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Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Release Date: 30-JAN-2007
Media Type: DVD
Based on the book by Ève Curie, Madame Curie is a tender tribute to the two-time Nobel Prize winner (and first female recipient). Narrated by screenwriter James Hilton (Mrs. Miniver), the biopic begins in the 1890s while Marie Sklodowska (Oscar winner Greer Garson, Mrs. Miniver) is enrolled at the Sorbonne. She's a poor Polish exchange student with a passion for physics and chemistry. When he finds out about her precarious financial situation, a professor recommends her for a position with the "nervous and impatient" Dr. Pierre Curie (Walter Pidgeon, Garson's Miniver co-star) and his assistant David (Robert Walker, Strangers on a Train). Curie believes that "women and science are incompatible." Marie, who will graduate at the top of her class, quickly proves him wrong. Just as quickly, he falls in love with her and introduces her to his parents (Henry Travers and Dame May Whitty). An engagement leads to a wedding, which leads to a partnership, which leads to the discovery of radium. Tragedy will eventually divide the couple, but Marie refuses to let their work die. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy (Little Women), Madame Curie may be heavier on the romance than the science, but charm is in abundant supply. With her regal bearing and breathy British accent, Garson isn't the most obvious choice for the famed physicist, but she effectively conveys the "stubborn, eager" woman's fervor for her field-and for her husband. Margaret O'Brien (Meet Me in St. Louis) co-stars as future Nobel laureate Irene Curie. -- Kathleen C. Fennessy
- 1937 Oscar-nominated Pete Smith Specialty MGM short: "Romance of Radium"
- Greer Garson Trailer Gallery: Goodbye Mr. Chips '39, Madame Curie, Mrs. Miniver, Pride and Prejudice, Random Harvest
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It is not their best film together (that would be Mrs.Miniver) but it is a very fine performance for both in this genre. IT CERTAINLY DOES NOT COMPARE TO SOME OF THE TRULY GREAT BIOPICS EPICS LIKE BRAVEHEART but has its own charm . Just the reuniting of this pair should draw your attention as these actors are bread and butter. They work so well together. The bonus is the subject matter which was one of the great and tedious discoveries that changed the face of chemistry and physics.
The story concentrates on their (The Curies) meeting , early married years which led to the collaboration in the discovery of radium and the acceptance of a woman as scientist to be taken seriously.
Madame Curie(married name) was a brilliant polish student placed in the lab of male scientist who did not take women seriously as both qualified scholars and potential romantic interest. Mr.Pidgeon is very convincing in his fear of this new threat to his manhood and scientific station at the University from this new intrusion in his life. These scenes play well on the screen and are fun to watch. Acceptance of this woman who has intruded in his comfortable life is finally acceptable to him as he is so impressed with her academic skills.Their permanent coupling follows so quickly with true love and admiration for each other (Only in the movies). They both work for years at their proving her discovery . She is finally given the credit due her with the help of her devoted husband.
The basic facts are accurate but the film does take great liberties with their romance and mutual devotion. But this is necessary so these two fine stars can show how well they play off of each other on the screen. It does add interest and as stated earlier creates some fun for the viewer. One or the other are in every scene as there is not much going on without their presence. The film is a vehicle for putting them together again on the screen. But there are important topics protrayed in this production. Primarilary the discovery of radium and also the acceptance of the equality of a woman scientist.
It is an all round fine 1940's production for two great actors.
Greer Garson was great as Madame Curie. Yes, she may have chewed her share of the scenery, but the story was larger than life. She was one of the Prometheans exploring the basic nature of our reality. The story was larger than life, and Garson stepped it up to play the role. The real treat were the two men in her life. Walton Pidgeon played a Pierre Curie as a true poet, a man caught up in the glory and wonder of the world. Henry Travers played his father, a down home country doctor, outspoken, crotchety, but insightful and grounded.
The movie was made in 1943, so it wasn't filmed on location, but it captured the spirit of the time and place. Since it was made in 1943, we all know that Madame Curie was due for another round of the headlines just a few years later. If anything, it makes the story even more powerful, and more fun.
As a movie, I'd have to give this maybe four stars. The pacing is a bit uneven at times. On its own terms, however, I've given it five.
That said, I love this movie. Marie Curie did things that women just didn't do, good things, and she did them well. According to this portrayal, her husband backed her to the limit, risking his own health in a soul-breaking grind of daily physical labor - right beside her.
Greer Garson played this role with simple dignity and her soft laugh. She has a particularly choice moment when Professor Curie "proposes," and she asks, "What do you think I should do?"
Walter Pidgeon, as Monsieur Curie, seemed to actually step into the role he was given. He is quite charming as the kind but forgetful professor, who comes back for Marie when he realizes she has no umbrella in the rainstorm, and delivering a unique proposal with believable fervor.
If you like "based on true stories" and don't mind a story taking its time, I think you'll like this movie.