A global war begins in 1940. This war drags out over many decades until most of the people still alive (mostly those born after the war started) do not even know who started it or why. Nothing is being manufactured at all any more and society has broken down into primitive localized communities. In 1966 a great plague wipes out most of what people are left but small numbers still survive. One day a strange aircraft lands at one of these communities and its pilot tells of an organization which is rebuilding civilization and slowly moving across the world re-civilizing these groups of survivors. Great reconstruction takes place over the next few decades and society is once again great and strong. The world's population is now living in underground cities. In the year 2035, on the eve of man's first flight to the moon, a popular uprising against progress (which some people claim has caused the wars of the past) gains support and becomes violent. Written by
Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>
The film drew huge audiences upon its opening in New York City. Advertisements for the film mentioned that large crowds continually flocked to New York's Rivoli Theatre from 9:30am on opening day until the ad went to press four days later. The initial interest in the film apparently wore off, as the film earned significantly less at the box office than the studio had expected. See more »
In Everytown in 1970 industrial production has ceased, but the Boss's men are still able to go into battle against the Hill People with firearms, including machine guns, which couldn't be used without an industrial infrastructure to produce ammunition for them. See more »
While this film stands the test of time as a science fiction classic, its importance may not lie in its depiction of future wars, pestilence, and rebuilding. The most telling prediction comes in the latter part of the film -- the worker revolt. I disagree with the premise that workers would revolt out of fear of space travel. But, the idea of revolt out of fear of what technology is (and will) do to their lives is a real fear. Even today.
Sociologists who've read the Unibomber's manifesto have said that, while his methods and mentality were unsound, some of his suppositions on the effects of automation on humanity were plausible. We've evolved from a craft culture (human) to a mechanized culture (where humans used machines to meet the needs of humans) to an automated culture (where humans are expected to adapt themselves to the needs of their machines). Don't believe it? Pull a check out of your checkbook and look on the back. You'll find the words "Do not write below this line." This is NOT a request or suggestion, it's an ORDER to conform to the needs of machines that read checks.
Still, the film clearly illustrates a future that will eventually occur -- one where some people put all their trust and faith in our modern marvels -- while others left powerless and impotent by these modern marvels ask whether this progress was worth the price.
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