The Story of Alexander Graham Bell
|The Story of Alexander Graham Bell|
|Directed by||Irving Cummings|
|Produced by||Darryl F. Zanuck (producer)
Kenneth Macgowan (associate producer)
|Written by||Ray Harris|
|Screenplay by||Lamar Trotti
|Music by||Ernst Toch|
|Edited by||Walter A. Thompson|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
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.
- Don Ameche as Alexander Graham Bell
- Loretta Young as Mrs. Mabel Hubbard Bell
- Henry Fonda as Thomas A. Watson
- Charles Coburn as Gardiner Greene Hubbard
- Gene Lockhart as Thomas Sanders
- Spring Byington as Mrs. Hubbard
- Sally Blane as Gertrude Hubbard
- Polly Ann Young as Grace Hubbard
- Georgiana Young as Berta Hubbard
- Bobs Watson as George Sanders
- Russell Hicks as Mr. Barrows
- Paul Stanton as Chauncey Smith
- Jonathan Hale as President of Western Union
- Harry Davenport as Judge Rider
- Beryl Mercer as Queen Victoria
- Elizabeth Patterson as Mrs. Mac Gregor
- Charles Trowbridge as George Pollard
- Jan Duggan as Mrs. Winthrop
- Claire Du Brey as Landlady
- Harry Tyler as Joe Eliot
- Ralph Remley as D'Arcy - Singer
- Zeffie Tilbury as Mrs. Sanders
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-14.