Many a partygoer has passed a tedious and boring New Years Eve, while waiting for what seems like eons before they may finally go home. However, in the movie adaptation of H. G. Wells' The Time Machine, eccentric inventor George (Rod Taylor) entertains his pragmatic guests with a glimpse of the seemingly impossible. Opening a small velvet lined box, the host reveals a model of his latest invention; a miniature sleigh (minus eight tiny reindeer) that he successfully launches into the future. The intrigued visitors, perplexed by the concept of time travel, turn to a lively deliberation of its possible commercial uses. Only his best friend Filby (Alan Young) becomes suspicious his troubled chum has found an escape from his unsatisfactory life.
When the company leaves, George does some fine-tuning on his full-scale contraption and quietly slips behind the driver's seat. Perched comfortably with a great view from his laboratory window, the scientist turned adventurer slowly propels himself forward in time. Optimistic to see the accomplishments of mankind, his heart breaks as he observes war after war envelop the land. Increasing his acceleration rate, George eventually skids to a halt after 800,000 years. Eager to meet the inhabitants of what appears to be a peaceful paradise, he encounters the naive and simple Eloi people who are living off the fat of the land. Befriending Weena (Yvette Mimieux), George squeezes in a bit of romance while researching the many paradoxes of this puzzling culture. But Utopia turns into terror when he discovers the real movers and shakers of this society are cannibalistic, cave dwelling Morlocks. It's a race against (dare I say) time to avoid becoming an entree on a subterranean menu!
Can man control his own destiny? Can he change the shape of things to come? Will humanity ever overcome its self-destructive nature and obsession with war and greed? This 1960's Academy Award winning sci-fi thriller entertains as well as asks some thought provoking questions, which are sure to spark at least a few family debates or enliven any festive occasion.
Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...
In the adaptation of H.G. Wells’ famous novel, an eccentric inventor explores the future in his time machine. A cannibalistic society and some very brief fighting scenes are the only content concerns for this fun yet thought provoking science fiction classic.
The sixties-style violence is quite tame: sometimes the music (and our description) sounds scarier than the action. Very brief scenes of the effects of war, such as bombs exploding and buildings blowing up. Character nearly drowns. Skeletons are shown. Brief scenes implying injury or death of characters from mild hand-to-hand fighting, falling off a ledge, slamming into rock wall, and one catching on fire. Blood shown only once (dripping from mouth of dying character). Time-lapse photography of decaying corpse.
Sexual Content: A-
A mannequin is dressed and undressed multiple times. Character kisses another’s cheek.
At least: 1 mild profanity, 2 terms of Deity used as expletives.
Cigars and drinks served at social occasions.
Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...
When George escapes into the future, what problems does he leave behind? What new ones does he pick up along the way? Was it a worthwhile trade? George states that without knowing our past we have no future. How can knowledge of world history influence current events?
If you could go into the future, what information from the past would you want to take with you?
What can we learn from the indolence of the Eloi? How might those lessons apply to our own society’s attitude of “working toward retirement?” What are the benefits of challenge, hard work, and education?
The concept of time travel is explored in Kate And Leopold, while the changes wrought by time are the major theme of Blast From The Past and Planet Of The Apes. If you have ever wondered what you’d miss most if you were to leave your regular life behind, see Cast Away. There is also a 2002 remake of The Time Machine.
Home Video Notes
Home Video Notes: The Time Machine
Release Date: 8 July 2014
The Time Machine releases to home video (Blu-ray) with the following special features:
- Original theatrical trailer
- Behind the scenes documentary Time Machine: The Journey Back, hosted by Rod Taylor and featuring Alan Young and Whit Bissell
The Time Machine: The Journey Back, narrated by Rod Taylor, provides glimpses into the making of the film and its special effects. It also traces the less than illustrious journey of the Time Machine—the prop that was used in the movie—and its return to grace. But the highlight of the documentary is a dramatized scene featuring Alan Young (Filby) and Rod Taylor (George), where the two friends meet again, thirty years after George’s disappearance with the time machine. It provides some answers (and more questions) about what has happened in the lives of the characters since we saw them last. Fans of the film will likely enjoy this reunion as much as the actors did.
DVD Release Information:
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Theatrical release date: August 1960
- DVD release date: October 3, 2000
- Runtime: 103 minutes
- Production company: Warner Bros.
- Package type: Snap case
- Aspect ratio: Widescreen letterbox - 1.66:1
- DVD encoding: Region 1
- Available audio tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
- Available subtitles: English, French.
- The Time Machine: The Journey Back - Documentary hosted by Rod Taylor, featuring co-stars Alan Young and Whit Bissell.