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Time mechine poster

IntroductionEdit

The visionary qualities of H.G.Wells' novels have always possessed tremendous cinematic potential, and director George Pal had already turned Wells' War Of The Worlds into a cinema blockbuster amongst others. Filming one of Wells' other great novels, The Time Machine, was more difficult with regards to the adaptation process. Here was a novel aimed at being a social satire; criticising the class system of Victorian England that was driving apart the working classes from the fat aristocracy. However, this notion had to a great extent become moribund by 1960, the year Pal adapted The Time Machine. Pal therefore opted to turn The Time Machine into a straightforward science-fiction story, omitting the social satire and replacing it with thrilling entertainment.Still,this movie must be so loved,it must have been the partial inspiration for television series-Doctor Who and The Time Tunnel.Various Classic Comic Adaption have made.There are two versions of ,one for NBC -that has been forgotten by nearly everybody and one Dreamworks.

The BeginningEdit

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It's five days into the new century (Twentieth Century to be precise) and eccentric inventor George Wells (Rod Taylor) has invited his closest friends for dinner at his house. His friends are impatient, as George is late for his own dinner. George soon manages to show up, but his clothes are torn, and his body bruised. His friends sit him down, and George tells the story of what has happened to him. George reminds his friends of the meeting they had five days earlier, in which George demonstrated to them a prototype co

ntraption he had built, which could travel in time.

In 1899 London, George (Rod Taylor) discusses the subject of time as the fourth dimension with some of his friends, among them David Filby (

Alan Young) and Dr. Philip Hillyer (Sebastian Cabot). He then shows them a tiny machine that he claims can travel in time.When activated, the device first blurs, then disappears. The others are incredulous, but dismiss what they have witnessed as a parlour trick and leave. Before he departs, Filby warns George that it is not for them "to tempt the laws of providence.".Filby co

mments if,that c



ontraption can do what you says it does,George..destroy it now before it destroys you. .Here is a bit of dialogue,that comes off as pointless.It's suppose to make more exciting and dangerous for the Time Travellers,but it the end,just comes as silly. They agree to meet again next Friday. His friends disbelieved George and his prototype, and when they left, George tested out the full version, sending himself years into the future.

He sits in it, the dial reading "December 31, 1899", pushes the lever forward, and watches time pass at an accelerated rate around him.George at first dosen't think anything has changed and maybe his Time Mechine just isn't working at all.George checks the time on December 31, 1899 with his 1905 Elgin pocketwatch-obviously an object someone brought back from the future and gave to the Time Traveller.


To his amusement, he sees the changing of women's fashion on a mannequin in the window of a dress shop across the street.Eventually, he stops the machine at September 13, 1917 to see what has become of the world. He meets a man in uniform whom he mistakes for his old friend, David Filby; it turns out to be his son James. He informs George that his father had died recently in the "Great War". George returns to the machine and travels to June 19, 1940. There are barrage balloons in the sky and sounds of bombing, leading him to believe, "It must be the new war."


His next stop is August 18, 1966.It's the 1966 version as felt by hollywood screen writers,in the last 1950's and early 60's,with military types wearing Forbidden Planet Dress Uniforms,plus an elderly David Filby wearing his Radiotion Suite,fearing the Mushrooms will sproutting soon.Otherwords Atomic Bombs,aimed by an Atomic satilite.This falls under the trivia category: George Pal predicts Flat screen Television,in the store window of Filby's Department Store..He is puzzled to see several people hurrying past him into a fallout shelter amidst the blare of air raid sirens. An older, grey-haired James Filby tries to get him to enter the shelter as "the mushrooms will be sprouting" before fleeing.

As a bit of trivia, other than seeing the film on a big screen, the atomic satellite is only viewable on the dvd. It barely shows in the laser disc copy There is an explosion, the sky turns red, and hot lava begins to ooze down the street. George restarts the machine, just in time to avoid being incinerated. The lava covers the machine, cools and hardens, forcing George to travel far into the future before it erodes away. Throughout his time travel, George unfortunately became entangled with World War I, II and III (a nuclear war in 1966) and ultimately stopped his machine upon reaching the year 802,701,while covered over mostly by the lava flow.This mainly done to hide much of the rest of humanities history.Also the Three World Wars,also set up the world of the Morlocks and Eoli.Inside the laza mount,Herbert George and the Time Mechine continue to move forward in time and space.The traveller is freezing and wants to see when his time mechine has taken him.Although the display of the machine is illuminated, George finds it necesary to strike a match to read the indicators.

The Time Traveller,comes out of the freezing cold,laza prison,to a beautiful landscape around him.The cities gone to be replaced by new ones like Palice of White Porcilain,being contructed in the background and then going into it's later decaying years!


The Morlocks and EloiEdit

He stops the machine abruptly on October 12, in the year 802,701, next to a low building with a large, grotesque sphinx on top of it. George explores the idyllic pastoral paradise. He spots some young adults by a river. A young woman is drowning, but the others are strangely indifferent to her plight. George rescues her himself. She calls herself Weena (Yvette Mimieux) and her people the Eloi.She is very interested in him.

George,desides to follow the Eloi into the Porcelain Palace,when the Eloi din on huge fruite.He sits down with Weena and two other male Eloi.He talks about cassual conversation,such in his time,fruite this big would be news around the world.He ask them,where does it grow ?Who cultivates ?The Eloi,fail to respond,only saying that he ask strange questions.The fruite simply grows.The Time Traveller,then believe that the civilization,is so advanced,no one works hard and things are easy to come..Herbert George then wishes ask their government,laws,culture-thinking by then the world must be some sort of utopia. George is outraged to find out that the Eloi have no government, no laws, and little curiosity. The one young Eloi,responds Books.We have books The Time Traveller wishes to see these books.Weena takes George to a small museum, where talking rings tell of a centuries-long East-West nuclear war.an ancient room full of junk,Also from 'Forbidden Planet', the Astrogator from the C-57D is seen here on the right.Obviously,Captain John Adams and the crew of the C-57D exited before the world of the Morlocks and Eloi=otherwise,how one explain this,other prop reuse. One group of survivors chose to remain in the shelters, while the rest decided to "take their chances in the sunlight, slim as those chances might be."

Their books lay mouldering on a few shelves.Herbert George Wells,here don't understand and thus becomes angery at the simpleness of the Eloi. He shouts, "A million years of sensitive men dying for their dreams, for what? So you can... dance and play." He decides to return to his own time, but tracks indicate that the time machine has been dragged into the building, behind a pair of locked metal doors.Strangely,thats exactly why sensitive slaved and died for their dreams,so people could dance and play most of the time. Later, Weena tells George that the Morlocks live in the building.

He found an apocalyptic world of two species, the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi are a childish, albino race whose pursuits are totally devoted to pleasure. They question nothing, and take the food they are provided with for granted. The Morlocks on the other hand, are brutal mutant monsters forced underground, who operate clanking machinery, and serve to fatten the Eloi like cattle in order to feed on them.The War between East and West lasted for 326 years and poisoned all the air.

Mankind splintered, with some survivors moving underground into vast caverns and some stragglers remaining in the sunlight and fresh air (what little there was of it.) This is "the hopeless future," as George terms it. In 802,701 AD George discovers something else too. Mankind is "divided" (not united) by the ultimate class warfare. The Eloi are not alone. The inhuman, cannibalistic Morlocks live underground in caverns and feed off the simple, cattle-like Eloi. The Morlocks boast advanced technology (including running water and heat....) but are brutal, domineering, exploitative. The Eloi -- far from being "free" as George first thought-- are servants herded underground (by air horn sirens...) to serve the Morlocks.

Although the movie doesn't specify it, the novel makes clear that the fat, lazy Eloi are the descendants of the leisure class; the industrial Morlocks are "blue collar" workers. In the movie, they're also blue skinned, hairy monsters with glowing eyes.

Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley influence H.G. Wells. While everyone has heard about "Utopia" Wells was more interested in distopia. "Topia" means place and "U" means not common, therefore Utopia meant an uncommon place. Distopia meant noplace. That is what Wells felt would happen to our world if the capitalists were to take over and take advantage of the poor labourers. Again--according to my professor--the capitalists (business owners, especially factory owners) provided housing, food, entertainment, etc... to the workers, but at a cost. The workers would then become so indebt there was no way for them to escape. They became mindless robots, while the capitalists become hungry monsters. This makes sense, but I still feel that the Eloi are the Capitalists and the Morlocks are the Workers. The workers were kept underground in the factories, therefore they became unaccustomed to daylight and actually feared it. The Capitalists, who were used to sitting on their tushes, became only good for mindless entertainment (ie. sex, eating, sex...). Oh, back to the year, while Darwin believed humans would evolve into a smarter animal, Huxley discussed de-evolving. He believed if the world stayed as it was, we would de-evolve

One of the elements that makes The Time Machine such a memorable film (and one that holds up so well today..) is this social commentary about the "division" of mankind into "sides." Over the ages depicted in the film (from 1917 on...), The Time Machine reveals a mankind splintered by endless wars, conflicts apparently of ideology and nationalism. The divisions of war finally become such that there is actually a physiological schism in the race: Morlocks and Eloi no longer even share the same biology. This film suggests such division is mankind's destiny, that international wars will lead only to ruin, and a collapse of the species intellectually and physically. When Wells wrote the original novella, he was well-acquainted with Darwin's work, and it's fascinating to me that Wells pondered not an evolution of the species, but rather the devolution of our kind: a pervasive moral, intellectual and physical degradation.Also the Morlocks are more small apelike or lemur like.This is piticularly presented in Marvel Classic Comic version,drawn by Alex Nino.

The Morlocks were truly scary, not only visually, but because they were cannibals... although technically they only ate the Eloi and not their own kind, arguably being no longer human-with droopy faces.

Another brilliant touch I mentioned above, briefly. Specifically, the Morlock "call" for the Eloi to gather at their city entrance is the same air horn or siren noise that for generations warned humans to seek underground shelter during times of attack. That particular sound was heard so frequently throughout human history that the Eloi response has become quite literally Pavlovian in nature. The horns sound, and the Eloi drop everything and mindlessly go to the Morlocks...their enemies.

The end of the Morlocks
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Edit

This set-up horrified George, who had fallen for an Eloi named Weena (Yvette Mimieux). He embarked upon a mission to spark revolution. Unfortunately, George's time machine had been stolen by the Morlocks and locked within a huge sphinx-like structure. George continues his story to his friends, and it's unsure if his mission has been successful.

Like Doctor Who years later would do with the blond,human like Thralls and side against the evil,human Daleks,George sides with innoscent,human Eloi against the bestal,savage Morlocks.

The climatic scene has our hero George taking on the Morlocks in their own territory to rescue Weena and the other Eloi, and Indiana Jones had nothing on him! He leaps from rock to rock, swinging on poles to kick the creatures, pummeling them with his fists and swinging their own whips at them! He was truly a great action hero.

At night,Weena insists that George and her go back inside, for fear of the Morlocks. While they stay outside, he shows her a fire, and tells her a little about the past. As George tries to recover his machine, one of the Morlocks grabs Weena, but George saves her again. The next day, Weena shows George openings in the ground which look like air-shafts. George starts climbing down one of them, but then a siren sounds and he climbs back up. Weena and rest of the Eloi start walking towards the front of the building as if in a trance, seeking refuge from a non-existent attack. Before George can find her, the sirens stop and the doors close,trapping Weena and several others inside.

George climbs down an air-shaft, reaching a big artificial cave. In one chamber he sees a number of human skeletons strewn carelessly about and learns the horrifying truth: the Morlocks eat the Eloi. The Morlocks are finally shown to be hideous hominid, ape-like creatures.George finds that they are sensitive to light; he uses matches to keep them at bay, before lighting an improvised torch. At one point, a Morlock k

nocks it away, but one of the male Eloi,the one who said we have books summons up enough courage to punch the Morlock.The creature,must have had a soft,since died easy.

Weena pitches in as well. They set fire to the flammable material in the cave, driving off the Morlocks. Then the Eloi escape through the air-shafts. Under George's guidance, they drop tree branches into the shafts to feed the fire. There is an explosion, and the entire area caves in. Finding the metal doors now open, George goes in to get his machine, but the doors close behind him. A Morlock attacks, but George activates his machine and travels into the future, watching the Morlock die and turn to dust.

Back HomeEdit

Then George travels back to January 5th, 1900. He tells his story to his friends, but only Filby believes him. After George's friends leave, Filby returns, but by the time he reaches the laboratory, it is too late: George has left again. The housekeeper, Mrs. Watchett (Doris Lloyd) notes that he took three books with him. Filby asks her which three she would take with her to restart a civilization.We're not told what three books they are, but Filby asks the housekeeper "If you were going to rebuild future civilization, what three books would YOU take?" as if it were an obvious answer or so the audience might speculate as what those three books are ? .Speculation as to what three are on message boards on the net.Generally it's thought George picked the bible, a dictionary,and a medical journal of some sort maybe.Or building and agriculture ..Allan Young,who played David Filby and James Filby,believes George Pal,would choose the Bible, a medical book and a history book.Though to rebuild a new Herbert George would need to raid his library from time to time,plus often go to the Talking Rings Library.She asks Filby if they will ever see George again; Filby replies, "One cannot choose but wonder, You see, he has all the time in the world.".Ofcourse,one wonders,what Mrs Watchett will do,once her employer is gone ?Does George make frequently visits to his old home,but avoiding David Filby ?Questions never answered by this movie.We simply are left,that George leaves this world to build a new one and lets go of everyone and everything behind.

George, the time traveler of the 1960 version, goes to the future, and sees what we have done to ourselves as a species through our constant divisions (social and military). But he doesn't give up. He doesn't cower. Instead, he fights for the human race. Ultimately, he commits himself to the world of 802,701 and sets about the hard work of building a new culture, a new civilization. The message here, right beneath the surface: Yes we can. We might fail, we might even hover on the precipice of total destruction, but we can choose to involve ourselves; to fight. And we will succeed.

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Time Mechine Slide ShowEdit

Edit

The Time Mechine 1978Edit

A TV version creeply made in 1978, with time-lapse images of building walls being de-constructed, and geographic shifting from Los Angeles to Plymouth, Massachusetts, and inland California.It's much forgotten by everybody,in it looked another episode of the NBC series Fantasic Journey. John Beck starred as Neil Perry, with Whit Bissell (from the original 1960 movie and also one of the stars of the 1966 television series The Time Tunnel) appearing as one of Perry's superiors.The scientist builds a machine that will enable him to travel back and forth in time, but when he puts it in motion, he gets more than he bargained for.This Time Mechine set the modern era,and this Time Mechine is similar to the 1960's version,in that it was a seat,this time a triangle shape behind the driver.Lights rotated about the edge of the bottem triangle . Though only going a few thousand years into the future, Perry finds the world of the Eloi and Morlocks, and learns the world he left will be destroyed by another of his own inventions.The Morlocks were ,grey alien like creatures,in grey jumpuites,who carried light sticks,that resemble mini light sabers. The character Weena was played by Priscilla Barnes of Three's Company fame and is Yvette Minnue.

That is not true; about half of the movie follows the events in the novel, what with the main character going into the future and meeting the Eloi and the Morlocks. The movie adds a lot of extra stuff, including some rather silly trips to the past (the time traveler almost gets burned as a witch; he gets jailed in western times and escapes when the Younger brothers rob the bank), and it slops some anti-war messages into the mix (the Eloi and the Morlock come about due to the explosion of an anti-matter bomb the traveler was assigned to work on in his own time).Granted, the George Pal version did a bit of that as well, but it did with more wit and finesse; here, it's thuddingly obvious and utterly predictable. A weak script, cliched dialogue, and unimaginitive direction all sink this one; if it did anything, it really made you appreciate more the good job Pal did with his version. In particular, the way the Eloi were portrayed in the Pal version; they really felt like an alien culture and a race apart, while here they're just ordinary humans in togas and blonde hair. You can give the movie some credit in coming up with a fairly cool-looking time machine, but even at that, it's not as cool as the one in Pal's version.Beck is unimpressive as the lead.He's no Rod Taylor,not even close, Still, it does feature a few familiar faces such as Andrew Duggan and Whit Bissell. Collier & Heins Financial Consultants in SLC, Utah was used for some of the current era scenes.James Collier (now deceased) was president of the company. His office was used for the movie-President's (John Duggan) office. The Molock scenes were shot up in Park City, Utah in and around one of the mines.[1] Andrew Duggan as Bean Worthington, Rosemary DeCamp as Agnes ,Jack Kruschen as John Bedford ,Whit Bissell ... Ralph Branly ,John Hansenas as Ariel , R.G. Armstrong as Gen. Harris, John Doucette as Sheriff Finley , Parley Baer as Henry Haverson John Zaremba,also one of the star of the Time Tunnel, Peg Stewart , Bill Zuckert , Hyde Clayton, Craig Clyde Director: Henning Schellerup Writers: Wallace C. Bennett, H.G. Wells (novel) Release Date: 5 November 1978 (USA)==[2][3]

ConclusionsEdit

Forgetting the social satire of Wells' original novel, The Time Machine is early-sixties science fiction at it's best. Visuals are sparse yet splendid and the production design authentically recreates a ruined Earth in 802,701. Although the Eloi have a somewhat dated sixties fashion sense, they are still starkly contrasted by the brutish Morlocks, who degenerated into pure savagery. Plotting wise, The Time Machine beats Pal's War Of The Worlds for structure and pacing, and doesn't pander as much to visual effects. As George's friends, Alan Young, Sebastian Cabot, Tom Helmore and Whit Bissell provide some nice, likeable cameos, and it's a pity they aren't sharing more of the screen time. Yvette Mimieux's character Weena literally requires her to be stupid and unintelligent, and Mimieux barely delivers on the count. Fortunately for the film, Rod Taylor is an excellent and likeable lead, and you sympathise with George, due to his desire to make the Earth a better place.

The Time Machine is a concise and thrilling piece of science-fiction adventure, coupled with an interesting dose of sixties paranoia, and the latter is reflected in the film's prophetic version of World War III which occurs in 1966. Don't forget, this film was made two years before the Cuba Missile Crisis of '62 and the world's future was an uncertain status at the time.

As I said at the beginning, this is my favorite George Pal movie of all time. What is it about this that makes it my favorite? Well, part has to do with the time travel aspect -- I'm a sucker for a good time travel story. But I think just as much, it's George, the Time Traveller... a man possessed with a dream, and willing to do whatever it takes to see that dream fulfilled.

In some ways, he's kind of like Taylor, in "Planet of the Apes," in that they both go through a hero's journey... travelling into the future to find humanity enslaved, they meet and fall in love with a woman of the future... but then they diverge, as George manages to overthrow the Morlocks, and leaves us with hope that he'll be able to return humanity to its proper place on Earth!

Of course, Yvette Mimieux is also beautiful!

Next week... well, I think it'll be time for a giant creature movie!


Academy Awards 1960 Best Special Effects - Gene Warren, Tim Baar

Academy Award Nominations 1960 None



Monsters csg330 the time machine



Picture When movie-lover and billionaire Ted Turner purchased the entire back-catalogue of MGM films, he spared no expense in paying for their complete restoration. What resulted, was fantastic prints of films such as Doctor Zhivago, North By Northwest and 2001 - A Space Odyssey. The Time Machine is no different, and the print is magnificent. There are some dirt marks and scratches, but this is the fault of the original stock footage used for the film. Some of the scenes are given such clarity that they actually look brand new, and the colours have been given a new lease of life. Presented in matted anamorphic 1.78:1.

Sound It would be boring by now to moan about the fact that the original audio track has not been included on yet another re-issue, and The Time Machine unfortunately needs moaning about. The 5.1 remix is reasonably good, with some added spatial effects and a greater spreading of music score, despite the film quite comfortably needing only to exist in 2.0 stereo or mono. Surely it isn't too difficult to include a film's original audio track and a DVD that lacks commentaries and has only one other language option?



Extras


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Menu: A static menu comprising illustrations from the film, complete with portions of Russell Garcia's original music score.

Packaging: As Warner Brothers own the rights to Turner's catalogue, the DVD is in Warner and not MGM packaging. Therefore, a snapper case is provided, with original poster artwork on the front cover and chapter listings on the inner part of the case.

Time Machine: The Journey Back: A strange retrospective documentary on the film, lasting forty-seven minutes and hosted by Rod Taylor. Instead of concentrating on the production, the documentary spends a great chunk on how the time machine chair was restored, and what its uses were after the film.I guess,if one is interested in such things,and there are fans out who are,creating models and such of the Time Mechine,it's ok.Also complete with some strange scenes featuring the now old Alan Young and Rod Taylor reprising the characters of Filby and George! George and Filby work ok,Whit Bissell's characters acts bizzare,as he had bumped his head somewhere,too many times,trying get Doug and Tony out of the Time Tunnel.These are bizarre and pointless, and the documentary, filmed in 1992, looks to have been transferred off a video master, with excessive shakes and poor definition.

Cast & Crew: Short biographies displayed as on screen text with photos of Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux, Sebastian Cabot and George Pal.

Awards: A pointless text page displaying the fact that The Time Machine won the 1960 Oscar for Best Special Effects.

Original Trailer: An exciting fifties style trailer with bold lettering advertising the film, and cashing on the fact that George Pal previously made War Of The Worlds.

Isolated Music Score Track: Well, there should be an isolated music score track, as promised on the back of the packaging, but this was dropped at the last minute so as to not make the Box Set (Essentially the DVD with some postcards and the soundtrack) less appealing. This is very bad practice indeed, and the DVD should at least carry a sticker with a disclaimer informing the customer.



Timemachine1




Conclusion Due for release in the states this month, The Time Machine has just been remade with Guy Pearce and Jeremy Irons, and if other science-fiction remakes are anything to go by (such as Planet Of The Apes and Rollerball) then it might do the original a service in showing just how good it really is in comparison. The DVD lacks quality extras, and even lies about some of them, but it's still hard to fault the overall package as The Time Machine is a gripping adventure/science-fiction tale that still is very enjoyable forty two years later.


CULT MOVIE REVIEW: The Time Machine (1960)Edit

[1]George Pal's 1960 fantasy masterpiece is the undeniable grandfather of the time travel film genre. It's also likely one of the most popular and well-known science fiction movies ever made, pre-Star Wars. You've probably seen the movie's trademark (and titular) vehicle in movies such as Gremlins (1984), and on TV programs including Carl Sagan's Cosmos (1981) and even Leonard Nimoy's version of In Search Of (1974).

Believe it or not, the time machine itself boasts a fan base. If you've never seen it,how could you not,since it's likeness is all over the internet on various pages and websites, the only way I can describe it is as a Victorian-style snow sled. It basically consists of an elaborate (padded) chair, brass siding, an oval control panel and a spinning vertical dish (rear-mounted). In whatever fashion you choose to describe the time machine, it's not merely gorgeous, it's strangely believable, both as a functional device and as a "futuristic" artifact of the long gone Victorian Age.

As you probably know, the 1960 film (with Academy Award winning special effects from Gene Warren and Wah Chang) is based on socialist H.G. Wells' 1895 speculative novella The Time Machine. Both the film and the literary work focus on one man: an eccentric London inventor, in the film named George (Rod Taylor). On December 31st, 1899, this renaissance man attempts to convince his skeptical dinner guests (including Alan Young, Whit Bissell and Sebastian Cabot) that he has indeed invented a device that can travel through time. It occupies the same space, yet moves through eras. His skeptical guests don't believe George, even after an effective demonstration of a miniature model. [2]

The StoryEdit

After his dinner guests have departed, George and his friend Philby (Young) share a philosophical discussion. "Why the pre-occupation with time?" asks Philby sincerely. George's answer is telling. He doesn't much care for his own time, an epoch when science is called on only to invent new weapons, ones that can more efficiently "de-populate" the Earth. Not entirely unlike Taylor in Planet of the Apes, George hopes that there is a better world for man "out there." Only in this case, "Out there" is not on another planet...but in another age. Philby considers the time machine dangerous and urges the destruction of the invention. A time machine, he believes may be "tempting the Laws of Providence." After Philby departs, George retreats to his study and activates his time machine. He stops first in 1917 and meets Philby's grown son, who tells him of the first World War with Germany. A disappointed George returns to his machine and plunges further ahead in time. On the next occasion, he arrives in the early 1940s, just as German bombs level London during the Blitz. Pushing even further ahead, George travels to 1966 just as a nuclear war between the East and West breaks out. He meets an ancient Philby in this era -- a man wearing a silver radiation suit -- who urges him to take cover in a nearby bomb shelter before "the mushrooms". George leaves this era behind just as the bombs strike and travels further ahead. Further and further... Finally, George stops his machine in the far-flung world of 802,701 AD. Wilderness appears to have reasserted itself over the ages, save for some oddly-advanced (though damaged...) structures, like a vast dome. George soon meets the denizens of this era, the androgynous and peaceful Eloi. He learns the Eloi have no government, no economy, and now laws.

Nobody in the society works, and worse -- they don't even know how to grow their own food. The Eloi can't write or read and have grown terribly incurious. George asks some questions ("the only way man learns and develops, he says, in one of the film's many great lines of dialogue) and is escorted by the lovely Weena (Yvette Mimieux) to a library of information discs. The discs (or "talking rings" as Weena calls them...) recount for George the rest of the story: The War between East and West lasted for 326 years and poisoned all the air. Mankind splintered, with some survivors moving underground into vast caverns and some stragglers remaining in the sunlight and fresh air (what little there was of it.) This is "the hopeless future," as George terms it. In 802,701 AD George discovers something else too. Mankind is "divided" (not united) by the ultimate class warfare. The Eloi are not alone. The inhuman, cannibalistic Morlocks live underground in caverns and feed off the simple, cattle-like Eloi. The Morlocks boast advanced technology (including running water and heat....) but are brutal, domineering, exploitative. The Eloi -- far from being "free" as George first thought-- are servants herded underground (by air horn sirens...) to serve the Morlocks.

Although the movie doesn't specify it, the novel makes clear that the fat, lazy Eloi are the descendants of the leisure class; the industrial Morlocks are "blue collar" workers. In the movie, they're also blue skinned, hairy monsters with glowing eyes.

One of the elements that makes The Time Machine such a memorable film (and one that holds up so well today..) is this social commentary about the "division" of mankind into "sides." Over the ages depicted in the film (from 1917 on...), The Time Machine reveals a mankind splintered by endless wars, conflicts apparently of ideology and nationalism. The divisions of war finally become such that there is actually a physiological schism in the race: Morlocks and Eloi no longer even share the same biology. This film suggests such division is mankind's destiny, that international wars will lead only to ruin, and a collapse of the species intellectually and physically. When Wells wrote the original novella, he was well-acquainted with Darwin's work, and it's fascinating to me that Wells pondered not an evolution of the species, but rather the devolution of our kind: a pervasive moral, intellectual and physical degradation.

Another brilliant touch I mentioned above, briefly. Specifically, the Morlock "call" for the Eloi to gather at their city entrance is the same air horn or siren noise that for generations warned humans to seek underground shelter during times of attack. That particular sound was heard so frequently throughout human history that the Eloi response has become quite literally Pavlovian in nature. The horns sound, and the Eloi drop everything and mindlessly go to the Morlocks...their enemies.

In watching many time travel films over the last several weeks, I begin to detect with some clarity how different artists have manipulated the form (on film) to depict their stories, and make their dramatic points. Time After Time balanced the idealism of an earlier age with the hectic world of "today" and played like a satire on the present (or more rightly, 1979). The Final Countdown asked questions about whether it is right and proper to interfere in history. Somewhere in Time is a more intimate approach to time travel; one in which the human mind --- and the capacity to love (romantically) -- is the impetus for such odysseys.

Pal's The Time Machine boasts another style all together; and it's entirely in keeping with the literary work and interests of Wells himself (and films such as Things to Come). Specifically, the film extrapolates about the direction we're headed. The film visualizes for the audience the changes that could happen, if we don't alter our ways. The reason to travel to the future is change the now, so the film is social commentary too, but in a far more grave sense than Time After Time. Given that this film was crafted in 1960 (during the Cold War), it is understandable that the focus here would be primarily on war and the consequences. Just think, at their ages in 1960, Time Machine writer David Duncan and director George Pal had already lived through World War I, World War II, The Korean War, and the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. It was THE issue vexing us in their lifetime. There wasn't much cause for optimism.

ConclusionsEdit

This film was remade in 2002 by Simon Wells (yes -- a relation of H.G. Wells!) , but -- in a troubling symptom of the times -- the time traveler's journey there became an entirely "personal" one; vastly undercutting the thematic underpinnings of the tale. In that unfaithful version of the material, the time traveler's beloved fiancee had died, and he simply wanted to change that bad negative outcome. Therefore, the reasons behind time traveling in the 1960 version: curiosity, hunger for change, dissatisfaction about the present, hope for the future (balanced with warnings about what it could be...) were all essentially abandoned. I think that's a grave mistake and a betrayal of the source material. I think you're right on with your thoughts of why the remake failed. The scene from the 1960 version that always stayed with me from the time I first saw this as a kid was the one with the books crumbling to dust, George's horror at how incurious and unintellectual the Eloi are, and his excitement when he's told of the talking rings. If you boil down all the themes of the story, it's really about curiosity and the consequences for our civilization and our species if we abandon that. But here in the 21st century, we seem to already be turning into Eloi -- curiosity is being replaced with materialism, and the traveler's personal motivations in the remake never make sense in context with the story's outline (i.e., his reasons for building the machine don't lead into the events that HG Wells wrote about). Think about it: George, the time traveler of the 1960 version, goes to the future, and sees what we have done to ourselves as a species through our constant divisions (social and military). But he doesn't give up. He doesn't cower. Instead, he fights for the human race. Ultimately, he commits himself to the world of 802,701 and sets about the hard work of building a new culture, a new civilization. The message here, right beneath the surface: Yes we can. We might fail, we might even hover on the precipice of total destruction, but we can choose to involve ourselves; to fight. And we will succeed.

Otherwise, all the future's just a...bridge to nowhere.


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