amount is £1,000,000 in the form of a single banknote.

Director: Ronald Neame
Stars: Gregory Peck, Jane Griffiths, Ronald Squire
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

1940. Captain Terence Stevenson with the British Army is part of the bomb disposal unit in London, his primary job to defuse them. Despite having no experience as a spy, he is asked by his ... See full summary »

Director: Harold S. Bucquet
Stars: Robert Donat, Valerie Hobson, Walter Rilla
Lease of Life (1954)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The parson of a small rural community knows he is dying and this makes him reconsider his life so far and what he can still do to help the community.

Director: Charles Frend
Stars: Robert Donat, Kay Walsh, Adrienne Corri
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

This biopic tells the story of the life of Pitt The Younger, who became Prime Minister of Great Britain at the age of twenty-four.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Robert Donat, Jean Cadell, Robert Morley
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A dull married couple, separated by their enlistment during World War II, reunite after three years to find that they have become very different people.

Director: Alexander Korda
Stars: Robert Donat, Deborah Kerr, Glynis Johns
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In pre-WWI England, a youngster is expelled from a naval academy over a petty theft, and his parents raise a political furor by demanding a trial.

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Robert Donat, Cedric Hardwicke, Basil Radford
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A haunted Scottish castle is dismantled and transported to Florida, bringing the family ghost along with it.

Director: René Clair
Stars: Robert Donat, Jean Parker, Eugene Pallette
Odd Man Out (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A wounded Irish nationalist leader attempts to evade police following a failed robbery in Belfast.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: James Mason, Robert Newton, Cyril Cusack
Action | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The true WWII story of Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier in U.S. history. Based on the autobiography of Audie Murphy who stars as himself in the film.

Director: Jesse Hibbs
Stars: Audie Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Charles Drake
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After two years as a Czarist British agent posing as a Russian Commissar, he rescues a Russian countess from her Bolshevik captors.

Director: Jacques Feyder
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Robert Donat, Irene Vanbrugh
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Glynis Johns (May Jones) is the daughter of Mervyn Johns (Goitz). 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.
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 Hugo (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Fairground Scene
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Gordon Jacob
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A biography of one of the true first inventors of the cinema.
30 March 1999 | by David3-DSee all my reviews

A brilliant biography of one of the virtually unknown inventors of modern motion pictures. The historical aspects are incredibly well researched and detailed (look at the film credits)-- down to the reproduction of a beautiful example of his first twin-lensed motion picture camera, which was stereoscopic (which proved not be be practical until the introduction of polarized projection at the 1939 World's Fair). This film was made as a showcase piece for the 1951 "Festival of Britain" at the current location of the Royal Festival Hall and the Museum of the Moving Image on the banks of the Thames in London, England. What remains of the original Friese-Greene camera may be seen at the Science Museum in London. For those interested in the history of the cinema, and its earliest experiments, this is a "must see" film. Historical footage is brilliantly incorporated into the story. Although the presentation is a little bit slow by today's standards, it remains a fascinating and unique film. For related topics see the book "The Missing Reel", by Christopher Rawlence, about the other unknown film pioneer, Louis Aime Augustin Le Prince.


21 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 32 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed