The Magic Box

Director: John Boulting
Year Released: 1951
Rating: 2.0

The second wife of motion picture inventor William Friese-Greene (Robert Donat) recalls their marriage together, having multiple children, and then going bankrupt multiple times because of his extravagant spending ... and then the movie goes back to his "glory days" with first wife Helena (Maria Schell), having a daughter and also wasting huge amounts of money.  Whether or not he was the "first person" to create the movie camera is up for debate (Louis Le Prince?  Thomas Edison?  William Kennedy Dickson?) but there's no doubt he was "in the mix" (as it were), and while this is an oddly-structured love letter to the medium (with a ton of cameos, including Larry and Peter Ustinov), it's all too intent on beating him up for his obsession with becoming wealthy and famous: his one son gets mauled for defending his Dad's honor, other sons join the war effort to stop being a "burden" on him, his first wife dies and so forth; Donat's portrayal suggests he might have had ASD (autism spectrum disorder).  It's designed in such a way as to have him end on a "high note" - and by that I mean a big speech followed by dying - but it's almost like it's an argument for not pursuing your dreams.