I just finished watching one of the non-SF films being spotlighted in TCM's science-movies month, 1943's Madame Curie
, a Mervyn LeRoy-directed biopic about Marie and Pierre Curie, played by Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. And it's a really good movie. It's as much a love story as a story about science, and it does a good job with both. Pierre is portrayed as maybe a bit too much the stereotype of a stiff, absent-minded intellectual, but the juxtaposition of that with his developing feelings for Marie is both hilarious and touching. I've never been that fond of Pidgeon's stilted delivery, but it worked well for the character, and there were times when Pidgeon did manage to show a lot more range than I'd expected. (I find myself wondering if this performance was a template for Russell Johnson when he played the Professor on Gilligan's Island
.) And he and Garson had pretty good chemistry, so the love-story side worked well. And the movie was also very effective at portraying the adventure and wonder of science, and the importance of striving for new knowledge. Marie's dedication and brilliance were well-played. (And I loved how supportive Pierre was toward her. Whenever she was spinning some radical, wild theory, he didn't question or challenge, he just said "Go on," urging her to continue despite her own doubts.) The science was handled pretty authentically too, though I'm sure they took enormous liberties with the timing and biographies for dramatic effect. It becomes kind of a tearjerker toward the end, and effectively so. My eyes still aren't dry.
Oh, and the toddler who plays the 2-year-old Eve Curie (author of the book on which the film is based) totally steals the show in her brief scenes.