The Time Machine

Year: 1960

Production: Galaxy Films / MGM

Director: George Pal

Starring: Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux, Sebastian Cabot

Screenwriter: David Duncan

Based on The Time Machine (1895) by H.G. Wells

103 minutes; Color

Unlike Pal's War of the Worlds (1953), The Time Machine is set in the Victorian era - at least at the beginning of the film - and it is these sequences, with the inventor demonstrating his creation to his disbelieving friends amid the Victorian bric-a-brac of the cosy world, that work the best. After a visually interesting journey through time (special effects by Wah Chang and Gene Warren), pausing occasionally - for example, to note the nuclear bombardment of London in 1966 - the film reduces Wells' angry parable to a Hollywood sf formula. The parallels between the troglodytic Morlocks and the Victorian working class and between the beautiful but thoughtless Eloi and the Victorian upper class are lost. The Time Traveller becomes a confident, romantic hero, successfully rousing the Eloi to battle against their ape-like devourers. The disturbing evolutionary perspectives of the end of Wells' book are also missing. William Ferrari's charming design for the time machine does not compensate for the vulgarization of the story.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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