"The Magic Box" is an early British technicolor movie. After World War II, austerity mean thst British studios continued to work mostly in black-and-white. The movie is about British photographer and inventer, William Friese-Greene. Robert Donat, a major British star, plays the photographer. The film suggests that he invented the first working motion picture camera. The actual history is more complicated than the film suggests, but Friese-Greene was clearly an indistry pioneer whose inventionand patents got tied up in court. The film proved a box office flop. The story is told in flashback by a tired, defeated old man. The film show him beginning as a young, dynamic photographer. He hyphenates his name to include his first wife's name--making it sound more impressive to perspective clients. Gradually his focus changes from studio photography to motion pictures which becomes an obsession.
The film is set in his his photographic studio in Bath and later in Brighton. In the film are recreations of his still photography.
He experimented in motion picture photography. However he was not the first as this film claims but one of several important early pioneers.
Can send over grabs of these images if it will help. His work is supposed to show more natural relaxed pictures than the very formal portraits taken at the time.
In the photographic studio scene he has a disagreement with his mentor - Mr. Gutenberg. It concerns a photograph a family have asked him to take of their two children and their nanny.
The little girl is reluctant to have her photograp taken. Friese Greene makes the little girl a rag doll and she is very happy to hold it and face the camera while the photograph is being taken. However the Belguim master photographer called Mr. Gutenberg arrives.
He believes the rag doll spoils the picture. Freiese Greene says that it does not matter as he can paint it out afterwards. Gutenberg will have none of this nonesense.
With children he says you have to be gentle but firm. "Now little girl give the doll to me."
"No " says the child where upon Guttenberg grabs forces from her The gentle and kind approach? Having got the rag doll from the child mayam breaks out.
Michael - the boy in the sailor suit played by John Howard Davis (who played the lead in his other films) valiantly stands up for hios sister. He calls Gutenberg is a beast for making his sister cry. He kicks and punches Guttenberg and hits him with his straw boater. The children and the Nanny leave the studio in much distress.
Afterwards Freise Greene explains that there are people who dislike having their picture taken and the photographer has to make the subject comfortable so that they will cooperate for a successful portrait. He resigns to set up his own studio.
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