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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Film that still resonates today
I finally got round to seeing this and am ashamed that I left it so long. This is what the golden age of cinema is all about. Based on the legendary sci-fi classic by H.G. Wells who also wrote the screenplay, this is set originally in 1940 and an unidentified enemy is about to unleash war on 'Everytown' which is a substitute for London ' complete with the Underground...
Published 21 months ago by Tommy Dooley

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Greatness and Annoying
Let me preface this review by letting you know my frame of reference. I am reviewing Things to Come as a film, a historical visual doccument and a DVD
Things To Come has excellent set design, they evoke images that still ring strong. It's depiction of civilization and near feudalism due to constant war and attrition of resources creates a dramatic contrast when the...
Published on March 9 2003 by x_bruce


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Film that still resonates today, July 14 2012
By 
Tommy Dooley "Tom" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Things to Come (DVD)
I finally got round to seeing this and am ashamed that I left it so long. This is what the golden age of cinema is all about. Based on the legendary sci-fi classic by H.G. Wells who also wrote the screenplay, this is set originally in 1940 and an unidentified enemy is about to unleash war on 'Everytown' which is a substitute for London ' complete with the Underground. This was released in 1936 when the Germans were helping the fascist Franco unleash a wave of terror on Spain and air raids on Guernica not to mention what was unfolding in China. As the scenes of aerial bombardment begin they are strangely prophetic of what is to befall London within five years, so the impact of this can only be imagined on the audience with the benefit of hindsight.

I was gob smacked at how accurate it was. The Characters in this surround John Cabal (the absolute legend that is Raymond Massey) who is a spirited pacifist and the coterie of inhabitants. Once the war comes it does not stop. The film is set in three time zones, the initial out break of the war and then taking us through decades of fighting, where mankind is quite literally bombed back to the dark ages. Then we hit 1966 and with the ending of everything except aggression, medicine is all but non existent and a strange plague befalls the Earth, this is 'The Wandering Sickness' and as the previously mentioned Dark Ages, this is like the Black Death and wipes out half of humanity. Everytown is now in ruins but is used as a microcosm of what is taking place in the rest of the World.

Soon the disease burns itself out and what emerges and dictatorial leaders that rule their fiefdoms, in this case it is Rudolph, played completely over the top by the marvellous Ralph Richardson who is now at war with neighbouring tribes. The future comes in the shape of a strange aeroplane which leads us on to the final of the three parts of the film and the existentialist dilemmas of progress versus contentment.

This is visually stunning especially given when it was made, depending on the version you get, the sound quality is a bit dated too, but a fully restored version is available which is umpteen times better, so if you are buying then that is the one to go for. There are some brilliant touches in this, almost iconic shots, such as the child buried under the rubble, the cinema blowing up, the Rolls Royce being pulled by horses and the scenes of the future where fashion has been lost along with old world architecture ' marvellous.

This is for all serious fans of cinema and especially those with an interest in the history of cinema, I was transfixed and I know this will be one of those rare films that stay with me for a long while I utterly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Men with Capes, Jan. 15 2012
By 
Jonathan Stover (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Things to Come (DVD)
Things to Come; written by H.G. Wells; directed by William Cameron Menzies; starring Raymond Massey (John Cabal/Oswald Cabal), Edward Chapman (Passworthy/Passworthy) and Ralph Richardson (The Boss) (1936): Things to Come gives us 100 years of extrapolated human history in about 100 minutes. That doesn't leave a lot of room for characterization, but characterization isn't on Wells's mind anyway -- or at least not the characterization of individuals, as humanity is the evolving character in the bildungsroman presented here.

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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "H.G. Wells':Things to Come (1936) ... Raymond Massey ... Legend Films (2006)", July 30 2007
By 
J. Lovins "Mr. Jim" (Missouri-USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Things to Come [Import] (DVD)
Legend Films present "H.G. WELLS:THINGS TO COME" (Released: March 31, 1936) (92 mins) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- now in COLOR and Glorious Black and White --- Things to Come is a 1936 British science fiction film, produced by Alexander Korda and directed by William Cameron Menzies. The screenplay was written by H. G. Wells and is a loose adaptation of his own 1933 novel The Shape of Things to Come and his 1931 non-fiction work, The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind. The film stars Raymond Massey --- The film, written throughout 1934, is notable for predicting World War II, being only 16 months off by having it start on 23 December 1940, rather than 1 September 1939. Its graphic depiction of strategic bombing in the scenes in which Everytown is flattened by air attack and society collapses into barbarism, echo pre-war concerns about the threat of the bomber and the apocalyptic pronouncements of air power prophets. Wells was an air power prophet of sorts, having described aerial warfare in Anticipations (1901) and The War in the Air (1908).(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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. Wells (Book Author / Screenwriter), Georges Périnal (Cinematographer), Arthur Bliss (Composer (Music Score), Muir Mathieson (Musical Direction/Supervision), Charles Crichton (Editor), Francis D. Lyon (Editor), Vincent Korda (Production Designer), John Armstrong (Costume Designer), Rene Hubert (Costume Designer), Lawrence W. Butler (Special Effects), Edward Cohen (Special Effects), Ned Mann (Special Effects), Harry Zech (Special Effects) - - - - The film has Massey's character delivering a speech to the idea of Progress and Humanity's quest for knowledge, claiming that "If Man is merely an Animal then he must fight for every scrap of happiness he can, but if he is something more, then he must strive for more - the Universe or nothing - which shall it be?"

the cast includes:
Raymond Massey ... John Cabal/Oswald Cabal
Edward Chapman ... Pippa Passworthy/Raymond Passworthy
Ralph Richardson ... The Boss
Margaretta Scott ... Roxana/Rowena (as Margueretta Scott)
Cedric Hardwicke ... Theotocopulos
Maurice Braddell ... Dr. Harding
Sophie Stewart ... Mrs. Cabal
Derrick De Marney ... Richard Gordon (as Derrick de Marney)
Ann Todd ... Mary Gordon
Pearl Argyle ... Catherine Cabal
Kenneth Villiers ... Maurice Passworthy
Ivan Brandt ... Morden Mitani
Anne McLaren ... The Child
Patricia Hilliard ... Janet Gordon
Charles Carson ... Great Grandfather
George Sanders ... Pilot

BIOS:
1. Raymond Massey
Date of Birth: 30 August 1896 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date of Death: 29 July 1983 - Los Angeles, California

2. H.G. Wells (Author/Screenplay)
Date of Birth: 21 September 1866 - Bromley, Kent, England, UK
Date of Death: 13 August 1946 - London, England, UK.

3. William Cameron Menzies (Director)
Date of Birth: 29 July 1896 - New Haven, Connecticut
Date of Death: 5 March 1957 - Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California

4. Alexander Korda (Producer)
Date of Birth: 16 September 1893 - Pusztatúrpásztó, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary)
Date of Death: 23 January 1956 - London, England, UK.

5. Ray Harryhausen
Date of Birth: 29 June 1920 - Los Angeles, California
Date of Death: Still Living

SPECIAL FEATURES:
1. Audio Commentary by Ray Harryhausen
2. Interview with Ray Harryhausen
3. Colorization Process with Ray Harryhausen
4. Ray Harryhausen Bio and Filmography
5. Classic Sci-Fi Toy Commercials
5. Legend Films Trailers - "Things To Come in Color Trailer", "Things to Come Original Trailer",
"She" in Color, "Plan 9 from Outer Space", "Carnival of Souls", "House on Haunted Hill".

Hats off and thanks to Les Adams (collector/guideslines for character identification), Chuck Anderson (Webmaster: The Old Corral/B-Westerns.Com), Boyd Magers (Western Clippings), Bobby J. Copeland (author of "Trail Talk"), Rhonda Lemons (Empire Publishing Inc), Bob Nareau (author of "The Real Bob Steele") and Trevor Scott (Down Under DVD Com) as they have rekindled my interest once again for Classics of the Silver Screen --- looking forward to more high quality releases from the vintage era of the '20s, '30s & '40s --- order your copy now from Amazon where there are plenty of copies available on DVD --- stay tuned once again for top notch never to be forgotten films of Hollywood --- if you enjoyed this title, why not check out Legend Films where they are experts in releasing long forgotten films and treasures to the fans and collectors alike --- all my heroes have been cowboys!

Total Time: 92 mins on DVD ~ Legend Films Video. ~ (11/28/2006)
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Science is the enemy of everything that is natural in life.", Oct. 14 2013
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Starting with the year 1940, we are given insight to how humankind progresses or regresses due to the inevitable war that lasts for decades. Will mankind ever learn to live in peace or are we destined to destroy ourselves watch this movie as you are about to see "THINGS TO COME."

For those people that actually have read HG Wells you will find that this film is not too far left field from his original thoughts. Much of HG Wells' works shows that he has some sort of a techno-fascist who believes that scientists and engineers were designed to rule the world. Raymond Massey who makes great speeches; you might remember him from Ayn Rand's the Fountainhead. In this film he states "and now for the rule of the air man and a new life for mankind." Another of Raymond Massey's speeches ends with "all the universe or nothing."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Film, Good Transfer !, June 18 2013
By 
Stephen Bieth (Mississauga/ Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
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. This version is better then the other but it's not mind blowing. But how much can you expect from a film made in 1936 and not been given the proper storage and care like say King Kong was. This is an amazing film. You will not believe how many things this film comes up with that were not invented until years later. Helicopters, flat screen TV's to name just a couple. This film is very dark even by today's stanards.
I am very glad I bought the Criterion version. Like I said it's not night and day compared to the old one but there is improvement in picture and sound (my only complaint is the mono sound track coming just from the center channel. I have a good one but would have preferred double mono coming out of you left and right speakers). This is a classic film with effects that were ground breaking in their day). If you are a film buff or ScFi nut this is for you!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the DVD edition to buy, March 4 2001
This review is from: Things to Come (DVD)
Please note that some of the reviews below refer to the two previous DVD releases, both of which are low-priced (one is the double-feature that also includes "Journey to the Center of the Sun"). Picture and sound quality on these other releases is poor; however the Image release, priced at around ..., features a new transfer that boasts a clear sharp picture through most of the movie and an improved soundtrack (on the cheap editions, the dialogue was frequently unintelligible). If you are a fan of this movie, this is the DVD version you should buy.
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.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars H. G. Wells' prophetic vision of the future, July 3 2006
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Things to Come (DVD)
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. Wells, from whose book The Shape of Things to Come this film was adapted, was a man deeply opposed to war. As the twentieth century progressed, Wells worried greatly about the future of man and society; he studied the past, publishing the impressive nonfiction book The Outline of History, and he began imagining the future - as it might be and how he might like it to be. His embrace of science remained true, but it was a more tenuous embrace, one espousing both fear and hope. Things to Come, released in 1936, takes up these ideas - some of them, anyway, as some of the more controversial aspects of the novel The Shape of Things to Come were ignored in the emphasis on the horrors of war.

The movie opens on a Christmas night in 1940; the residents of Everytown argue the possibility of war among themselves, only to have the holy night shattered by a bombing attack on the town. The world quickly descends into major warfare, and we are treated to a number of images of the spreading conflict. The war is made to look as frightening as possible, featuring frightened masses, decimated buildings, and the curse of gas warfare. Then the movie shifts to the year 1970. Three decades of constant warfare have brought civilization to its knees, and the Wandering Sickness has wiped out half of the human population. Local warlords rule their own little fiefdoms, and the Chief we are introduced to is still dangling the prospects of peace in order to sell continued warfare. The weapons of mass destruction are in short supply now; his only mechanic has been unable to repair the few remaining airplanes, and there is no petrol for them even if they could get airborne. Into this backwards world of modern barbarians comes John Cabal - arriving in a modern airplane, of all things. Cabal represents Wings Over the World, a new society made up of airmen and scientists committed to remolding the world (and social order) and eliminating war. The Chief, naturally, rejects Cabal's overtures, refusing to give up his hard-won authority and martial aspirations. Cabal's friends soon come to rescue him, flying in on a fleet of impressive airplanes armed with "the gas of peace."

The final third of the movie takes place in the year 2030. John Cabal and his scientists succeeded in their mission to reshape human society under their influence. The futuristic city is impressive - immaculate, gleaming white, and technologically rich. Cabal's ancestor now holds the position of authority, and he is totally committed to a new course of space exploration. The "Big Gun" is built and ready to send two intrepid young explorers around the moon. You might expect the citizens to be shining, happy people - but they're not. One man in particular, an artist named Theotocopoulos, leads a reactionary people's revolt against the follies of "progress." He says the time has come to rest on society's laurels, not waste the people's money and energy on frivolous projects such as the Big Gun. Suddenly, it's a race against time to fire the Big Gun before it is destroyed. The drama draws a sharp line between the two choices for the future. Cabal actually comes across here as slightly mad in his final "Which will it be?" moral speech, daring to dream of conquering the entire universe in the name of science, resulting in a sense of ambivalence toward science I found a little confusing.

The filmmakers had no fear of melodrama, as several scenes essentially drip with sappiness. The dialogue is somewhat stilted, as the important characters, particularly the Cabals, give speeches rather than merely speak. As for the look and special effects of the film, we're talking about some amazing stuff for the year 1936 - the film company spent a bundle on this film, and it shows. The scenes of warfare are particularly impressive -so impressive and disturbing that the movie-going public did not really warm up to the film - after all, the horrors of war were still rather fresh on their minds. As things turned out, Things to Come would play better to future generations than to its contemporaneous one. What does the film's lack of success in 1936 mean to you, the viewer? More than you might think. The film was not preserved the way it might have been, and the prints that fell into the public domain were of disappointing quality. I can't speak to the merit of this DVD, but I can say the print of the film I saw was exceedingly dark, making much of the first third of the movie very difficult to see.

This film is a true time capsule, though, and it works much better than most "prophetic" movies of its kind. Much of the acting and dialogue appears quite dated, but the themes of this movie are eternal - in fact, they are probably more important and applicable now than they have ever been. Its endorsement of a one-world government will not go over well in many places (especially my house, as the very idea is anathema to me), and I find its rejection of warfare quite naive (especially in the world of today), but this is a very important, instructive look at man and society (as well as an underappreciated masterpiece of science fiction).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eerie, but worthwhile, May 25 2004
By 
Andre M. "brnn64" (Mt. Pleasant, SC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Things to Come (DVD)
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?) is shown in 1940 about to celebrate Christmas amidst blaring headlines of war (in a nifty bit of symbolism, the children play with war toys around the Christmas tree). Then war hits the city (in an eerily accurate foretelling of the German blitz that DID rock England in 1940). As time goes on, the war drags into decades ending up in a post-apocalyptic society in 1966.
Because of the war, Everytown/London has regressed into a crude, medieval type society without electricity which wastes its resources on senseless wars and is led by a Hitler-type warlord ogre called "The Boss." The world is also famished by a deadly, incurable disease called "Wandering Sickenss" whose victims are shot by the boss (reminds you of Castro's quarantine of AIDS patients). John Cabal (Raymond Massey) is a leader of scientists who return to civilize Everytown/London and establish a scientific technocracy. But the Boss demands the technology to wage more war, which he tells his followers is necessary for the peace (he begins to sound frighteningly like George Bush Jr. during such speeches). Anyway, the Boss and Cabal face off, and I'll leave the rest to your imagination. A moon shot and some anti-progress protesters (simialr to today's anti WTO protesters) play major parts in the latter third of the story.
For those of us who are into history, this film is extremely eerie, yet fascinating and worthwhile to watch. It's scary in that some of what H.G. Wells prophesized did indeed come true in ways that are even more so than what I just mentioned. (Think of some of today's so-called Third World countries whose resources are wasted by boss-like dictators among other things). Basically, this film, despite the overtly speechike dialogue (Raymond Massey's soliloquy about the need for progress near the film's end is a bit hard to take), is an eloquent sermon on the hindrance that war makes on the progress of humanity and the need for education to triumph over ignorance. It would be great for a high school or college history teacher to show and have a discussion with their classes about this film.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Greatness and Annoying, March 9 2003
By 
x_bruce (Oak Park, ILLINOIS United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Things to Come (DVD)
Let me preface this review by letting you know my frame of reference. I am reviewing Things to Come as a film, a historical visual doccument and a DVD
Things To Come has excellent set design, they evoke images that still ring strong. It's depiction of civilization and near feudalism due to constant war and attrition of resources creates a dramatic contrast when the future's 'Everytown' goes from a metropois to a shelled city, to a home for tinhorn dictators.
The second section of the film, the rebuilding and absortion of civillization into the world of science and progress is fun to watch, the sets hold up well today, even the rounded look a airplanes and society.
I also need to preface this review by saying I liked looking at the film but at times gritted my teeth at the dialog. It was the 1930's so I can forgive some overacting and mugging as it was the tradition of it's time, but the endless preaching of science as the savior of mankind and the 'c' word, civillization gets old fast. Worse, the film and dialog seemingly contradict themselves. Science is the only hope for humanity yet it is pondered if things haven't progressed too far.
Think of the film as a bell curve. The action builds, meets it's climax halfway through the film and starts to lose steam. The future city looks great but there's very little that clues us in on society other than H.G. Well's rants about a science based socialist state compared to a dictatiorship.
If you like the politics you might enjoy the dialog. I could have accepted the themes if they would have been backed up by actions. It's a film, not the short story.
The transfer to DVD is poor. If this is the film to buy I can only shudder to think what a bad version is like. There are many segments where the picture literally sparkles unintentionally. The print quality may be acceptable in terms of saving what is left of it to archive but many of it's problems could have been fixed with no continuity changes. The sound is terrible as well, at times distorted but comprehendable. Again, this could have been fixed rather easily if someone warranted the restoration.
Perhaps because Things To Come is difficult for several reasons it is not deemed worth quality commercial treatment. As a result your stereo (if you use one) will sound like the worlds largest $0.50 speaker.
To sum:
Hisorical importance: 5
The film itself: 3
Transfer to DVD: 1
Get it if you want to see some fightenly close to reality scenes of war and destruction or the fine art deco tinged future. There's projections or holograms predicted, and not to far from our possible future, Metropolis influenced buildings that look like late 80's malls. :) Things to Come is visually pleasing as long as you can get past the film transfer. It is an enjoyable flick but probably aimed more for film buffs and scholars than a general audience.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Madacy DVD ruins classic movie, May 20 2001
By 
E. Williams "MisterEd" (Portland, OR, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I guess you get what you pay for. I would recommend AGAINST buying the Madacy Entertainment version of Things To Come. This inexpensive DVD uses an extremely poor print of the original movie and is very hard to watch. I've learned my lesson and bought the Image Entertainment version. It's significantly more expensive, but the quality of the print is SO much better that's it's very much worth it.
As far as the movie itself? Gotta have it! This is a classic that should be in every Sci-Fi fan's collection. It's full of bang-on predictions, wonderful 1930's art-deco imagery and that amazing pre-WWII sense of mankind being able to pull itself through to a technological utopia - even to see that tarnished in the end.
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