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Things to Come (1936)

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.

Writers:

H.G. Wells (novel), H.G. Wells (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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 Maurice Braddell ... Dr. Harding
Sophie Stewart Sophie Stewart ... Mrs. Cabal
Derrick De Marney ... Richard Gordon (as Derrick de Marney)
Ann Todd ... Mary Gordon
Pearl Argyle ... Catherine Cabal
Kenneth Villiers Kenneth Villiers ... Maurice Passworthy
Ivan Brandt Ivan Brandt ... Morden Mitani
Anne McLaren Anne McLaren ... The Child
Patricia Hilliard Patricia Hilliard ... Janet Gordon
Charles Carson ... Great Grandfather
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Storyline

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

H.G.Wells' "Things To Come" will astound the entire world! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 September 1936 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Vida Futura See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

London Film Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video) | (premiere cut) | (original) | (cut) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite H.G. Wells' dislike of Fritz Lang and his landmark movie, Metropolis (1927), and Wells' request that William Cameron Menzies avoid patterning his movie after Metropolis (1927), Menzies nonetheless drew a great deal of inspiration from the movie. Menzies admitted that the lengthy montage depicting the transition of the war-torn nineteenth century Everytown to the progressive and rational futuristic city, in particular, owed a huge debt to Metropolis (1927). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Oswald Cabal: There! There they go. That faint beam of light.
Raymond Passworthy: I feel that what we've done is monstrous.
Oswald Cabal: What they've done is magnificent.
Raymond Passworthy: Will they come back?
Oswald Cabal: Yes, and go again and again, until a landing is made and the moon is conquered. This is only a beginning.
Raymond Passworthy: And if they don't come back? My son and your daughter. What of that, Cabal?
Oswald Cabal: Then presently, others will go.
Raymond Passworthy: Oh, God, is there never to be any age of happiness? Is there never to be any rest?
Oswald Cabal: Rest enough for the individual man. Too much and too soon...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, as the title is revealed, the shadow over the letters is removed as if the clouds in the background are blowing past it. See more »

Alternate Versions

Available in a colorized version on DVD and Blu-ray. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Smiley Face (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

The First Noel
(uncredited)
Traditional 18th Century Cornish Christmas Carol
Arranged by Arthur Bliss
Heard during opening montage.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
How H.G. Wells Conceived The Future
27 February 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

If scientists behaved in a way that H.G. Wells was confident they would in the future, history wouldn't quite have turned out the way it did in Things To Come. Were almost 80 years past the point that Wells wrote The Shape Of Things To Come on which this film is based and no closer to the world he describes than before, in some ways farther away.

Though such well known players as Raymond Massey, Ralph Richardson, and Cedric Hardwicke are in the cast, they're more caricatures than real characters. It's the main weakness with the film, it's devoted to Wells's philosophy of science will solve all problems and the rest of us are backward fools.

Massey's characters, two generations of the same family holds that supremely optimistic view. Cedric Hardwicke is a skeptic who feels man is rushing too far forward. And Ralph Richardson is a warlord arisen from the destruction of another Thirty Years War fought with modern weapons. By the way as the atomic bomb had not been invented, poison gas was deemed to be weapon that almost destroys mankind.

According to Wells, science and conquest can never mix. Scientists as a group are far too above the world of politics to engage in such things. In Wells's lifetime scientists certainly fled the rightwing fascistic governments of Hitler and Mussolini. Those same folks however in order to defeat them, subordinated themselves to the Allies and fashioned the atomic weapons that ushered in the modern age. If they behaved as Wells would have liked them to, someone like Albert Einstein would have headed a junta of scientists who would have established a new order after World War II.

Wells got it wrong both in time and in development. He apparently never envisioned the computer as well as atomic power. Computer programmers are far more likely to be our rulers in a brave new world than scientists at the moment. Still Things To Come, aided by the direction of William Cameron Menzies and the sets created offer an interesting glimpse into the mind of H.G. Wells, certainly a respected thinker of his time though he didn't quite get right the shape of Things To Come.


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