Alexander Graham Bell

Overview

This fictionalized biography of the famed American inventor's life provided actor Don Ameche with his signature role. For years after its release, people even referred to the telephone as "an Ameche." The story begins in 1873 Boston as Bell endeavors to teach deaf people to speak in the manner invented by his father. When not teaching, Bell tinkers with his various inventions. Opportunity knocks when Bell is befriended by an aristocratic fellow Charles Coburn who wants Bell to help teach his daughter Loretta ...
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Overview

This fictionalized biography of the famed American inventor's life provided actor Don Ameche with his signature role. For years after its release, people even referred to the telephone as "an Ameche." The story begins in 1873 Boston as Bell endeavors to teach deaf people to speak in the manner invented by his father. When not teaching, Bell tinkers with his various inventions. Opportunity knocks when Bell is befriended by an aristocratic fellow Charles Coburn who wants Bell to help teach his daughter Loretta Young to speak. Bell agrees and falls in love with her. It is she who inspires and encourages him to invent the telephone, while it is young Watson Henry Fonda who assists him. After they meet with success, the inventors must do battle in court with Western Union, the company that held the patent to the telegraph.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Rarely has an actor been so identified with a role as Don Ameche is with the title character of The Story of Alexander Graham Bell. There's good reason, too. Ameche gives his finest performance as Bell, and while to some that might be damning with faint praise, most would admit that his work here is indeed superlative. What's interesting is how good it is without being so very different from many of his other performances. It works so well because it draws very specifically on his strongest talents and because the part is so very well written. While the screenplay as a whole has some problems -- it's of course historically inaccurate, and much of the plotting is in a very "Hollywood" vein -- Bell is delineated very effectively. Ameche gets especially fine support from a lovely Loretta Young in her "bloom" period, and there's a rare chemistry between the two. There's chemistry of a different but equally important sort between Ameche and Henry Fonda; indeed, Bell succeeds as a film largely because these three leads not only work well together but create a history and a sense of bonding between them as characters. Irving Cummings direction is smooth, if a bit slick in places, and he certainly knows how to point up the important highlights in the film. The famous "Watson, come here" moment, even after all these years, still makes considerable impact.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/6/2012
  • UPC: 024543857167
  • Original Release: 1939
  • Rating:

  • Source: Fox Mod
  • Presentation: B&W / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:38:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 26,681

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Don Ameche Alexander Graham Bell
Loretta Young Mabel Hubbard Bell
Henry Fonda Tom Watson
Charles Coburn Gardner Hubbard
Gene Lockhart Thomas Sanders
Spring Byington Mrs. Hubbard
Sally Blane Gertrude Hubbard
Polly Ann Young Grace Hubbard
Bobs Watson George Sanders, Jr.
Russell Hicks Barrows
Paul Stanton Chauncey Smith
Jonathan Hale President of Western Union
Harry Davenport Judge
Elizabeth Patterson Mrs. McGregor
Charles Trowbridge George Pollard
Jan Duggan Mrs. Winthrop
Beryl Mercer Queen Victoria
Tyler Brooke Singer
Claire Du Brey Landlady
Dick Elliott Man Who Laughs
Edmund Elton Banker
Mary Field Piano Player
George Guhl Mr. Winthrop
Otto Hoffman Pawnbroker
Warren Jackson Singer
Jack Kelly Banker's Son
Dave Morris Telegrapher
John Spacey Sir John Cowell
Landers Stevens Manager of North Eastern Telephone Exchange
Charles Tannen Clerk of Court
Zeffie Tilbury Mrs. Sanders
Harry Tyler Doc Elliott
William Wagner Bit
Jack Walsh James J. Starrow
Lillian West Nurse
Georgiana Young Berta Hubbard
Ralph M. Remley D'Arcy
Technical Credits
Irving Cummings Director
Ray Harris Original Story
Kenneth MacGowan Associate Producer
Royer Costumes/Costume Designer
Leon Shamroy Cinematographer
Louis Silvers Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Walter Thompson Editor
Lamar Trotti Screenwriter
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer
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