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Friday, August 23, 2013

Things To Come (1936) d. William Cameron Menzies

Future space man from Things To Come

Movie Review
Things To Come (1936)
d. William Cameron Menzies
Criterion Collection #660
Release Date: June 18th, 2013

   Things To Come, a collaboration between H.G. Wells and producer Alexander Korda, had every advantage.  It was the 1936 version of a sci-fi blockbuster, based on the Wells book, with a huge-for-its-day budget.  Unfortunately, to call the script "stilted and terrible" is to offend both those words.  Well maybe not terrible.

  The movie has its moments- both the montage sequences of the decades long World War (this movie was written and released BEFORE World War II, and in the book this war starts when Germany invades Poland !);  similarly the montage closer to the end where the global super state constructs the shiny, gleaming world of the future have a wondrous quality that leave you in awe of the prescience of all involved.

  The acting,,,is terrible.  The story... non existent.  For those who watch contemporary films it is similar to what they did in World War Z with a book that was an homage to Studs Terkel's "Working" ( a collection of interview with people about working.  In other words it is an attempt to create a dramatic narrative from a printed source with no dramatic narrative.

 Let Things To Come be a lesson to us all!  Also, H.G. Wells was kinda a fascist, though he died too early to really appreciate how badly that could turn out.  His gleaming super state of the future looks like something out of a Nazi propaganda film.

  I probably would not recommend Things To Come to anyone unless they said something like, "Oh yeah, HUGE H.G. Wells fan." or "God I love big budget sci fi films from the 1930s that totally bombed."  or I suppose people who dig interesting artistic failures.  Because Things To Come is def. a fail.

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