The Time Machine

Year Of Release: 1960
Running Time: 103 Minutes
DVD Released By: Warner Brothers
Directed By: George Pal
Writing Credits: H.G. Wells (novel), David Duncan
Filming Location: Unknown

Starring: Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux, Sebastion Cabot, Tom Helmore, Whit Bissell, Doris Lloyd

Tagline: The Time Machine whirls you to a world of amazing adventure in the year 800,000!

Alternate Titles:
I was unable to find any reference to alternate titles for this film.

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
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.




Cast Of Characters
George: Time traveler extraordinaire, he wanders through time effortlessly in his wondrous time machine. Unfortunately, he doesn't drive the thing any better than a woman drives a mini van. and he ends up getting lost in the space time continuum thingy. Pretty slick huh? Anyway he ends up in the year 800,000, and that's when the fun really begins.

David and James Filby: The only real friend George has out of his four dinner guests, he's a likeable fellow with a good heart. I guess he's been taking vocal lessons from Mr. Ed because he's doin' a kickin' job of talking with a Scottish accent. And they didn't even have to put peanut butter on his gums to get him to do it.

Dr. Philip Hillyer: Uncle Bill! Uncle Bill! Mr. French left to go make a movie. Please Uncle Bill, make Mr. French come back home! Now now kids, you don't want that pissy old bastard back do you? But Uncle Bill, Mr. French feeds us cookies and milk! Please make him come back Uncle Bill! *cry* *cry* *cry*

Anthony Bridewell: Also known as unnecessary character #1. He drinks a lot and doesn't say much.

Walter Kemp: Also known as unnecessary character #2. He drinks a little and doesn't say much. Unfortunately, when he does speak, it's only to be a pain in the butt.

Mrs. Watchett: She takes care of George and the house and feeds all his rotten friends when he invites them over. She's an all around good ol' gal. I personally think the movie would have done better box office if he had a hot looking young maid in a skimpy outfit...but then again, maybe this ol' gal would look good in a skimpy outfit. Mmmmmmmm, stretch marks.

Weena: Now I gotta believe that when H.G. Wells was writing this story, he had a little kid nearby when he got to the point where he was trying to come up with a name for this character. He asked the kid what he/she thought a good name for this character would be and the kid said Weena. Unfortunately, it was all just a misunderstanding. What the kid actually said was "wee now" because he/she had to go to the bathroom, and just as unfortunately for George, this gal is about as smart as that little kid.




The Plot

A scientist and inventor, who is dissatisfied with the time that he's been born into, invents himself a time machine with the intention of traveling into the future. After a few stops along the way, an accident causes him to be trapped inside solid rock and he must continue forward into the future until the natural forces of the Earth erode the rock away enough for him to escape from his accidental tomb. He soon finds himself in the year 800,000, and the Earth is all green and wonderful like a paradise. Unfortunately, as with all idyllic places, there has to be a spoiler. In this case, the spoilers of paradise are the Morlocks. Centuries ago, the remaining humans on the Earth split apart. Some went underground to survive while others stayed on the surface. Those that went underground became hideous cannibalistic creatures known as the Morlocks while those above ground called themselves the Eloi. The Morlocks fed and clothed the simple-minded Eloi and raised them like cattle to be eventually taken below ground and used for food. George, upon finding himself in this wonderful new time, begins to explore the surrounding area. While he's away, the Morlocks steal his time machine and drag it into their temple, sealing the temple doors behind them. George now finds himself trapped in this strange new world of the future.




What The Hell???
1. The movie begins with four gentlemen waiting at George's house for dinner. Three of them are impatient because George isn't around and they feel like he's holding them up, but at least Filby is nice about it. Now I don't know about these guys, but when I get invited to a friend's house for a free dinner...I don't bitch.
2. George's whole house is full of clocks and they all go off at exactly the same time on each hour. So one of our gentlemen guests asks the other what time it is. That's duh #1. Duh# 2 is when the dork he asks goes reaching for his pocket watch. This guy must brain fart for a living.
3. So they all sit down to dinner and George comes busting through the door looking like he just got blown out of the Backdraft set. He looks exhausted and says that he needs some food and a drink. He looks more like he needs a fire extinguisher and a visit from Fire Marshal Bill.
4. Now a flashback before George went back in time. He was having a sit down with all four of his friends trying to explain the fourth dimension to them and to show him his new invention - the time machine. He's got a scale model of it in a box on the table and as he shows it to them, they look upon it with wonder. So they turn it on and things start shaking and the machine starts spinning up and suddenly it blurs and disappears forever. And what does good ol' Phil have to say? "Well I'll be damned..." What an intellect huh?
5. Three of the four gentlemen start going all commercial on him wanting him to sell it to the military and make profits from it. He just shows them the invention of a lifetime and that's all they can think about. Now I personally would rather use it to score with chicks. See, you hit on a chick, and if she slaps you, you go back in time and tell yourself what didn't work and try it again. Keep doing that until you don't get slapped. Sort of a Groundhog Day / Back To The Future kinda thing.
6. In case you haven't guessed already, I'm having a hard time coming up with what the hell's so far. It's a fairly boring movie at this point, so there's not a lot to rip on yet. There should be a lot more later as he goes forward in time. At least I hope there is, or this section is gonna be pretty short.
7. Ok, so let's say for the sake of argument that he could travel through time. He's got a gauge in the machine that tells him what time he's in and shows the progress of his travel. Now how the hell could he possibly create a gauge that would measure the time he traveled without ever having even done it before. He had no point of reference to measure the passage of time by.
8. Hey cool! The time machine has a plushy red seat!
9. After a few stops at various points in the future, he stops at 1966 just as an atomic satellite nukes London and destroys lots of model buildings and plastic cars. Then some goopy looking fake lava bubbled up out of the earth and covered everything, including him. Fortunately, he managed to start up the machine just as that happened. Unfortunately however, he became encased in rock and had to go thousands of years into the future until he reached a point where the rock had eroded away enough for him to escape. I had to ask my wife at this point... Why didn't he just go back in time to where he started? He could have been home having a hot totty with Mrs. Watchett. Hell, three or four of those and the old gal would start lookin' pretty good!
10. Now after thousands of centuries had passed, he was finally free of the rock. He stopped the machine but he stopped it too fast. He started spinning around in circles and then the machine dumped over on its site and he got rolled out on his head. After he gets up he starts wandering around. I'm thinking now, if it was me and I was gonna take a trip into the future into god knows what, I'd have probably taken a gun and some other supplies like food or extra clothes with me.
11. He finds this big meeting hall but doesn't find anyone there, so he goes out running through the woods while really dramatic music plays. Finally he stops and the music stops, but nothing happened to him. All that dramatic buildup and all we get is a shot of him leaning on a tree. What a bummer.
12. He does however find people finally. They're all sitting by the river watching a girl drown in the river and they aren't even trying to help her. George goes diving in after her with dramatic music blaring in the background. He rescues her by the way. Give ya three guesses who it is too. That's right boys and girls...it's Weena!
13. George and Weena end up back at the feasting hall with all the others. George tries to get some info out of a few of the guys but he gets nowhere. Finally he gets them to show him their books. The books are untold centuries old and crumble to dust in his hands. It is then that he realizes what a worthless, meaningless future mankind really has. It's at this point that he tells them all off for throwing away all of man's accomplishments just so they can play and eat and not have a care in the world. He then goes stomping out of the feasting hall and heads back for his time machine. Frankly, I would have hung around. With people this dumb, you know the chicks would totally have to be an easy score. Especially Weena, which is cool because she's really cute!
14. He gets back to where the time machine was sitting and finds that it has been dragged into the temple that he ended up next to when he popped into this time. The doors are big and made of iron. So what does our big brave hero do? He picks up a rock and beats on the doors with it. Yeah, that'll get 'em open. Good thinkin' there sport.
15. He sees something in the woods nearby and finds out that Weena's been stalking him. She tells them that the Morlocks live in the temple and that they're the ones who supply the people of this time with their food and clothes and such. Then he starts telling her about his time machine and all the hopes and dreams he brought with him from the past. While he's doin' his Mac Daddy routine on her, a Morlock pops out of the bushes and grabs Weena. He chases it off and then starts getting all intellectual with Weena. She doesn't understand what the hell he's talking about, but he keeps on talking nonetheless. Why do intellectual types only feel validated if they got their lips flappin'?
16. Weena takes him to a room full of technological items. She shows him the talking rings that tell of the history of man and what happened to humanity. He listens to the talking rings and then leaves. I personally would have checked out all the other techie stuff in that room to see what everything did and to see if there was anything useful.
17. Giant air raid siren blowing spikes pop up out of the temple an start making all kinds of racket. All the young people including Weena fall into a hypnotic trance and wander over to the temple in a mass group. There's a group who wander into the temple doors and then as the air raid sirens die out and pull back down into the temple, the doors close. George watched helplessly as Weena walked into the temple and he couldn't get there in time to help her. So what does our hero do now? He throws a hissy fit at all the young people because they don't even realize anything is wrong and won't lift a finger to help those who went into the temple.
18. Down under the ground, he finds Weena and the others being driven along by the Morlocks who are using whips as a means of intimidation. He tries to rescue the Eloi, but he quickly finds himself overpowered by the Morlocks. George and the other young people are backed into a small section of cave and as the Morlocks surround them, George whips out a match and blinds them with the light. See, they're underground dwellers, so they can't stand hardly any form of light at all. Too bad he didn't have some five hundred pound hot dog and chili eatin' freak down there with him. He could have bent the guy over, lit up his farts and then used him as a flame thrower. That would have scared off them hairy, glowin' eyeball, snaggle toothed freaks!
19. Hey cool! After Morlocks burn for a while, they explode! They also look like a marshmallow that some kid lit on fire at the end of a stick...but I digress.
20. Finally, as George is fighting with the Morlocks, the young people wake up and realize they could be doin' something too, so one of the boys finally balls up his fists and cracks the Morolock that was fighting with George over the back of the head. (Reviewer's Note: Well it's about friggin' time!)
21. So they all get out and after a little small talk by the river with Weena, the young people come by and tell them to come along and look. The temple is destroyed and the doors are open. George runs in to get his time machine and is attacked by the Morlocks. He manages to fight them off long enough to get his time machine started and get back to his own time, unfortunately leaving Weena behind. What a waste.
22. He gets back to his own time and pops into the dinner party with his four friends, which is basically back where we started. His only evidence of any of it is the flower that Weena gave him. No one believes him except good ol' Filby who has his doubts, but he knows that the flower couldn't have bloomed in the winter time.



Best Quote

"I say George, if you're going to start floating about in the future, aren't you going to rather mess things up for the rest of us?"

 

- Anthony Bridewell asking George about what's going to happen if he starts traveling into the future. - (Reviewer's Note: I think this was the most this guy said in this whole movie. Usually he's just standing around looking stupid with a drink in his hand.)




Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

The Time Machine
George finally gets a little help fighting the Morlocks.



The Conclusion
I don't really know where to begin this one. This review has taken me three days to complete and I'm not at all happy with it. I would like to say that it's because this movie was so great and so well written, that I just couldn't come up with anything to write in the What The Hell??? section. Unfortunately that isn't the case. The truth of the matter is that a huge chunk of this movie was flat out boring.

The biggest problem here is that George didn't even reach the year 800,000 until about an hour or more into the film, and even then there wasn't really much going on that was of any real interest until he finally delved down into the Morlocks' caverns. Once that finally happened, the action lasted for about ten or maybe fifteen minutes at the most and then it was over.

Unfortunately, what we have here is a time travel movie where more time is spent reflecting upon the meaning of time travel itself and speculating on the future in general than there is spent on telling an interesting and exciting story. I know this movie is a classic and I know that it was written by H.G. Wells, but in this case I'm going to have to stand up and tell it like it is. The King has no clothes on! I enjoyed watching this film and I believe that you will too but be warned ahead of time that there isn't a lot of excitement in it except for the fifteen or so minutes that George is down in the Morlock's caverns trying to rescue the Eloi. George is about the only interesting character in this movie and he's not even all that interesting. The others seem to just be there as window dressing to give him someone to talk to and interact with.

Just as a side note here folks, Filby is played by Alan Young who also played Wilbur on the TV show Mr. Ed, and Dr. Phillip Hillyer is played by Sebastion Cabot who also starred as Mr. French on the TV show A Family Affair. If you're familiar with these TV shows then you'll get the goof in the character descriptions at the top. If you're not familiar with them, then you'll probably be scratching your head and saying, "What the hell does that mean?" to your monitor, as though you were expecting it to answer back. Well now you know the answer, so I guess it actually did answer back.

The long and the short of it is, if you're in the mood for some good old fashioned action and excitement, then I would strongly suggest you would be better off watching something like At The Earth's Core. If you're looking for a good movie that you can watch around midnight while you're cuddled up with your special someone on the couch, then this film would fit the bill perfectly, because while it's good on the whole, it's boring enough for you to fall into a really great sleep when it's over.

B-Movie Central's Rating: 3 Bees

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