6.7/10
5,593
109 user 79 critic

Things to Come (1936)

Not Rated | | Drama, Sci-Fi, War | 14 September 1936 (UK)
The story of a century: a decades-long second World War leaves plague and anarchy, then a rational state rebuilds civilization and attempts space travel.

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Edward Chapman ...
...
...
Roxana / Rowena (as Margueretta Scott)
...
Theotocopulos
Maurice Braddell ...
Dr. Harding
Sophie Stewart ...
Mrs. Cabal
...
Richard Gordon (as Derrick de Marney)
...
Mary Gordon
Pearl Argyle ...
Catherine Cabal
Kenneth Villiers ...
Maurice Passworthy
Ivan Brandt ...
Morden Mitani
Anne McLaren ...
The Child
Patricia Hilliard ...
Janet Gordon
...
Great Grandfather
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Storyline

A global war begins in 1940. This war drags out over many decades until most of the people still alive (mostly those born after the war started) do not even know who started it or why. Nothing is being manufactured at all any more and society has broken down into primitive localized communities. In 1966 a great plague wipes out most of what people are left but small numbers still survive. One day a strange aircraft lands at one of these communities and its pilot tells of an organization which is rebuilding civilization and slowly moving across the world re-civilizing these groups of survivors. Great reconstruction takes place over the next few decades and society is once again great and strong. The world's population is now living in underground cities. In the year 2035, on the eve of man's first flight to the moon, a popular uprising against progress (which some people claim has caused the wars of the past) gains support and becomes violent. Written by Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A hundred years ahead of its time. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 September 1936 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida Futura  »

Box Office

Budget:

£300,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (VHS) | (premiere cut) | (original) | (cut) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A number of film critics in the United States criticized H.G. Wells's screen adaptation of his book for its failure to adequately address class struggle. The complaint rang with a tone of irony for Wells, whose book had been criticized by literary critics for containing too much of the author's analysis of class struggle and his socialist-leaning political beliefs. See more »

Goofs

Predating CGI the 3D title credits had to be built so we could see them rotate slightly as seen in the H.G. Wells credit. The title was also built but is misspelled 'THINCS TO COME'. What? They couldn't reuse the G they showed seconds earlier? See more »

Quotes

John Cabal: If we don't end war, war will end us.
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Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, as the title is revealed, the shadow over the letters is removed as if the clouds in the background are blowing past it. See more »


Soundtracks

The First Noel
(uncredited)
Traditional 18th Century Cornish Christmas Carol
Arranged by Arthur Bliss
Heard during opening montage.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the great science fiction films
25 June 2005 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Things to Come is that rarity of rarities, a film about ideas. Many films present a vision of the future, but few attempt to show us how that future came about. The first part of the film, when war comes to Everytown, is short but powerful. (Ironically, film audiences in its release year laughed at reports that enemy planes were attacking England--appeasement was at its height. Wells' prediction was borne out all too soon.) The montage of endless war that follows, while marred by sub-par model work, is most effective. The explanatory titles are strongly reminiscent of German Expressionist graphic design. The art director was the great William Cameron Menzies, and his sets of the ruins of Everytown are among his best work. Margaretta Scott is very seductive as the Chief's mistress. The Everytown of the 21st century is an equally striking design. The acting in the 21st century story is not compelling--perhaps this was a misfired attempt to contrast the technocratic rationality of this time with the barbarism of 1970. Unfortunately, the model work, representing angry crowds rushing down elevated walkways, is laughably bad and could have been done much better, even with 30s technology. This is particularly galling since the scenes of the giant aircraft are very convincing. This is redeemed by Raymond Massey's magnificent speech that concludes the film--rarely has the ideal of scientific progress been expressed so well. Massey's final question is more relevant now than ever, in an era of severely curtailed manned spaceflight. The scene is aided by the stirring music of Sir Arthur Bliss, whose last name I proudly share.

Unfortunately, the VHS versions of this film are absolutely horrible, with serious technical problems. Most versions have edited out a rather interesting montage of futuristic workers and machines that takes us from 1970 to 2038. I hope a good DVD exists of the entire film.


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