Things to Come (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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A landmark collaboration between writer H. G. Wells (Island of Lost Souls), producer Alexander Korda (The Thief of Bagdad), and designer and director William Cameron Menzies (Gone with the Wind), Things to Come is a science fiction film like no other, a prescient political work that predicts a century of turmoil and progress. Skipping through time, Things to Come bears witness to world war, dictatorship, disease, the rise of television, and finally, utopia. Conceived, written, and overseen by Wells himself as an adaptation of his own work, this megabudgeted production, the most ambitious ever from Korda�s London Films, is a triumph of imagination and technical audacity. SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES � New high-definition digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack � Audio commentary featuring film historian and writer David Kalat � Interview with writer and cultural historian Christopher Frayling on the film�s design � Film historian Bruce Eder on Arthur Bliss�s musical score � Audio recording from 1936 of a reading from H. G. Wells�s writing about the �wandering sickness,� the plague in Things to Come � PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O�Brien � More!
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Top Customer Reviews
I agree with some reviewers that Wells's vision of the future is fascist in some respects. The vaulting ambition of human PRO-gress depicted in this movie is inspiring to a degree, but is laid on pretty thick. Viewed in the context in which it was made, this is a very enjoyable film, featuring some first-rate production design and visual effects, particularly for the time, along with a lantern-jawed performance by Raymond Massey that is stirring if not always believable.
This is a worthwhile film for all science fiction fans, in my opinion, and should be seen at least once. If you're going to buy it on DVD, though, I recommend you spend the extra bucks and buy the IMAGE version.
We follow humanity's rocky road by watching the history of Everytown (pretty obviously London, England), beginning on the eve of a world war in 1936 and ending with humanity's first baby steps into outer space in 2036. In between, we get vignettes of diasaster and rebuilding, and one long middle section setting the hyper-civilized, transnational Airmen against the tribal warriors of bombed-out Everytown, led by Ralph Richardson's engaging barbarian Boss, the only character in the movie I could imagine not punching in the face as soon as I met him. And he's the bad guy!
The visual effects are occasionally stunning -- moreso given the technology of the time. One's reactions to Wells's utopia, built by scientists and engineers who love lengthy declamatory speeches and airplanes with giant wings, will vary depending on one's own opinions about 'human nature', the perfectability of man, and the wisdom of wearing togas and capes all the time. Why did seemingly everyone in the 1920's and 1930's think the citizens of future utopias would wear capes and dress all in white? Recommended.
The Shape of Things to Come is a look into the future from the perspective of the people of 1936 --- the film relates to what could have been a real possibility, shows the horrors of war and the price of progress looking at a world on the brink of World War II --- what the world would be like if a major war broke out --- an early attempt of a science fiction film that takes a long hard look into the future.
Under William Cameron Menzies (Director), Alexander Korda (Producer), Lajos Biro (Screenwriter), H.G.Read more ›
Some have felt that none of H.G. Well's predictions came true. I beg to differ.
Shot in 1936, who would imagine that England would have been going to war 2 years later AND being dragged on for decades in the H.G. Wells version, although I'm sure that 6 years DID seem like an eternity.
Another prediction that came true was the use of television. In the future rebuild of 'Everytown' a big screen is lowered into the city to broadcast a potential reveolution to start.
This movie is brilliantly done cinematography and acting are first class.
Sir Arthur Bliss' film score is so well suited to the movie and was later recorded in stereo I believe conducted by the composer. That is the ONLY thing that suffers is that the audio is typical of most optical soundtracks from the '30's.
The transfer of this movie to dvd is excellent. Detail of the filn is brought out by the transfer making it all that more riviting.
This a TRUE gem of British film of that time and now preserved, it will be enjoyed for generations for those to discover this great gem.
This is a MUST HAVE if you are a collector of classic films
Most recent customer reviews
A beautifully conceived movie that just happened to be prescient and predicted so many things in our modern world. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Sally Golds
I saw this film once as a youth. Despite the cheezy effects the positive message of the film remains valid and in today's screwed up world even more necessary.Published 18 months ago by geo
Fabulous, came before I expected, mint condition, real classic worth keepingPublished 18 months ago by Calvin Woosnam
Starting with the year 1940, we are given insight to how humankind progresses or regresses due to the inevitable war that lasts for decades. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2013 by bernie
A little over a year ago there was a release of this film in colour and black and white. It looked so much better then the $0.99 VHS I found in a dump bin back in the '80's. Read morePublished on June 18 2013 by Stephen Bieth
This is classic H.G. Wells. 70 years on, technology is still both a boon & a bane, just like the people who create & use it. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2009 by Cat
If you are a SCI-FI and Space film fan like myself you tend to be very critical of films. Some films lack detail and some have actors that destroy the story. Read morePublished on April 11 2009 by S. Keller
Things to Come is an unusual film with an unusual history. It plays on several levels, the most important being its anti-war message. H.G. Read morePublished on July 3 2006 by Daniel Jolley
Okay, enough already about the transfers, let's talk about the film itself.
In a nutshell, this 1936 Brit sci-fi feature deals with war and progress. Everytown (London? Read more