THE TIME TRAVELERS

PrintE-mail Written by J. R. Southall

Novelist and director Ib Melchior was a Danish immigrant who, following his service in the US counter intelligence in World War II, formed a career producing pulp fiction and b-movies in the United States. He died last year in West Hollywood, probably most famous for having conceived the original idea for Space Family Robinson in 1960, which Irwin Allen plagiarised for the conceit of Lost in Space five years later. The Time Travelers is, alongside 1959’s The Angry Red Planet, one of only two features Melchior directed, and is finally receiving a Region 2 UK DVD release having previously been available as an Italian import.

The Time Travelers is one of those vividly coloured low-budget movies that would turn up in the middle of the afternoon TV schedules of bygone decades. Taking its cue from George Pal’s 1960 adaptation of The Time Machine, it’s filled with stern-faced men and groovy technology, its greatest accomplishment an ostensible time paradox that leads to a concluding sequence very similar to the one at the end of the recent Doctor Who episode Heaven Sent – but that viewers who remember this from childhood television screenings will be disappointed to discover is as spurious as much of the science in Melchior’s film.

A small group of scientists who are experimenting with a device that allows them to look through time, are surprised when technician Danny – brought along for “comedy” value, but actually about the only character who feels remotely human – discovers the screen has become a gateway into the future. Arriving in 2071, the scientists find themselves in a post-apocalyptic environment, befriending a small group of fellow scientists hiding in some nearby caves, desperately trying to finish the rocket ship that will take them from the deadly, radiation damaged surface of Earth to a new home in the Alpha Centauri system.

Meanwhile outside the underground city, mutated humans are running out of food supplies and are intensifying their attempts to break in and destroy the scientists’ work. It’s a scenario that Russell T Davies borrowed almost beat-for-beat for his 2007 story Utopia, and Doctor Who fans will recognise any number of other plot elements, including the premise of 1965’s The Space Museum – included here almost as a throwaway incident ten minutes from the end.

Incorporating interminable sequences involving the construction of some camp and rather bogus-looking androids, unlikely romances, dull-witted comedy and preposterously serviceable dialogue, The Time Travelers is entertaining enough as long as you’re prepared to forgive it its longueurs and scientific simplicity. Fans of a certain kind of unfussy mid-1960s screen sci-fi will doubtless love its lack of ambiguity, while those who prefer something a little more sophisticated will be reaching for their painkillers.

THE TIME TRAVELERS / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: IB MELCHIOR / SCREENPLAY: IB MELCHIOR / STARRING: PRESTON FOSTER, PHILIP CAREY, MERRY ANDERS, STEVE FRANKEN, JOHN HOYT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
 


Suggested Articles:
In The Perfect Insider a programming genius is murdered in a locked room in her research base. Visit
Jamil Dehlavi’s Jinnah documents the trials and tribulations of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the man
With a tagline reading ‘Lies eventually catch up’, Malcolm Deegan’s sole feature outing as wri
The success of Easy Rider in 1969 took everyone by surprise and after it, the big studios scrambled
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

THE PERFECT INSIDER - COMPLETE SEASON COLLECTION 03 December 2016

JINNAH (1998) 02 December 2016

FRACTIONAL 02 December 2016

THE HIRED HAND (1971) 02 December 2016

IRONSIDE SEASON 4 02 December 2016

IRONSIDE SEASON 3 02 December 2016

STAR TREK: THE RODDENBERRY VAULT 02 December 2016

GHOST IN THE NOONDAY SUN 29 November 2016

AKIRA: THE COLLECTOR’S EDITION 29 November 2016

ASTERIX: THE MANSIONS OF THE GODS 29 November 2016

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

      
      
 
...