In Paris, at the turn of the twentieth century, impoverished Polish student Marie (Garson) shares a lab with shy French scientist Pierre Curie (Pidgeon), who admires the young woman’s scientific pluck, and soon falls in love with her. The two marry and embark on a promising research program that leads Marie to discover the element radium. Along with their success in the years ahead comes a tragic turn of events as well.
Mervyn LeRoy’s tender, dignified take on the Curies’ life was a hit with the public on release, partly since the film again paired previous Oscar winner Garson with Pidgeon (the stars had already established their on-screen chemistry in the classic wartime drama, “Mrs. Miniver”). Based on a book by Eve Curie, the couple’s daughter, “Madame Curie” is a love story wrapped around a watershed period in modern science, and all the more potent for its mix of personal triumph and heartbreak.