On January 5, 1900, a disheveled looking H.G. Wells - George to his friends - arrives late to his own dinner party. He tells his guests of his travels in his time machine, the work about which his friends knew. They were also unbelieving, and skeptical of any practical use if it did indeed work. George knew that his machine was stationary in geographic position, but he did not account for changes in what happens over time to that location. He also learns that the machine is not impervious and he is not immune to those who do not understand him or the machine's purpose. George tells his friends that he did not find the Utopian society he so wished had developed. He mentions specifically a civilization several thousand years into the future which consists of the subterranean morlocks and the surface dwelling eloi, who on first glance lead a carefree life. Despite all these issues, love can still bloom over the spread of millennia. Written by
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Take your journey on your contraption. What would you become? A Greek, a Roman, one of the pharaohs?
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One of my favorite films back when I was a lad was George Pal's production of the H.G. Wells novel, The Time Machine. As I've gotten a lot older since the 13 I was when it came out, I can more appreciate the meticulous care that went into the making of this film.
Considering that we didn't have computer generated images back in the day, the special effects hold up remarkably well. The make up and costumes for the villainous Morlocks still have the power to frighten.
What I look at now though was the United Kingdom of the turn of the last century in which Wells wrote his book. As much as George Pal was able to capture the future, he did as well with the past, the recreation of the Victorian/Edwardian era from which our time traveler Rod Taylor goes to the future and back.
A lot of that has to do with the casting of the four men who are Taylor's friends and looked like they stepped from that era. Tom Helmore, Sebastian Cabot, Whit Bissell, and Alan Young all comport themselves as proper English gentlemen who are concerned and support their friend anyway in his theories and experiments.
Especially Alan Young's performance, it's my favorite in the film. Young plays a dual role as Taylor's friend and as his own son over several generations of the 20th century. He's the kind of true friend we should all in life be fortunate to have.
Also note that the mechanics of the Time Machine itself are never explained, just how the thing works and what powers it. It was probably beyond even the fertile imagination of H.G. Wells to conceive, our own best minds of science now debate whether it is even theoretically possible.
Rod Taylor after playing several good supporting roles in many films since arriving in America from his native Australia, got his first lead and real big break in The Time Machine. He's excellent as the time traveler who essentially saves the future for mankind and rescues it from the world that has developed.
The Time Machine was also ahead of it's time. no pun intended, in its depiction of the peaceful Eloi. During the sixties age of flower power, the gentle Eloi are like a bunch of hippies who seemingly have attained their version of paradise. No one is old and they live in a garden of Eden. Little do they know what the underground Morlocks are using them for.
Yvette Mimieux who as Weena of the Eloi got her break out role her. She's the quintessence of the flower power generation soon to come.
Even though new versions have been done, this version of The Time Machine still stirs the imagination and appeals to the scientifically curious in all of us.
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