The Time Machine (1960)

The 101 Sci-Fi Movies allowed me the chance to revisit this fun George Pal classic, featuring Rod Taylor as H. George Wells, this is just a rip-roaring good fun film.

Based on the immortal tale by H.G. Wells, the tale is set at the turn of the 20th Century and the film’s protagonist, George has created the most stylish time machine this side of a blue police box and a DeLorean.

George is tired of the time he’s living in, troubled by the constant employment of science and technology to be used in war and violence against man. He dreams of traveling through time, not making himself a pharaoh of Egypt, but to travel to the far future, when he believes civilization will be a little more… civilized.

However, as he travels forward into the future, in some wonderful time-lapse photography, he sees that long into the future mankind fights with itself long enough to bring almost bring about its own destruction. (I did like the tubeless, flatscreen television in one of the windows in the alternate 1966 he comes across, before it’s all destroyed in an attack by an atomic satellite.)

He finally comes to a stop on my birthday in the year 802701! Where amidst the ruins of unknown cultures who had died in the millenia in between he encounters first the pretty but spoiled and vacuous Eloi, including Weena (Yvette Mimieux) and then the troll-like Morlocks, who have made off with his time machine, and also provide the Eloi with their food and welfare, breeding them like cattle, until they are culled and taken below.

When Weena is amongst those taken, George descends to the depths, and like Indiana Jones freeing the slaves in Temple of Doom, he gets into some serious fisticuffs aith the cannibalistic Morlocks.

He leads the rebellion against the Morlocks, leaving the Eloi to learn to fend for themselves…

He returns to his own time with next to nothing in terms of proof, but for an unrecognizable flower, and he realizes once again that he doesn’t belong there but goes to be with Weena, and takes three books with him… I wonder what ones they were?

The Time Machine is a lot of fun, Rod Taylor seems to be having a grand ole time as George, and there are moments, when he reminds me of Roger Moore’s James Bond.

The film is lush and lovely to look at , and with the exception of the lava flooding the streets and destroying obviously small-scale model cars, the effects are very decent. It’s a truly enjoyable film, and one that I have seen a number of times now, though sadly I’ve only read the original story twice.

I like watching the rise of Filby (Alan Young), and his son, and eventually his giant store! The 1966 vision of the future is rather cool, and one can’t help but wonder about the civilizations that rose and fell, while George and his machine were trapped under rock.

I do like a good time travel film.

Happily, knowing I’m working my way through the 101 Sci-Fi movies, I’m fairly confident there will be more temporal travels in my future… or perhaps my past… It’s all rather timey-wimey.

What’s your favorite time travel story?

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