Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. United Kingdom, 1936. London Film Productions. Screenplay by H.G. Wells, based on his novel The Shape Of Things To Come. Cinematography by Georges Perinal. Produced by Alexander Korda. Music by Arthur Bliss. Production Design by Vincent Korda. Costume Design by John Armstrong, Rene Hubert, Cathleen Mann. Film Editing by Charles Crichton, Francis D. Lyon.
Rare case of classic science fiction that does not undercut its serious social message with cheesy characters or effects. H.G. Wells’ novel is turned into a thought-provoking examination of human nature as the little hamlet of Everytown in England is undone by the destruction of war (the film was produced a few years before the outbreak of World War II). It then moves through the next century as people make technological innovations but do not necessarily learn from the past. In the gorgeously designed future, featuring thrilling, giant sets that fans of Metropolis and Logan’s Run will delight in, humanity is ready to conquer the skies but is hampered by the naysaying of conservative politicians who only want to create friction between dreamers and those who live in fear. It has a lot to offer, and it really is impressive what they pull off in the visual department.