THE TIME MACHINE
STARRING: Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux, Sebastian
Cabot, Tom Helmore, Whit Bissell, Doris Lloyd
1960, 103 Minutes, Directed by: George Pal
The Time Machine has aged terribly - which is perhaps ironic for a movie
with such a title. Not only does the movie, made in 1960, predict that the
world will end after a nuclear war in 1966 (!), but the special effects
and make-up are positively antiquated now.
Sure, the special effects were
clever for its time, but if you're the type who hate old movies because
of their inferior (when compared to today's special effects extravaganzas)
production values, then you're advised to avoid The Time Machine.
In such an event I am sure that you would prefer the
2002 remake. Be warned, however,
that both movie versions take liberties with the H.G. Wells' novel
on they are supposedly based. It would seem that any similarities between the
movies and their source material
are purely coincidental, especially in the case of the new version: its producers
probably wanted to make The Mummy instead!
This 1960 version
will have literary purists fuming, even though it doesn't take as much liberties as George Pal did with a previous H.G.
Wells movie adaptation, namely 1953's War of the
Worlds.) Wells' Darwinist
comments involving labor and capital evolving into separate races are
diluted in favor of romance and adventure.
A Victorian inventor takes
a time machine to the year 802 701, where he finds humanity divided into
two groups: the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi are a vacant lot, looking
like the kids from Village of the Damned would probably have looked like
had they grown up. These airhead Aryan types lead a life of complete luxury
in a virtual paradise, but they lack culture, drive and ambition.
In contrast, the Morlocks are blue skinned hairy monsters that
beneath the earth, keeping the Eloi in their luxurious lifestyle. Starting
to get the point? For a succinct summary go watch Mel Gibson's 1996 movie
Ransom, in which the villain played by Gary Sinise explains The Time
plot points. (Or rather don't: any movie in which one identifies with
the supposed bad guys instead of the film's hero has to be skewed. Besides,
who can identify with a corrupt billionaire union-bashing airline owner
played by Mel Gibson?)
Like I said, unlike its literary inspiration The Time Machine isn't out
to score any philosophical points. Despite this it remains a fun movie to watch.
The plot is still interesting, the acting decent, the pace brisk, the dialogue
thoughtful and the whole affair isn't anywhere as camp as it could have
If you're a serious SF fan then you'll no doubt enjoy The Time Machine
and agree that it is deservedly the classic that it is held out to be. Catch it late on TV one night. (Possible double bill idea: rent this movie
together with the much underrated Time After Time.)
Top 100 Sci-Fi
of all time