THE TIME TRAVELERS You’ll like it (not a lot)
released OUT NOW! 1964 | PG | DVD Director Ib Melchior Cast Preston Foster, Philip Carey, Merry anders, John Hoyt
People often talk about the magic of cinema, but this colourful, undemanding sci-fi adventure is one of the few films that delivers it in spades – and in the most literal terms.
Pulpily Wellsian, it sees four scientists transported to a post-apocalyptic 2071 after their experimental “time-viewer” short-circuits, turning a window on the future into a doorway. There they find the last few humans living underground, besieged by aggressive mutants.
It’s a film low on plot and high on exposition, with much of the screen time spent showing us this future world. Fortunately, with its bald, grid-mouthed android servants, outlandish costumes and, er, tanning room for half-naked ladies, it’s an endearingly quirky one. Writer/director Ib Melchior’s script also ticks off countless SF concepts: photon propulsion, suspended animation, teleportation, generation ships – you name it.
But the chief delight is the substitution of stage magic for special effects. An edit-free sequence in which an android lies down, has its head removed and replaced, then gets up and walks away will have you rewinding in baffled amazement.
Because of their height, some of the mutants were played by members of the LA Lakers basketball team.
The lemon eating contest was tough.