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

Thursday, May 13, 2021

THE TIME MACHINE

The Time Traveler in his machine
THE TIME MACHINE (1960). Director: George Pal. 

A Victorian-era scientist in England (Rod Taylor) insists to a gathering of his friends, that he has invented a machine that can break through the fourth dimension -- time. Using his machine to go into the future, he witnesses more than one war and man's destruction of man. Trapped inside rock by a lava flow, he pushes way ahead to the far-flung future and winds up in 802,701 A.D. There he discovers that the human race has divided into two segments: the mindless, bovine Eloi and the meat-eating Morlocks, who live underground, care for the Elois' needs, and use them for their food supply. Weena (Yvette Mimieux), a pretty Eloi, is saved from drowning by the scientist, and shows signs of the humanity that seems to have been bred out of people in this era. 

Morlocks!
The Time Machine
 is a colorful and entertaining picture, although it is essentially a kiddie version of H. G. Wells' novel, which was a masterpiece of both horror as well as of science fiction. The best sequences in the film, which still hold up today, are the depictions of time travel done with time-lapse photography and the like. The Morlocks, alas, look more like the boogie men of Laurel and Hardy's March of the Wooden Soldiers than they do the dark and sinister creatures of Wells' brilliant book. Rod Taylor plays an undeveloped part as well as possible; Mimieux is effective in the nearly mute role of Weena. The film is well photographed by Paul Vogel, and boasts an eerie and attractive score by Russell Garcia. Four years earlier Taylor appeared in another time travel movie, a rip off of Time Machine, entitled World Without End

Verdict: Fun, but hopefully not the last film version of Wells' great novel. ***. 

2 comments:

angelman66 said...

Another childhood favorite…loved Rod Taylor in this and in The Birds, a movie that still scares me! As I get older, I realise Mr. Taylor was quite a hunk of man. Back when I first saw these, he seemed like a father figure.
-C

William said...

I agree! Yeah, he was a handsome dude and a good actor. He later wound up on "Falcon Crest" (with Jane Wyman) as night-time soaps became the go-to place for fading movie stars. If I recall correctly, he was superb on a classic episode of "Twilight Zone" before he was famous.