The Time Machine (1960)

time machine poster 1960 movie rod taylor h g wells
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great special effects

Too much set-up

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Time Machine

Studio:  MGM

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  August 17, 1960

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


The first problem is you made it way too small…

Professor H. George Wells (Rod Taylor) has a dream of know what has past and what will be.  Summoning his friends David Filby (Alan Young), Walter Kemp (Whit Bissell), Anthony Bridewell (Tom Helmore), and Dr. Philip Hillyer (Sebastian Cabot), Wells interrupts the party to reveal a shocking tale.  Wells tales a trip into the distant future where man has split after years of fighting and the beautiful and passive Elio live in conflict with the cruel and calculating subterranean Morlocks.

Directed by George Pal, The Time Machine adapts the 1895 science-fiction classic by H.G. Wells.  The movie was released to positive reviews and won the Academy Award for Best Effects, Special Effects.


Hey with some braces, a trim, and some make-up, you’ll look ok fella

The Time Machine and most of H.G. Wells works were things that as a kid were attainable.  It was early horror and sci-fi that you were allowed to read or see because it was “wholesome” and not violent or graphic like the modern horror movies…saying that, The Time Machine was kind of terrifying.

The story for The Time Machine does explore some rich material, but the set-up of the movie is kind of slow.  As a modern viewer, you just wait for him to time travel…and wait…and wait.  The movie must set-up the idea of time travel and of post-apocalyptic futures which takes a long time and leads to some rather dull moments until he reaches the world of the Eloi and Morlocks.  The movie does benefit in that it is set in the past and the filmmakers had the advantage of seeing “the future” like World War I and II which allowed them to incorporate them into the story (something that Wells wasn’t able to do to enrich the telling).


I’ve taught you a lot Weena…let me teach you about the birds and the bees now!

The cast is good with Rod Taylor as the everyman.  Yvette Mimieux was just turning eighteen when the movie was film and reshot some of her parts as her acting improved.  I particularly like Alan Young’s appearance due to the fact he talks with a Scottish accent and it sounds like Rod Taylor is talking to Young’s Scrooge McDuck.

The movie really excels at the visual level.  The iconic time machine has made appearances in multiple pop culture contexts including The Big Bang Theory.  This great set piece allows for some fun stop motion animation including a rotting Morlock.  It is the Morlocks and Eloi who steal the show particularly with the rather terrifying glowing-eyed blue Morlocks.

The Time Machine holds up though it is slow to get going.  Things which today’s audience doesn’t really need explained to them might have been new concepts to more of the audience at the time the movie was made.  I do like that the movie ends with a bit of a mystery of what books were taken into the future to advance society.  George Pal did plan a sequel to the film but died before the movie could be made.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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