An absolutely yummy adaptation of HG Wells’s time-travel adventure, this is kitsch stuff but great fun too. Victorian scientist George (Taylor) builds a time machine, and despite the warnings of his best pal (‘If that machine can do what you say it can do, destroy it, George! Destroy it before it destroys you!’), sets off into the future, zipping past three world wars until he gets to the year 802,701. There he discovers the peaceful Eloi people (including dumb blonde babe Weena, played by Mimieux), who seem to sit around all day sunbathing, and learns that they are under threat from another tribe descended from humans, the brutal Morlocks.
While the cannibalistic Morlocks may be a bit much for younger viewers (eight and under), this is otherwise a treat for the whole family, thanks to Taylor’s tongue-in-cheek performance, the clever set design (the time machine itself is gorgeous) and smart direction, especially in the sequences when George accelerates forward in time and we’re shown the changing fashion in shop windows, flowers blooming and dying at speed – all amazing when you realise director George Pal had only $750,000 to work with (the film deservedly won an Oscar for its special effects). Fans should note that the DVD includes a thirty-minute epilogue to the movie, starring Taylor, that was filmed in 1993.
An incredibly tedious remake, starring Guy Pearce and an over-the-top Jeremy Irons, was made in 2002, but is too dark and dull to be considered a family film.
Is The Time Machine (1960) suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Young children may be scared by the creepy Morlocks.