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The 20th Century: Yesterday's Tomorrows (1999)

| Documentary | TV Movie
This documentary by Barry Levinson and producers Berge and Rabin takes a look at what we, as Americans, thought the future would be, as we traveled through the 20th century. Houses and cars... See full summary »

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This documentary by Barry Levinson and producers Berge and Rabin takes a look at what we, as Americans, thought the future would be, as we traveled through the 20th century. Houses and cars of the future, the promise of technology, and the other hopes and dreams of the early part of the century gave way to the fears and anxieties brought about by the atomic age and the Hollywood disaster films that followed. Soon we wondered if we could control technology, or if it would control us. This film is by turns light-hearted and thoughtful, and rare historical and archival film, produced by government and industry, alternates with on-screen interviews with people as diverse as consumer advocate Ralph Nader, cartoonist Matt Groening, futurist Alvin Toffler, comedienne Phyllis Diller, and actor Martin Mull. Written by Anonymous

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Intriguing and overlooked
13 October 2008 | by See all my reviews

I believe this film was a companion to a Smithsonian exhibit/road show, and based upon the exhibit book by the same name. It has some great footage from 20th century sci-fi films, and magazines. The theme follows how the concept of "the world of tomorrow" changed through the events of the century: World War, Depression, World War, post-war industrial boom, tumultuous Sixties, etc. The visions of the future by artists, industrial designers, inventors, and consumer product mavens tells more than you'd think about the society at the moment.

Wish I could find this on DVD -- and get the book --as they are quite memorable, and rather unique.


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