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Things to Come1936

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  • 3.5
A landmark collaboration between writer H. G. Wells, producer Alexander Korda, and designer and director William Cameron Menzies, 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, disease, dictatorship, and, finally, utopia. Conceived, written, and overseen by Wells himself as an adaptation of his own work, this megabudget production, the most ambitious ever from Korda's London Films, is a triumph of imagination and technical audacity.

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3 members like this review

It is a THRILL to finally watch a cleaned-up, restored, Criterion-ized version of this amazing movie! Previous viewings have been torture, watching a bad print of a bad print of a bad print that looked like it was shot by Edison in 1905.

“Things To Come” is an epic in the true sense of the word. It’s the first great post-apocalyptic film, a chronicle of the fall and rise of mankind, driven by the grandiose technocratic vision of the legendary H.G. Wells of a bustling, industrialized utopian future, in which the courage of progress overcomes the fear and ignorance that breeds stagnation, and ultimately war.

Above all, what stands out about this film is the look, the design, and the 1936-era-special effects that make it a celebration of early 20th century modernism. It’s an art deco toy store filled with flying wings, electon space guns, moving sidewalks and and underground cities. Wells’ “Age of the Airmen,” never really came to pass, but it is fascinating to behold.

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Member Reviews (7)

81629.small
top reviewer

It is a THRILL to finally watch a cleaned-up, restored, Criterion-ized version of this amazing movie! Previous viewings have been torture, watching a bad print of a bad print of a bad print that looked like it was shot by Edison in 1905.

“Things To Come” is an epic in the true sense of the word. It’s the first great post-apocalyptic film, a chronicle of the fall and rise of mankind, driven by the grandiose technocratic vision of the legendary H.G. Wells of a bustling, industrialized utopian future, in which the courage of progress overcomes the fear and ignorance that breeds stagnation, and ultimately war.

Above all, what stands out about this film is the look, the design, and the 1936-era-special effects that make it a celebration of early 20th century modernism. It’s an art deco toy store filled with flying wings, electon space guns, moving sidewalks and and underground cities. Wells’ “Age of the Airmen,” never really came to pass, but it is fascinating to behold.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

Clunky acting, but this film is SO COOL!!!

1 member likes this review

'Things to Come' is a masterful film in many ways. It's a shame that it's not aged as well as it should have. The story and script by H.G. Wells are awe-inspiring, especially the monologue at the end perfectly executed by Raymond Massey, who really breathes life into this film. The set design and miniature-work is beyond impressive and unique. I don't think I've seen such good miniature-work in a film, especially from the Golden Era. The film is lavish for British cinema of the time, and definitely represents a high point in artistic collaboration with the genius of H.G. Wells at the helm. However, the film is unfortunately not preserved as well as it deserves. Criterion has done an excellent job to restore the film, and for that we should be thankful. However, the sound design still seems a bit off. Some lines of dialogue are barely distinguishable (if at all), and Arthur Bliss's amazing score is very wobbly at times. However, this is an impressive effort on all ends, especially from Criterion's, as the other prints of this film are abhorrent and unreadable in comparison.

1 member likes this review

Cornball utopianism rendered incredibly. Some prescience, some wrestling with big questions, all displayed in an early epic style over large swaths of time. Worth it.

1 member likes this review
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cool but corny & hammy _but it's a great idea & beautifully executed_so many cool sci-fi touches_like flash gordon

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top reviewer

For me, Things to Come would be a perfect science fiction film if it weren't for the heavy handed colonialist message. If not for that, it might as well be the 2001 of the 1930s.

Exceedingly ambitious utopian vision predicated on the ideals of the day.