Saturday, August 16, 2008

Movie of the Week: The Time Machine!


This week, it's time for my favorite George Pal movie of all time to be featured, "The Time Machine"!

Thanks, as always, go to Wikipedia for the plot summary!

In 1899 London, George (Rod Taylor) discusses the subject of time as the fourth dimension with some of his friends, among them David Filby (Alan Young) and Dr. Philip Hillyer (Sebastian Cabot). He then shows them a tiny machine that he claims can travel in time. When activated, the device first blurs, then disappears. The others are incredulous, but dismiss what they have witnessed as a parlour trick and leave. Before he departs, Filby warns George that it is not for them "to tempt the laws of providence." They agree to meet again next Friday.


Unbeknownst to the others, George has constructed a full-scale model of his time machine, one capable of transporting a man. He sits in it, the dial reading "December 31, 1899", pushes the lever forward, and watches time pass at an accelerated rate around him. To his amusement, he sees the changing of women's fashion on a mannequin in the window of a dress shop across the street.


Eventually, he stops the machine at September 13, 1917 to see what has become of the world. He meets a man in uniform whom he mistakes for his old friend, David Filby; it turns out to be his son James. He informs George that his father had died recently in the "Great War". George returns to the machine and travels to June 19, 1940. There are barrage balloons in the sky and sounds of bombing, leading him to believe, "It must be the new war." His next stop is August 18, 1966.


He is puzzled to see several people hurrying past him into a fallout shelter amidst the blare of air raid sirens. An older, grey-haired James Filby tries to get him to enter the shelter as "the mushrooms will be sprouting" before fleeing. There is an explosion, the sky turns red, and hot lava begins to ooze down the street. George restarts the machine, just in time to avoid being incinerated. The lava covers the machine, cools and hardens, forcing George to travel far into the future before it erodes away.

He stops the machine abruptly on October 12, in the year 802,701, next to a low building with a large, grotesque sphinx on top of it. George explores the idyllic pastoral paradise. He spots some young adults by a river. A young woman is drowning, but the others are strangely indifferent to her plight. George rescues her himself. She calls herself Weena (Yvette Mimieux) and her people the Eloi. She is very interested in him.



George is outraged to find out that the Eloi have no government, no laws, and little curiosity. Their books lay mouldering on a few shelves. He shouts, "A million years of sensitive men dying for their dreams, for what? So you can... dance and play." He decides to return to his own time, but tracks indicate that the time machine has been dragged into the building, behind a pair of locked metal doors.

Weena takes George to a small museum, where talking rings tell of a centuries-long East-West nuclear war. One group of survivors chose to remain in the shelters, while the rest decided to "take their chances in the sunlight, slim as those chances might be." Later, Weena tells George that the Morlocks live in the building.


At night,Weena insists that George and her go back inside, for fear of the Morlocks. While they stay outside, he shows her a fire, and tells her a little about the past. As George tries to recover his machine, one of the Morlocks grabs Weena, but George saves her again. The next day, Weena shows George openings in the ground which look like air-shafts. George starts climbing down one of them, but then a siren sounds and he climbs back up. Weena and rest of the Eloi start walking towards the front of the building as if in a trance, seeking refuge from a non-existent attack. Before George can find her, the sirens stop and the doors close, trapping Weena and several others inside.



George climbs down an air-shaft, reaching a big artificial cave. In one chamber he sees a number of human skeletons strewn carelessly about and learns the horrifying truth: the Morlocks eat the Eloi. The Morlocks are finally shown to be hideous hominid, ape-like creatures.



George finds that they are sensitive to light; he uses matches to keep them at bay, before lighting an improvised torch. At one point, a Morlock knocks it away, but one of the male Eloi summons up enough courage to punch the Morlock.


Weena pitches in as well. They set fire to the flammable material in the cave, driving off the Morlocks. Then the Eloi escape through the air-shafts. Under George's guidance, they drop tree branches into the shafts to feed the fire. There is an explosion, and the entire area caves in.



Finding the metal doors now open, George goes in to get his machine, but the doors close behind him. A Morlock attacks, but George activates his machine and travels into the future, watching the Morlock die and turn to dust. Then George travels back to January 5th, 1900. He tells his story to his friends, but only Filby believes him. After George's friends leave, Filby returns, but by the time he reaches the laboratory, it is too late: George has left again. The housekeeper, Mrs. Watchett (Doris Lloyd) notes that he took three books with him. Filby asks her which three she would take with her to restart a civilization. She asks Filby if they will ever see George again; Filby replies, "One cannot choose but wonder, You see, he has all the time in the world."


A short film, included on the DVD, was made that serves as kind of an epilog to the movie... here's part of it:

As I said at the beginning, this is my favorite George Pal movie of all time. What is it about this that makes it my favorite? Well, part has to do with the time travel aspect -- I'm a sucker for a good time travel story. But I think just as much, it's George, the Time Traveller... a man possessed with a dream, and willing to do whatever it takes to see that dream fulfilled.

In some ways, he's kind of like Taylor, in "Planet of the Apes," in that they both go through a hero's journey... travelling into the future to find humanity enslaved, they meet and fall in love with a woman of the future... but then they diverge, as George manages to overthrow the Morlocks, and leaves us with hope that he'll be able to return humanity to its proper place on Earth!

Of course, Yvette Mimieux is also beautiful!

Next week... well, I think it'll be time for a giant creature movie!


Cool Stuff: Original Comic Art!

So, last time around, we looked at 70's Fantastic Four artwork by John Buscema, Sal Buscema, Rich Buckler, and others... let's now jump back to the FF's first decade, okay?


Here's Kirby's pinup from Fantastic Four #15!


And another Kirby page, page 11 from Fantastic Four #16!

And I hope you weren't starting to expect this would be all-Kirby this time around...


Here's page 10 from Fantastic Four 192, art by George Perez, yet another of those revolving artists from the FF's 1970s run.


Psych! It's back to another Kirby page! This time it's page 14 from Fantastic Four 63!

But this post isn't even going to be all-FF today...


Here's page 28 from Fight Comics 32, by the Iger Studio.


And this is page 3 from Fight 33, art by Matt Baker!


And we're just bouncing around all over, but keeping the "f" titles here! This is page 1 from Flash 182, art by Ross Andru.


Here's page 2 of Flash 184, also Andru work...


And here's page 19...


Here's page 24 from the same issue!


And page 25!


And to wrap up this unexpected Flash-fest, here's the cover for Flash 217, art by Neal Adams!


Friday, August 15, 2008

By the 10's: Wonder Woman, Part 2!

Try not to blow your mind with these Wonder Woman covers, by the 10's!


We're up to issue 110, and wow... how does anyone even think if a cover concept like that?


You know, I think I could go the rest of my life and never again encounter a sentence as high-concept as "Great Hera! The flying carpet is taking Steve straight to the fire genie!" Issue 120's cover here.


Issue 130, and it's another cover with a flying carpet and a genie! What are the odds? Plus it's a Wonder Tot cover!


Issue 140 here, and let's look at this closely... first of all, you know this is an "impossible story" because Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, and Wonder Tot are all there at the same time (because, you know, they're all Diana at different ages). Then there's Wonder Woman herself becoming a human lightning bolt! Stay away from any police labs, Diana, you might cause an origin!


Issue 150... yes, that's Mer-Boy and Bird-Boy, Wonder Girl's teenage boyfriends.

And yes, that's a gigantic phantom fisher-bird.


Issue 160 promises "The Weird Side of Wonder Woman" -- we haven't seen that already?!?


Can you believe issue 170's cover only promises Wonder Woman's going to be turned into a gorilla... and didn't SHOW it???


Yes, issue 180 brings us an all-new, all-different Wonder Woman... As you may have noticed, DC never could seem to get a handle on a concept for Wonder Woman that would last...


I have no idea what's up with Diana's clothing on the cover of issue 190, either.


And issue 200's cover... well, it looks like it could just as easily have been a "House of Secrets" or "House of Mystery" cover, couldn't it?


Give-A-Show Fridays: First at the Top of the World and The First Rocket!



Thursday, August 14, 2008

Slideshow: Avengers-Related Goodies!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Cool Stuff: More Super Powers!

Time to look at more Super Powers merchandise!


And we start with these puffy stickers, which I wish you could see better, but that's as large as the photo is!


Here's a nice Super Powers throw, which I think I bid on, but got outbid on very quickly!


These Super Powers cups with figural handles were Burger King items. I used to have a few of them!

Hmmm... well, I thought I had more Super Powers items in the current group than that! Oh, well, let's just fill in this installment with more DC items then,s hall we?


I forget which country these DC stamps were made in, but they look pretty cool!


Oh, did I not mention they're rubber stamps?


Interesting that this package of stick-ons was called "Super Friend Stick-Ons"... most of the items with "Super Friends" on it used the logo!


Here's a few looks at the Supercase, which I believe I featured a while ago as part of a Heroes World post!



Here's a model sheet... or rather, a bunch of model sheets... from the Super Friends, based on Alex Toth's designs!


Produced around the same time as Captain Action, also by Idea, here's the Batgirl and Supergirl Super Queens!


This DC Superheroes wallpaper seems to show up about every three or four months, but always only one sheet at a time!

And let's finish this off with a few Wonder Woman items, okay?


Not sure when this Wonder Woman mirror was made... obviously around the mid 80s!


This Wonder Woman nightlight is much newer than most of the stuff I post photos of, but it's pretty cool!

More DC Superheroes items next time!