Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


THE TIME TRAVELERS (1964). Written and directed by Ib Melchior.

Scientists have built a window into the future, but it turns out that it is also a portal through which they can step through time. Stupidly they do so -- going 170 years or so into the future -- then discover that the portal has closed and they can't get back. In this post-nuclear civilization human survivors live underground while savage "mutates" roam about outside trying to get in and grab the humans' food supplies. The humans are building a spaceship to escape the dying earth. There are some interesting ideas in the movie, but Melchior's screenplay includes no three-dimensional characters or  human reactions -- none of the scientists express any sense of loss [surely they have some loved ones back in the 20th century] or regret -- giving it a below-comic book flavor. Preston Foster [Two Seconds], Phil Carey [Screaming Mimi; Wicked as They Come] and Merry Anders [The Hypnotic Eye; Michael Shayne] are the scientists while Steve Franken is Danny, a technician who first steps through the time portal like an ass. Joan Woodbury, who was Brenda Starr, Reporter in the serial, plays future woman Gadra; John Hoyt [When Worlds Collide] is Dr. Varno; and Dennis Patrick [Dear Dead Delilah] is the nasty councilman Willard. [Woodbury is more attractive in middle-age than she was in her younger days.] The movie makes some good use of interesting locations, but has its tedious stretches; Richard LaSalle's music is interesting but not always appropriate. Melchior wrote the screenplay for Reptilicus and also wrote and directed Angry Red Planet. Very similar to Journey to the Center of Time, which came out three years later. Both films were probably influenced by World Without End (1956), not to mention H. G. Wells' novel "The Time Machine." Berry Kroeger [Atlantis, the Lost Continent] is supposed to be in The Time Travelers but I didn't spot him and he's rather distinctive.

Verdict: Watch out for those mutates! **1/2.


Neil A Russell said...

I wonder how long after this movie came out that someone pitched "Time Tunnel" to Irwin Allen?

I've always called this movie the "Time Dining Room" because of the way the set looks and the similarity to the 1966 TV show.

William said...

All it needs is a big mahogany table!

This is considered a big influence on Time Tunnel, one of the few Allen series I never really got into. But who knows -- maybe I'll check it out on DVD and waste a few more hours, LOL!