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Things to Come
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Things to Come (1936) More at IMDbPro »

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Things to Come -- A story of 100 years: a decades-long second world war leaves plague and anarchy, then a rational state rebuilds civilization and tries space travel.
Things to Come -- A story of 100 years: a decades-long second world war leaves plague and anarchy, then a rational state rebuilds civilization and tries space travel.

Overview

User Rating:
6.8/10   4,213 votes »
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Up 163% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
H.G. Wells (novel)
H.G. Wells (screenplay)
Contact:
View company contact information for Things to Come on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1936 (Austria) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
What will the next hundred years bring to mankind? See more »
Plot:
The story of a century: a decades-long second World War leaves plague and anarchy, then a rational state rebuilds civilization and attempts space travel. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
"Wings over the World!" See more (95 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Raymond Massey ... John Cabal / Oswald Cabal
Edward Chapman ... Pippa Passworthy / Raymond Passworthy

Ralph Richardson ... The Boss
Margaretta Scott ... Roxana / Rowena (as Margueretta Scott)

Cedric Hardwicke ... Theotocopulos
Maurice Braddell ... Dr. Harding
Sophie Stewart ... Mrs. Cabal
Derrick De Marney ... Richard Gordon (as Derrick de Marney)
Ann Todd ... Mary Gordon
Pearl Argyle ... Catherine Cabal
Kenneth Villiers ... Maurice Passworthy
Ivan Brandt ... Morden Mitani
Anne McLaren ... The Child
Patricia Hilliard ... Janet Gordon
Charles Carson ... Great Grandfather
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gordon Bailey ... Undetermined role (uncredited)
Patrick Barr ... World Transport Official (uncredited)
Noel Brophy ... Irishman (uncredited)
Tony Bruce ... Undetermined role (uncredited)
John Clements ... The Airman (uncredited)
Hilda Davies ... Undetermined role (uncredited)
Aubrey Dexter ... (uncredited)
Don Gemmell ... Undetermined role (uncredited)
Florence Harwood ... Undetermined role (uncredited)
Anthony Holles ... Simon Burton (uncredited)
Allan Jeayes ... Mr. Cabal (uncredited)
Eugene Leahy ... Undetermined role (uncredited)
Pickles Livingston ... Horrie Passworthy (uncredited)
Kim Peacock ... Undetermined role (uncredited)
Clarence Rigge ... (uncredited)

George Sanders ... Pilot (uncredited)

Abraham Sofaer ... The Jew (uncredited)

Terry-Thomas ... Man of the Future (uncredited)

Directed by
William Cameron Menzies 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
H.G. Wells  novel "The Shape of Things to Come"
H.G. Wells  screenplay

Produced by
Alexander Korda .... producer
 
Original Music by
Arthur Bliss (music specially composed by)
 
Cinematography by
Georges Périnal  (as Georges Perinal)
 
Film Editing by
Charles Crichton 
Francis D. Lyon  (as Francis Lyon)
 
Costume Design by
John Armstrong 
René Hubert  (as Rene Hubert)
Cathleen Mann  (as The Marchioness of Queensberry)
Sam Williams (uncredited)
 
Production Management
David B. Cunynghame .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Geoffrey Boothby .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Vincent Korda .... settings designer
Frank Wells .... assistant art director
John Bryan .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Frederick Pusey .... assistant art director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
A.W. Watkins .... recording director
Desmond Dew .... sound recordist (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Lawrence W. Butler .... assistant special effects (as Lawrence Butler)
Edward Cohen .... special effects photographer
Ned Mann .... special effects director
Ross Jacklin .... special effects (uncredited)
George J. Teague .... special photographic effects (uncredited)
Wally Veevers .... assistant special effects (uncredited)
Harry Zech .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Jack Cardiff .... special effects camera operator (uncredited)
W. Percy Day .... matte painter (uncredited)
Peter Ellenshaw .... assistant matte artist (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Robert Krasker .... camera operator
Bernard Browne .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Jack Cardiff .... camera operator (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
William Hornbeck .... supervising editor
 
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... musical director
Gordon Jacob .... additional orchestrator (uncredited)
Lionel Salter .... assistant musical director (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Nigel Tangye .... aeronautical advisor
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
100 min | UK:117 min | Canada:91 min (VHS version) | UK:108 min (premiere cut) | UK:113 min (original version) | USA:92 min (cut version) | Spain:89 min (DVD)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The date on the newspaper in the scene in 1966 when the war ends is 21st September 1966 - which would have been the 100th birthday of H.G. Wells.See more »
Goofs:
Audio/visual unsynchronized: Near the end of the film, we hear the helicopter's rotor slowing almost to a stop while it's still descending at constant speed.See more »
Quotes:
Roxana:I don't suppose any man has ever understood any woman since the beginning of things. You don't understand our imaginations.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in War Stories (2006) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
EpilogueSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
32 out of 44 people found the following review useful.
"Wings over the World!", 30 January 2003
Author: Tom May (joycean_chap@hotmail.com) from United Kingdom

I must admit a slight disappointment with this film; I had read a lot about how spectacular it was, yet the actual futuristic sequences, the Age of Science, take up a very small amount of the film. The sets and are excellent when we get to them, and there are some startling images, but this final sequence is lacking in too many other regards...

Much the best drama of the piece is in the mid-section, and then it plays as melodrama, arising from the 'high concept' science-fiction nature of it all, and insufficiently robust dialogue. There is far more human life in this part though, with the great Ralph Richardson sailing gloriously over-the-top as the small dictator, the "Boss" of the Everytown. I loved Richardson's mannerisms and curt delivery of lines, dismissing the presence and ideas of Raymond Massey's aloof, confident visitor. This Boss is a posturing, convincingly deluded figure, unable to realise the small-fry nature of his kingdom... It's not a great role, yet Richardson makes a lot of it.

Everytown itself is presumably meant to be England, or at least an English town fairly representative of England. Interesting was the complete avoidance of any religious side to things; the 'things to come' seem to revolve around a conflict between warlike barbarism and a a faith in science that seems to have little ultimate goal, but to just go on and on. There is a belated attempt to raise some arguments and tensions in the last section, concerning more personal 'life', yet one is left quite unsatisfied. The film hasn't got much interest in subtle complexities; it goes for barnstorming spectacle and unsubtle, blunt moralism, every time. And, of course, recall the hedged-bet finale: Raymond Massey waxing lyrical about how uncertain things are!

Concerning the question of the film being a prediction: I must say it's not at all bad as such, considering that one obviously allows that it is impossible to gets the details of life anything like right. The grander conceptions have something to them; a war in 1940, well that was perhaps predictable... Lasting nearly 30 years, mind!? A nuclear bomb - the "super gun" or some such contraption - in 2036... A technocratic socialist "we don't believe in independent nation states"-type government, in Britain, after 1970... Hmmm, sadly nowhere near on that one, chaps! ;-) No real politics are gone into here which is a shame; all that surfaces is a very laudable anti-war sentiment. Generally, it is assumed that dictatorship - whether boneheaded-luddite-fascist, as under the Boss, or all-hands-to-the-pump scientific socialism - will *be the deal*, and these implications are not broached... While we must remember that in 1936, there was no knowledge at all of how Nazism and Communism would turn out - or even how they were turning out - the lack of consideration of this seems meek beside the scope of the filmmakers' vision on other matters.

Much of the earlier stuff should - and could - have been cut in my opinion; only the briefest stuff from '1940' would have been necessary, yet this segment tends to get rather ponderous, and it is ages before we get to the Richardson-Massey parts. I would have liked to have seen more done with Margareta Scott; who is just a trifle sceptical, cutting a flashing-eyed Mediterranean figure to negligible purpose. The character is not explored, or frankly explained or exploited, except for one scene which I shall not spoil, and her relationship with the Boss isn't explored; but then this was the 1930s, and there was such a thing as widespread institutional censorship back then. Edward Chapman is mildly amusing in his two roles; more so in the first as a hapless chap, praying for war, only to be bluntly put down by another Massey character. Massey himself helps things a lot, playing his parts with a mixture of restraint and sombre gusto, contrasting well with a largely diffident cast, save for Richardson, and Scott and Chapman, slightly.

I would say that "Things to Come" is undoubtedly a very extraordinary film to have been made in Britain in 1936; one of the few serious British science fiction films to date, indeed! Its set (piece) design and harnessing of resources are ravenous, marvellous.

Yet, the script is ultimately over-earnest and, at times, all over the place. The direction is prone to a flatness, though it does step up a scenic gear or two upon occasion. The cinematographer and Mr Richardson really do salvage things however; respectively creating an awed sense of wonder at technology, and an engaging, jerky performance that consistently beguiles. Such a shame there is so little substance or real filmic conception to the whole thing; Powell and Pressburger would have been the perfect directors to take on such a task as this - they are without peer among British directors as daring visual storytellers, great helmsmen of characters and dealers in dialogue of the first rate.

"Things to Come", as it stands, is an intriguing oddity, well worth perusing, yet far short of a "Metropolis"... 'Tis much as "silly", in Wells' words, as that Lang film, yet with nothing like the astonishing force of it.

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