Based on the H.G Wells classic science fiction novel and directed by George Pal, this 1960 movie tells the story of George (Rod Taylor) who is captivated by the concept of time traveling.
It’s New Year’s Eve, 1899. As the new century approaches, George has invited home some of his friends to show them his invention: a time machine. It’s been a week since he demonstrated its concept with a tiny model they disregarded as a magic trick or an optical illusion. Only David (Alan Young), his best friend, believed there was something real about the experiment. It’s been only a week, but George has traveled eons, has seen amazing things, and he’s ready to come back and convince his friends. Would he make it back on time to their appointment?
In his voyage to the future we identify with his expectations about humanity and also with his shock as he watches the wars that destroy our civilization.( I watched this film when I was 10 or 11 years old and still today, I feel touched watching George marveling at the sight of time passing in front of his eyes). Many eons later, he finds a race of young humans called the Eloi and discover that they are just the livestock for another race of beings called the Morlocks who dwell underground. The young live for the moment, for themselves only, knowing that when they least expect it, the Morlocks’ siren will sound hypnotizing them to walk towards their masters sphinx and disappear.
Frustrated by the indifferent attitude of the young Eloi (no elders in their midst), George manages to avoid becoming prey of the Morlocks and rushes to return home, to his time and space to meet his friends as agreed. In his mind, he carries the urge to help the Eloi awake and build a new world maybe with five books from his personal library.
The value of this movie is in its story, not in its modest special effects. I wonder how much these filmmakers could have accomplished if equipped with today’s techniques and computer-generated effects. But then, again, watch the 2002 version with all these advantages and, in my humble opinion, the old saying can be applied here for sure: “they don’t make them like they used to.”