The Magic Box Reviews
December 11, 2009
Original and beautiful looking film about one of the inventors of the movie camera. Jack Cardiff's stark color cinematography along with John Boulting's great direction of the all-star cast is really worth seeing. What was original was how the flashbacks were handled. It starts off with Donat as a old man,then middle age, and then young, very original for the time and very effective. It goes into great detail on how William Friese-Green went from a great successful photographer to a obsessive scientist risking everything to develop a new medium. The scene between Donat and Olivier with the first viewing of motion pictures is amazing.
January 27, 2010
Excellent story of William Friese-Greene, one of the pioneers in the development of the motion picture. Wonderfully played by Robert Donat, nice production values and a solid screenplay that uncharacteristically does not portray the inventor always in a positive light. That's unusual, especially in the era it was filmed. A wonderful film.
October 25, 2014
A quite quaint dramatisation of one of the first ever inventors of a camera with motion capture capability. The story itself is one of quite strong sadness as poor old Friese-Green struggling to keep his, and his families, head above water while he works away below stairs on his invention. Everything is as you'd expect from a well made early 50's British movie, and it is quite an insight into the inner workings of late Victorian/Edwardian photography and life in general. Anyone with interest in either early cinema or British classics (or both) should give this a hunt down.
March 14, 2011
A deeply sympathetic and romanticised portrait of William Friese-Greene, the man who patented the first motion picture camera. Oscar winner Robert Donat is likeable as Friese-Greene and Margaret Johnson and Maria Schell deliver strong performances as the two loves of his life. Featuring cameos by a host of British screen legends - including Laurence Oliver, Peter Ustinov and Margaret Rutherford - THE MAGIC BOX is a real treat for movie buffs!