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The Time Machine (1960)

George Pal's The Time Machine (1960) reflects a very different time and a very different audience than H.G Wells' 1895 novel. While Wells' story is social class commentary wrapped within a stark narrative fable, Pal's movie is a brightly colored sweetmeat with all the indicting political ideology of a buttered scone. It's an entertaining Boy's Own adventure complete with handsome inventor undertaking a journey through the Fourth Dimension to a new world complete with monsters, fisticuffs, rescues, escapes, and a keen awareness of our protagonist's superiority to the poor benighted heathens in his midst. The Time Machine stars Rod Taylor as Wells' protagonist, along with a pre-Mr. Ed Alan Young and Yvette Mimieux as the young Eloi woman Weena. To the credit of Pal and screenwriter David Duncan, many of the bolts and rivets of Wells' plot remain intact in this adaptation — in particular, the opening scenes of George demonstrating his bric-a-brac model Machine for his friends. The Cold War adornments as Taylor briefly visits the 20th Century aren't as thought-provoking and weighty as Wells' class-struggle allegory, though give Pal's vision its due — it's a step up from what studio executives probably considered little more than children's fare. Warner's DVD edition features a strong transfer (1.66:1 anamorphic) of a print that's in very good shape, with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. Also included is an isolated score and a nifty behind-the-scenes documentary, The Time Machine: The Journey Back, hosted by Taylor. Snap-case.
—Mark Bourne

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