Time Machine, The (1960)

Time Machine, The (1960)

“At last, I found a paradise — but it would be no paradise if it belonged to me alone.”

A Victorian-era scientist (Rod Taylor) builds a time travel machine that allows him to travel to the very-distant future, where he meets a beautiful young woman (Yvette Mimieux) whose colony, the Elois, are ruled over by underground monsters known as Morlocks.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Dystopia
  • George Pal Films
  • H.G. Wells Films
  • Rod Taylor Films
  • Science Fiction
  • Time Travel
  • Yvette Mimieux Films

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “enjoyable, colorful George Pal production of H.G. Wells’s novel” has “excitement and imagination, an excellent beginning, special effects, [and] scary-looking monster men,” and notes that the “time-travel sequences are especially well done.” Peary points out that “Pal, who also directed, ignores Wells’s intention to set up two distinct classes, the workers (the Morlocks) and the decadent leisure/capitalist class (the Eloi), as well as Wells’s application of Social Darwinism to the survivors of the nuclear war,” instead focusing on “how the Eloi make the choice not to be ‘cattle’ raised for slaughter but to regain human traits (to care for one another, to love, to fight for survival, to gather their own food, to work) — which are distinct from the beastly traits of the Morlocks.”

Although it’s been quite a while since I read the original novel, I would say that Pal’s narrative choice (working with a script by David Duncan) is a smart one: seeing the opening sequence with the Eloi — in which “young, blond, ignorant, pathetic, and carefree people living in an Edenic garden” pay no attention “when a young woman… almost drowns” — reminds us that “paradise” is relative, and that beauty and comfort don’t correlate with authenticity, satisfaction, or integrity. Mimieux is appropriately beautiful and guileless as “Weena” (how does she speak English so well??), while Taylor makes a ruggedly sympathetic protagonist, someone we can easily root for along his travails — especially as it’s clear he wants nothing but the best for humanity.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Rod Taylor as George
  • Vibrant cinematography and production design

  • Fine special effects

Must See?
Yes, for the Oscar-winning special effects and as an effective sci-fi adventure.


  • Good Show
  • Oscar Winner or Nominee


2 thoughts on “Time Machine, The (1960)

  1. A once-must, for its place in cinema history.

    A film which – when I was around 6 or 7 – was something of a staple of tv broadcasting. Consequently, I saw it a lot when I was a kid and it somehow never lost its allure – something Taylor certainly had much to do with. (I just now did a quick speed-through of it to remind myself of it; not that I had really forgotten).

    It’s rather potent as a fantasy / adventure and holds many clever Wells ideas. (Its special effects won an Oscar.) One of my favorite scenes comes when Taylor leaves the year 1900 in his time machine and stops it in 1917 (out of curiosity re: what is happening in the world at that time), which causes him to meet the grown son of one of his friends (both parts played by Alan Young).

  2. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    One of those classic ’50s and ’60s sci-fi flicks that provide much comfort viewing and haven’t been dimmed by remakes – 1978, 2002; both forgotten.

    A must.

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