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Time Flies (1944)

 -  Comedy | Sci-Fi  -  8 May 1944 (UK)
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A minor music hall star uses a professor's time machine to go back to the days of Queen Elizabeth I .


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Complete credited cast:
Tommy Handley ...
Evelyn Dall ...
Susie Barton
George Moon ...
Bill Barton
Felix Aylmer ...
The Professor
Moore Marriott ...
A Soothsayer
Graham Moffatt ...
His Nephew
John Salew ...
Leslie Bradley ...
Olga Lindo ...
Roy Emerton ...
Iris Lang ...
Stéphane Grappelli ...
A Troubadour (as Stephane Grapelly)


A minor music hall star uses a professor's time machine to go back to the days of Queen Elizabeth I .

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Sci-Fi


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Release Date:

8 May 1944 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This little-known movie seems to be the first feature film to include a time machine. It was released the same year as While Nero Fiddled (1944) - another small British comedy about time travel. See more »


When Susie and Bill stall for time by performing in front of Queen Elizabeth et al., they start off side by side. Mid-tune, the camera cuts to a different shot made out to be in real time, and Bill skips merrily from behind the time travel ball which is behind Susie. See more »


Queen Elizabeth: I have improved on thy game. The little ball lurks not under any shell. I have cast it awaaayyy.
Tommy: Well, I... it's lucky I didn't teach you strip poker.
See more »


References Gone with the Wind (1939) See more »


Congo Conga
Written by J. Fred Coots and Benny Davis
See more »

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User Reviews

TIME FLIES (Walter Forde, 1944) ***
21 April 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Director Forde was a leading figure in British film-making of the 1930s and 1940s, helming two classic and influential 'engine' thrillers i.e. THE GHOST TRAIN (1931; which is now apparently lost but which he remade 10 years later!) and ROME EXPRESS (1932), as well as star vehicles for many a comedian (such as Jack Hulbert, The Crazy Gang and Arthur Askey). This, then, is the fourth film of his I have checked out (besides owning 15{!} more that are still unwatched) and it follows in the latter vein i.e. starring now-forgotten radio comic Tommy Handley.

The film is chiefly valuable for its deft mish-mash of several genres: for instance, the titular epithet (which turns up so often and so casually in our daily conversation) is approached here on a literal plane by having our four protagonists dodging pursuit by literally taking flight in both space and time via a ball-shaped metal craft! The time machine (invented by distinguished character actor Felix Aylmer) – perhaps the very first of its kind to be seen in movies! – strands its occupants in 16th century England (despite its pedigree, the present-day scenes are supposedly set in New York!) and, as was the case with the same year's similarly-themed FIDDLERS THREE, the heroes try to use the stuff they learned from history-books to their advantage: however, the locals do not take kindly to their prophesying The Great London Fire of 1666 and, even less appreciated are their foretelling of Queen Elizabeth I's perennial spinsterhood and the fact that her family's hated relatives, the Stuarts, will thus succeed her!; incidentally, apart from her, we also get to meet Walter Raleigh (not yet knighted, he is surprised when addressed as such!), William Shakespeare (having trouble writing the love scenes in "Romeo & Juliet", the spirited heroine – who, early on, is surprisingly shown in her underwear – 'suggests' a few of the play's most-quoted lines!) and the famous duo of John Smith (played by the odd-looking Roy Emerton from the same year's Shakespearean adaptation of HENRY V!) and Pocahontas.

However, the film is obviously also a musical comedy (this being still wartime): while the former is first presented conventionally via an on-stage revue number, it is eventually incorporated into the narrative when the protagonists are about to be executed and they buy some time for themselves by bursting into an impromptu performance! As for the comedy, the nominal star is a scoundrel in the Will Hay mould (incidentally, his two frequent sparring partners Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt also turn up here!); he is best-known for IT'S THAT MAN AGAIN (1942), from the same director, and which was essentially a transcript of his popular radio show – and, even if nowhere near as endearing as Hay, he still manages a reasonable amount of funny quips and, memorably, instigates a scene in which America is claimed in the name of Britain and in the presence of the Queen three times in a row!

When finally going back to the present, the time machine misses the mark by a few hours so that the characters vanish immediately after landing since these were not supposed to be anywhere near the contraption at the appointed time! By the way, another novelty they adopt to astound the people of this by-gone era is a camera which allows their escape from jail by projecting footage of themselves on the walls, and which then has the suspicious guards befuddled by chasing what appears to be mere shadows! Incidentally, though I watched the film as part of my ongoing Easter epic marathon, this aspect comes through mainly in the period evocation rather than with any overt spectacle (even if the whole concept is decidedly elaborate at that)...

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