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>
Aside from the great movie METROPOLIS, this is about the oldest pure sci-fi movie. While at times the film is a bit preachy and the acting can be a bit broad, it is a great film for two reasons. First, it is extremely original in both style and content. Even in the 21st century, there are no films I can think of that are anything like it. Second, for its time, the special effects were absolutely incredible--using matte paintings, models and huge casts to create amazing scenes of both a post-apocalyptic world and a vast city of tomorrow. Sure, you could sit back and knock the film because, by today's standards, the effects are only so-so. But, you must appreciate that this was state of the art when the film came out in 1936 and it must have really amazed audiences. In many ways, the sets look highly reminiscent of the "modern cities" featured at the 1939 WORLD'S FAIR.
I think the movie is also interesting because it seems torn by the question "are people really THAT stupid or are we destined for greatness?" The end result seems to be a little of both! How true!
A final note: I saw this twice on TV and just a short time ago on video. All three times the sound and print quality stank--particularly the sound. If this is available on a DVD, hopefully it is a lot cleaner and will provide optional captioning. As the sound on the video kept cutting out, I really would have appreciated this!
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