HG Wells double bill: The Time Machine and Time After Time (Film screening, 13th August)


Poster for the 1960 film The Time Machine, via Wikimedia Commons

Go back in cinematic time and revisit two classic films, in this special double screening at Durham Gala Theatre on 13th August, the anniversary of H.G. Wells’ death. The first film is George Pal’s spectacular version of the H.G. Wells classic The Time Machine. The second film, Time After Time, sees H.G. Wells face up to Jack the Ripper; this film will be introduced by Wells expert, Professor Simon James.

The Time Machine

In George Pal’s version of the H.G. Wells classic, Rod Taylor stars as George, a young scientist fascinated with the concept of time travel. On December 31, 1899, George seats himself in his jerry-built time machine and thrusts himself forward into 1917. A dyed-in-the-wool pacifist, George is distressed to see that World War I is raging all about him. He moves past the 1920s and 1930s into the 1940s, only to be confronted by another, even more terrible war. Next he stops in 1966, just as London is destroyed in a nuclear explosion. Retreating to his Time Machine, George is sealed in his cellar by molten lava. By the time he and his machine manage to escape their tomb, the year is 802,701. Looking around, George observes a seemingly idyllic world populated by gentle people. But he also notices that the citizens of the future, known as “Elois,” behave more like mindless sheep than human beings. Befriending the lovely Weena (Yvette Mimieux), George learns to his dismay that humankind has forgotten all that it has learned through the centuries, preferring instead to frolic endlessly under the sun. Plot holes and inconsistencies abound in The Time Machine, but the film’s true selling points was its Oscar-winning special effects; in this respect, producer-director Pal succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Another plus: the haunting musical score by Russell Garcia.

Time After Time

It’s H.G. Wells (Malcolm McDowell) versus Jack the Ripper (David Warner) in the fanciful Time After Time — and, per the film’s title, the chase extends from the 19th century to the 20th. Wells has built a time machine in his cellar, which the Ripper uses as a means of escape. Both men find themselves in 20th century San Francisco, and, after a period of adjustment, they make themselves at home. The plot takes a dark turn when the Ripper, disappointed that Wells’ dreams of a Utopian future have not come to fruition, resumes his murderous activities.

Tickets are available from The Gala Theatre, Durham, and can be booked online at www.galadurham.co.uk. Alternatively you can contact the box office on 03000 266 600. 10% discount for holders of a ticket to the Palace Green Library Time Machines exhibition.

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2 responses to “HG Wells double bill: The Time Machine and Time After Time (Film screening, 13th August)

  1. Pingback: New Podcast: Feminist Utopias and Afrofuturism | READ Research English At Durham·

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