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Favourite Time Travel Yarns

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Joe Macclesfield
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Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby Joe Macclesfield » August 26th, 2014, 8:36 pm

Which is your favourite time travel yarn? I wouldn't mind placing a small bet that George Pal's THE TIME MACHINE (1960) would probably top the list for a good many here at SSO. I will admit that in many departments it is splendid. It contains great moments, without being a great film. But--doesn't it get just a wee bit dull when "George" reaches the far future? My number one spot is reserved for Ib Melchior's THE TIME TRAVELERS (1964). Many of the trick effects in this are clearly conjuring tricks played before camera, but some are pretty nifty. The "comic" relief isn't comic. But veteran Preston Foster, as "Dr. Erich von Steiner"(!) lends it a dignity and authority that, otherwise, it simply would not possess. And then--there's that ending!
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."

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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby moira finnie » August 27th, 2014, 11:18 am

Good topic, Joe. It's hard to beat George Pal's adaptation of Wells' The Time Machine (1960) for sheer storytelling power and fun, but there are a couple that I've enjoyed:

Turn Back the Clock (1933-Edgar Selwyn) with Lee Tracy re-living the previous twenty years leading up to the Depression. Guess what the radical conclusion is in this film? Money isn't everything! Bet you never heard that before. Despite this predictable Hollywood ending, Tracy as a fairly bitter crankypants is well cast, and it is rather painful but interesting to see him squirm as the now omniscient cigar store owner attempts to convince those around him of upcoming events. Good cast rounded out by Mae Clarke and Otto Kruger and you gotta like a movie that slips The Three Stooges into the action. I can't help wondering if audiences of the period really responded well to this movie.
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Somewhere in Time (1980-Jeannot Szwarc) with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour at the height of their youthful beauty make a perfect pair separated by about 70 years in Richard Matheson's appealing love story filmed on Mackinac Island in Michigan at the height of summer. Their shared sense of destiny and the possibility of connecting with someone in the past is played for every ounce of poignancy, laced with a scosh of science. The excellent Christopher Plummer as Seymour's controlling manager and a glorious score by John Barry, (who was channeling Rachmaninoff) make this one a romantic classic for some, unbearable for others.
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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby Western Guy » August 27th, 2014, 1:05 pm

Haven't seen either THE TIME TRAVELERS or SOMEWHERE IN TIME (which apparently is "Coast to Coast" former host Art Bell's favorite movie) but I really enjoyed TURN BACK THE CLOCK, a kind of semi-IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Kept me entertained throughout (though, of course, as you state Moira, the ending wasn't too hard to figure out). And, wow, what a surprise to catch The Stooges doing their bit! Totally caught me by surprise.

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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby Rita Hayworth » August 27th, 2014, 1:45 pm

Couple of my favorite time travel movies are ...

Time Bandits - 1981 Movie

Good Natured Movie that's really done in a creative way and I always have a "certain fondness" for this film and it's has a charm of it's own. Starring John Cleese, Sean Connery, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, and others of which includes Shelley Duvall and Ralph Richardson as the Supreme Being.

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - 1949 Movie

This charming musical starring Bing Crosby and Rhonda Fleming is one of my favorite time travel movie featuring Bing in a role that's quite unique and most of all serve me well and it's a favorite of mine for years. It's also starred William Bendix, Cedric Hardwicke, and surprising Murvyn Vye as Merlin who was excellent in this movie.

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Joe Macclesfield
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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby Joe Macclesfield » August 27th, 2014, 8:08 pm

Moira, My mum would be "in the same boat" as you in regard to SOMEWHERE IN TIME. She loves the music too. I'll reserve comment--as you say: "romantic classic for some. Unbearable for others"! Never seen TURN BACK THE CLOCK (that's a great title). Remember Lee Tracy as a reporter in something, but can't recall what. The Three Stooges were GREAT. I read Moe Howard's autobiography years ago. Moe recalled that when they played in Ireland, in the '30s, they were billed by one theatre manager as "The Three Hooges"!
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."

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JackFavell
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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby JackFavell » August 27th, 2014, 9:06 pm

Time After Time (1979) with Mary Steenburgen and a very appealing Malcolm MacDowell as H.G. Wells. One of my favorite romances as a teen, along with Somewhere in Time. An interesting thriller/love story combination has Well's traveling forward through time in order to solve one of the 19th century's most enduring mysteries.

Portrait of Jennie - need I say more?

La Jetee - I finally saw this film on TCM last year. Incredible.

Berkeley Square - saddest of all romances. Leslie Howard breaks my heart.

Pleasantville - Not a perfect movie, but a really sweet, charming one. Nice use of color and black and white. GREAT cast.

Sleeper -

"I haven't seen my analyst in 200 years. He was a strict Freudian. If I'd been going all this time, I'd probably almost be cured by now."


"You must understand that everyone you knew in the past has been dead nearly two hundred years."

"But they all ate organic rice!"


"This morning for breakfast he requested something called "wheat germ, organic honey and tiger's milk."

"Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties."

"You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or... hot fudge?"

"Those were thought to be unhealthy... precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true."


Midnight in Paris -

"I'm from the '20s, and I'm telling you the golden age is la Belle Epoque."

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Lucky Vassall
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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby Lucky Vassall » August 28th, 2014, 7:17 pm

Let us hope (however unlikely) that it is necessary to save a spot in this record of favorites.

From a listing of upcoming Fall films:

"Interstellar (Nov. 7) Matthew McConaughey - already an expert on time being a flat circle, thanks to True Detective - has his first post-Oscar turn in Christopher Nolan's drama about wormhole-traversing space explorers."
AVATAR: Billy DeWolfe as Mrs. Murgatroid, “Blue Skies” (1946)

“My ancestors came over on the Mayflower.”
“You’re lucky. Now they have immigration laws."

Mae West, The Heat’s On” (1943)

:–)—
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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby Professional Tourist » August 29th, 2014, 12:46 am

One of my favorite time travel yarns is not a film, but a television series -- Quantum Leap. I was sorry the series didn't run longer than it did; thought it was a great premise which gave opportunity for many diverse tales. The whole series is available to watch on Hulu, for those in the US -- seasons one and two are currently free.


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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby Western Guy » August 29th, 2014, 1:37 pm

Well, speaking of TV, Irwin Allen's THE TIME TUNNEL was a pretty good show, initially - though with a limited premise. It was fun to jump back into historic events that could have had a different outcome, but it didn't take long for the inevitable to happen: Despite all the efforts of the time-leaping pair, history could NOT be changed and so repetition quickly set in. The Titanic was going to hit that ice berg, Custer and his troops were going to be slaughtered at Little Big Horn, etc.

The concept worked much better in the one-shot TWILIGHT ZONE episode where Dana Andrews goes back in time to try and prevent the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

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Joe Macclesfield
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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby Joe Macclesfield » August 30th, 2014, 1:50 pm

W.G., I love THE TIME TUNNEL. I recently bought the two volume set containing every episode--the U.S. edition. The bright sparks responsible for the British edition lopped off all the cliff-hanger endings that lead into the next episode, and put them all together on one disc as a "Special Feature". The imagination boggles!
I fondly recall NO TIME LIKE THE PAST. Dana Andrews was great. Didn't he try to prevent the assasination of President Garfield?
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."

Western Guy
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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby Western Guy » August 30th, 2014, 2:42 pm

Yes, Joe, it was President Garfield. Heck, the TZ episode played up here a couple of weeks ago and I missed it.

Actually, I'd love to give THE TIME TUNNEL another whirl. Predictable wrap ups, to be sure, but the buildup would be worth re-discovering.

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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby RedRiver » August 30th, 2014, 4:44 pm

The amazing thing about TIME TUNNEL was that they always landed in a critical time and place. What a coincidence! You'd think occasionally it would be November 3, 1804. But no. Always Titanic, Halley's comet, The Alamo. What luck!

The question of Favorite Time Travel Movie is easy for me. As you predicted, Joe, George Pal's classic is by far my favorite. It's one of the 2 or 3 best fantasies, period. In the long run, it's one of my favorite movies. It's true the action gets a little too relaxed in "Wena World." But that merely serves to illustrate the author's point. It's not good to become so complacent you don't care what happens. It takes the intrusion of a traveller to shock the future society into this realization. This is a wonderful adventure; ironic and exciting!

Wendy, I simply adore TIME AFTER TIME! Incredibly clever, suspenseful, charming as all get out. I saw it TWICE in a theater the year it came out! McDowell, and especially the precious Steenburgen, are exceptional. The product of Nicolas Meyer, it's not unlike his delightful Sherlock Holmes updates, stories of the detective meeting Freud, Shaw and other "special guest stars" of the era!

There aren't many bad movies that utilize this theme. PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED is OK. I'LL NEVER FORGET YOU is sad and sensitive. And of course, the many versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL feature this concept, most of them to great effect!

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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby RedRiver » August 30th, 2014, 4:47 pm

In comic book lore, Superman can fly so fast he breaks the time barrier. This has led to some amusing encounters! Our friend The Flash can accomplish the same thing from a more grounded standpoint! You'd think he'd get dizzy, spinning around like that. But he seems fine!

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Joe Macclesfield
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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby Joe Macclesfield » August 30th, 2014, 6:40 pm

Re: TIME TUNNEL. In RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY, the newspaper that "Doug" takes with him when he first enters the tunnel, sports a photo of R.M.S. Lusitania (not Titanic)!
Last edited by Joe Macclesfield on August 31st, 2014, 1:18 am, edited 5 times in total.
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."

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Joe Macclesfield
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Re: Favourite Time Travel Yarns

Postby Joe Macclesfield » August 30th, 2014, 6:57 pm

In regard to Pal's THE TIME MACHINE. The DVD release that I have features some great extras. A documentary, hosted by Rod Taylor, about the making of the film, and, the design and history of the movies famous time machine prop. Also, a charming vignette with Taylor and Alan Young recreating their original roles. A vignette that completely contradicts the plot of the movie!
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."


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