From the book by H.G. Wells, a scientist and tinkerer builds a time machine and uses it to explore the distant future where there are two races, a mild gentle race, and a cannibalistic one living underground. His machine is stolen by the underground race and he must risk being captured (and eaten) to return to his own time.
Rod Taylor ... George (H. G. Wells)
Alan Young ... David Filby / James Filby
Yvette Mimieux ... Weena
Sebastian Cabot ... Dr. Philip Hillyer
Tom Helmore ... Anthony Bridewell
Whit Bissell ... Walter Kemp
Doris Lloyd ... Mrs. Watchett
Director: George Pal
Codecs: DivX 3 / MP3
In 1960, filmmaker George Pal brought to fruition a visionary concept for a film based on a novel by H.G. Wells, about an inventor who builds a machine that enables him to travel through time, specifically into the future, where he learns a timeless, universal truth about the machinations of society and some of the basic tenets of human nature. `The Time Machine,' which Pal produced and directed, stars Rod Taylor as George, the inventor/time traveler/hero, who, born into a time and world that doesn't suit him, decides to do something about it.
A week into the 20th Century, four of George's closest friends, Dr. Philip Hillyer (Sebastian Cabot), Anthony Bridewell (Tom Helmore), Walter Kemp (Whit Bissell) and his best friend, David Filby (Alan Young), are gathered at his house for dinner, but George is late; when he finally shows up, he is disheveled, disoriented and hungry-- and has a story that is beyond belief. It's a tale that actually began one week earlier, on New Year's Eve, 1899, when the five had last been together. On that evening, George, after a discussion of the reality of a `Fourth Dimension,' had given them a demonstration of a model of a `Time Machine,' he had built, a miniature prototype of the machine he hoped would take him some day into the future.
His demonstration is met with interest, but skepticism; only Filby, it seems, is able to keep an open mind, but even he encourages George to accept the constraints of Time, which to the rational mind are absolute and immutable. George, however, views Time as a parameter; a variable whose value is subject to change. And on that last night of the 19th Century, after his friends leave-- gone off to celebrate the arrival of the new century-- George acts on his theory by stepping into his machine and beginning a journey that will prove to be the adventure of a lifetime. A journey during which he sees a number of wars and changes in the world around him, and which ultimately transports him some 800,000 years into the future, where he finds a world ravaged by fate, where humankind has been divided into two sects: The gentle Eloi, living on the surface of the earth, and the Morlocks-- mutants who dwell beneath as the Master Race, and who prey upon the weak and simple Eloi.
He also discovers the dark secret of the Eloi and the Morlocks, and determines to address the situation. But first he returns to his own time, to tell his friends the story, and to retrieve something he needs. When his guests leave, Filby remains behind with words of caution for George; but as soon as he leaves, George is off to fulfill his destiny, and he has all the time in the world to do it.
Going into this project, George Pal had a definite vision of what he wanted to accomplish with this film, from the way the time machine itself looked, to the way he wanted to present the future of mankind and the world. And working from the intelligent, imaginative screenplay by David Duncan, he succeeded by delivering a film that has since become a classic of the Science Fiction genre. The nature of the story demands that the viewer suspend disbelief, of course, but Pal develops his story in such a plausible, straightforward manner that it is easy to do just that. He puts George on the journey of a lifetime, and he takes his audience along for the ride. He does an exquisite job of establishing the Victorian era in which the story begins, as well as the world of the Eloi and the Morlocks. The F/X he employs to convey the sense of George's movement through time-- like the swift arcing of the Sun and Moon, and the quick, subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) changes George observes-- are entirely effective. Pal obviously had a devotion to detail that pays off handsomely here. A dedicated filmmaker, he refused to settle for less than what he knew was right for his picture, and it shows. The result is a film that is entertaining, timeless and memorable.
As George, Rod Taylor is perfectly cast and gives a solid performance in which he embodies the boldness, the imagination and tenacity of his character. Most importantly, he makes George believable and his motivations credible, which enables the viewer to be swept along with the story. Taylor has a commanding presence that serves his character well, and he is, in fact, the veritable personification of the explorer/adventurer, a man willing to take a chance or face unbelievable odds to accomplish his goal. Taylor is a fine actor who has made a number of movies, but of them all, this is the role for which he will probably be best remembered.
Also perfect in her role is Yvette Mimieux, as one of the Eloi, Weena. A talented actress-- now something of a ‘60s icon, in fact-- her fair beauty, along with the innocent demeanor and vulnerability she manages to convey, makes her character entirely convincing. And the way she plays it makes George's actions more likely, as well. Granted, her character is well written to begin with, but Mimieux's the one who sells it in the translation from page to screen.
The supporting cast includes Doris Lloyd (Mrs. Watchett), Bob Barran (Eloi Man), James Skelly (Second Eloi Man) and Paul Frees (Voice of the Talking Rings). A transporting flight of fantasy, expertly crafted and imaginatively presented, `The Time Machine' is captivating entertainment that will make you believe that time travel is possible. it paints a bleak picture of the future, to be sure, but it gives you and leaves you with that which has kept Man putting one foot in front of the other since Time began: Hope. That's the legacy of H.G. Wells and the promise of George Pal. And it's the magic of the movies.
Boy, did a nice DVD transfer of this not only mak me appreciate the visuals in here more but made the story seem better, too, for some reason. I only acquired the DVD as a memento, so to speak. I had to have at least one movie which had the woman I had a crush on back in the early '60s: Yvettte Mimieux. She still looks great, too. The main thing, however, is how I now viewed this story and how much more I wound up liking it than in the past. This was my fourth look at this movie over a 45-year span and I enjoyed it the most this last time.
Since time travel stories always fascinate me, my favorite part of the film is when "George" (Rod Taylor) is actually in his time machine and experiments with it, slowing it down here and then and then stopping it a couple of times to observe World War I and then WWII. Then, he stops in 1966 when supposedly there was a nuclear attack. (Apparently, scare-mongers back in '60 thought that was a short-term likelihood.)
Anyway, when "George" (H.G. Wells, the author of this story) finally stops, in the year 200,000-something, the story loses some of its momentum. However, it's a fairly interesting study of a group of ultra-passive people being dominated by others who live underground and then literally eat the good people. Taylor is astounded that mankind has not progressed as he had figured but seemed to have regressed.
The message I got on this last look is that man is still man, meaning sinful and capable of anything bad as well as good, and to put one's faith totally in man is a mistake. It's only going to lead to disappointments as "George" found out on each of his stops. (Notice he never stopped during a peaceful, progressive period.) Yet, "George" is still an optimist and wants to be one to help initiate change for the better. There's always hope for a better world and people like George, with his idealism put to action, can make a difference.
Overall, an entertaining and thought-provoking film.
I recently saw the 2002 film "The Time Machine" and liked it a great deal, so I thought that it was probably in my best interest to see the 1960 version of "The Time Machine". So, I went ahead and rented it and watched it. I knew that this film was made in 1960, so I wasn't expecting anything spectacular, but I still hoped that it would be good. I must say that I was REALLY impressed with the film! I thought it was great!
The story is brilliantly told, smartly done, and quite interesting. I noticed a great deal of similarities (and differences) between this film and the 2002 version. There was virtually nothing I didn't like about the film, as far as story goes. I'm really interested in reading the H.G. Wells story now, so hopefully in the near future I'll bust out my copy and read it.
I thought the actors in the film did a fantastic job as well! Sadly, I'd never even heard of any of the actors in the film. I thought Rod Taylor, Alan Young and Yvette Mimieux all did a great job. The rest of the cast was good, but these three really struck me as great. Also, I have to say that Yvette is one beautiful woman!
The special effects in this film were surprisingly good, especially for a movie made in 1960! I must admit that I was really impressed with the sets and the special effects in the film.
The only thing that I would complain about, if I had to, is some little things. For instance, the classic "monster about to grab the guy, but then doesn't" sort of thing. Little things like that kind of bothered me, but I realize that it was just the style back then, so I can't really complain about it. Also, I wasn't too terribly impressed with the mouth and face of the Morlocks, but again, given that it was made back in 1960, I can let it slide.
Overall, I really enjoyed the film, and would definitely recommend it to anyone that liked the 2002 version of the film or just enjoys films about time-travel or science fiction. I truly hope that you enjoy the film as much as I do.
* Director George Pal was a close friend of fellow animator Walter Lantz, ever since Lantz did some cut-rate Woody Woodpecker work for Pal's Destination Moon (1950). As tribute, Pal tried to include Woody Woodpecker references in all his subsequent films. In the scenes where the Eloi are having a good time, every so often you can distinctly hear the "Woody Woodpecker" laugh.
* Also, during the air raid scene, as all the people rush into the shelter a little girl crossing the street stops to pick something up that she dropped. When she does, you can quickly see she picks up a small Woody Woodpecker figure
* The plaque on the control panel of time machine reads "Manufactured by H George Wells."
* The "lava" in the volcano scene in downtown was actually oatmeal with orange and red food coloring spilled onto a platform and slowly moved down the miniature set.
* The costumes that the air raid wardens wear just before the nuclear attack are the same ones worn by the crew in Forbidden Planet (1956).
* When George arrives in the year 802701 his time machine reads the date of October 12th. So George arrives into a "New World" on the anniversary of Columbus' first reaching the "New World" of the Americas.
* Paul Scofield was George Pal's first choice to play the time traveler.
* "Eloi" means "My God" in Aramaic.
* Alan Young (David Filby/James Filby) is the only actor to appear in both this film and the remake, The Time Machine (2002).
* George Pal had long planned to do a sequel to this film. Several submitted scripts were reportedly rejected by MGM.
* When George and Weena enter the ancient museum where the talking rings are kept, toward the right is the clear steering globe that was at the center of the spaceship in Forbidden Planet (1956).
* Singer and lyricist Peggy Lee wrote a song for the film called "The Land Of The Leal" which was not used.
* Yvette Mimieux was actually underage when shooting began (she turned 18 during the shoot) and was not legally supposed to work a full shooting schedule, but did. She was inexperienced - as she worked on this film she kept getting better and better so that by the end of the shoot they wound up going back and re-shooting some of her earliest scenes.