In George Pal's version of the H.G. Wells classic, Rod Taylor stars as George, a young scientist fascinated with the concept of time travel. On December 31, 1899, George seats himself in his jerry-built time machine and thrusts himself forward into 1917. A dyed-in-the-wool pacifist, George is distressed to see that World War I is raging all about him. He moves past the 1920s and 1930s into the 1940s, only to be confronted by another, even more terrible war. Next he stops in 1966, just as London is destroyed in a nuclear explosion. Retreating to his Time Machine, George is sealed in his cellar by molten lava. By the time he and his machine manage to escape their tomb, the year is 802,701. Looking around, George observes a seemingly idyllic world populated by gentle people. But he also notices that the citizens of the future, known as "Elois," behave more like mindless sheep than human beings. Befriending the lovely Weena (Yvette Mimieux), George learns to his dismay that humankind has forgotten all that it has learned through the centuries, preferring instead to frolic endlessly under the sun. Plot holes and inconsistencies abound in The Time Machine, but the film's true selling points was its Oscar-winning special effects; in this respect, producer-director Pal succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Another plus: the haunting musical score by Russell Garcia.
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