The Story of Alexander Graham Bell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Story of Alexander Graham Bell
The Story of Alexander Graham Bell FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Irving Cummings
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck (producer)
Kenneth Macgowan (associate producer)
Written by Ray Harris
Screenplay by Lamar Trotti
Boris Ingster
Milton Sperling
Starring Don Ameche
Loretta Young
Henry Fonda
Music by Ernst Toch
Cinematography Leon Shamroy
Edited by Walter A. Thompson
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • April 14, 1939 (1939-04-14)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Story of Alexander Graham Bell is a somewhat fictionalized 1939 biographical film of the famous inventor. It was filmed in black-and-white and released by Twentieth Century-Fox. The film stars Don Ameche as Bell and Loretta Young as Mabel, his wife, who contracted scarlet fever at an early age and became deaf.


The first half of the film concentrates on the hero's romantic, financial, and scientific struggles, starting in 1873. Most scenes are set in Boston and vicinity; a few late scenes are in London.

Henry Fonda is notable in a supporting role as the “Mr. Watson” who hears the first words ever spoken over the telephone. In a pivotal scene, Bell (Don Ameche), while working on the telephone, accidentally spills acid onto his lap and shouts in pain, “Mr. Watson, come here! I want you!”. Watson, barely able to contain his own excitement, rushes into the room and stammers out the news that he heard Bell calling out to him over the telephone receiver.  Bell has Watson repeat his own words to him to confirm it, and the two men begin hopping around the room, with Watson yelling out a war whoop.

The last part depicts the legal struggle against Western Union over patent priority in the invention of the telephone, ending with a courtroom victory. The final scene has the hero contemplating manned flight, under his wife's adoring gaze.



The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-14. 

External links[edit]