Friday, October 2, 2015

Things to Come

Things to Come (1936) is an iconic film of the modern era in more ways than one. The screenplay, based directly on a treatment prepared by H.G.Wells, was remarkable for its blend of present-day anxieties (in 1936, Britain could already see World War II looming on the horizon) with futuristic hopes and dreams; from the opening montage of scary newspaper headlines to the closing cry "An End to Progress Now!" it seems to embody a peculiarly British view of the world. There is stoicism, yes, and a sort of national pride, but there is also a deep suspicion of technology that harks back at least to the Luddites at the start of the nineteenth century. Wells, for an author, enjoyed a remarkable degree of control and influence over the production, although he was not involved in post-production and many of his original scenes were cut or truncated.

One concept, however, which survived the process was Wells's prescient use of a "televisor" as a key instrument of social control. John Logie Baird, interestingly, was a huge fan of Wells and there exists a picture of the two of them meeting; by Baird's account, Wells was well-acquainted with Baird's work. Alas, the production designers for the film, though they gave us an early version of the loose tunics and saturnine rings of sci-fi films to come, did not understand how the televisor worked; what they show us is an odd combination of some sort of film apparatus, with a projection screen the size of a small building. 

19 comments:

  1. I liked how the story was set up. It was a story line. It started with before the war, so you can understand the societies feelings towards the current situation and their thoughts on what will happen. I also was surprised of the creativity of the author. He wrote the story and predicted the what the war would be like and the aftermath of the war, and he did so successfully. He predicted what life would be like in 2036., which is in about 20 years. The future that H. G. Wells predicted is much different than how we all believe the future will be like. I found it funny how he predicted that there will be no illness. The children born in the time do not know what a "cold" is. And to them, its a silly idea that it ever existed. Maybe in 20 year, we will cure all types of illness, who knows. It will be interesting to see what life is like in 2 years and see how similar or different it is to the future that H. G. Wells had imagined. The story is another perfect example of "what if?'. It goes right along with that idea. "What if there was a war?" "What if we won?" "Lost?". Wells did a fabulous job or portraying the what if image. As boring as this story was, it was very interesting to see how someone in that time imagined the future due to current events.

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  2. I found the ideas behind this movie, and ‘A Canticle for Leibowitz’, very interesting. The idea of everything occurring in a circular fashion is something that I have thought about before but this movie made it seem more realistic/possible. Like anything else in life, the more you do something the better you get at it. If the world truly is progressive, then this could be a good or a bad thing. It could be good for the people trying to conquer things like war, but it could also be bad because those in charge of the war would have a better idea of how to accomplish their goal and it could result in more damage. I found it interesting how they only ever referred to the quest to the moon as conquering the moon even though they were against war. A conversation that I found very interesting was when one man said, “we have no way of saving our children from this madness?” and the other man responded with “who says we would be saving them?” I think this shows that working through and overcoming challenges is something very valuable in life and this circular nature of the world is something that would potentially make this easier and easier.

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  3. I personally thought the movie Things To Come was thought provoking. Back when this movie was made people really did seem to think that the world would be this highly technological place that conquered illness and lived underground. It made me think about the world we live in today and how it compares to the movies representation of our time. Although we haven’t cured all illnesses and we don’t live underground, we do have many technological advances. Unfortunately, we still don’t have flying cars. I’m still waiting on those! I never really thought about how technology has effected us, but this movie got me to thinking that we are controlled by the technology that we have created. People spend more time with their faces in their phones than having regular face to face interaction with real people. It’s like a virus, once we started to develop technology it spread and hasn’t stopped. People need to realize, that while it is okay to use technology, it’s not okay to be so enveloped in it to where you can’t go a day without it. It makes me think, what if things don’t change? What if we become mindless robots only concerned with technology? We are on the path that leads to that outcome. If we don’t want the world to become the way the movie represented it (to a certain extent) people need to be more mindful, and reconnect with what’s outside their cell phone. (Elizabeth Cook)

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  4. Watching this movie really made me think how our lives are going to be in the years to come. Technology is very important in this era and you might say that we rely on it more than you think. In the film, Things To Come by HG Wells it is based before the wars and he predicts what the world would be in the 2000 century without the war . HG Wells predicts what the future technology would be like, for instance the two major predictions were flying cars and no illness. And as we might have a flying car in the process of being invented, we are still not there yet. As far as no illness, sadly that is not done yet either, and I feel that wont be completed until another era. Maybe if we continue with these amazing technologies that we are inventing and surround ourselves with that the time will come sooner than we think. This movie kept me very interested in what they had thought the future held for us, and I like how the author had a great imagination.

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  5. Technology is a big part of this movie. A few things that are talked about in the movie are flying cars and that there will not be any illnesses. We have yet to see this but maybe we will later on down the road. One part of the movie is when a little girl was talking to her dad and he said that people got colds and they also sneeze. She didn't seem to know what that was. There is also lots of different types of technology in the movie. One being the live picture showing of a man talking. I thought this was interesting because they didn't have this back when the movie was being made. What they don't know is that we would end up having this now and it would be used to talk to people far away.

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  6. H.G. Wells’ movie, Things to Come, reminds me of A Canticle of Leibowitz because it seems to be divided into three parts: before the war, during the war, and after the war. The first part shows how people are before the war and how they react to the thought of war approaching. The second section portrays a world where technology does not exist and the land is currently run by a chief. The last part depicts how the land is transformed after the death of the chief and shows the world progressing, a new world. It shows a world where people live underground and illnesses such as the common cold do not exist, and one in which preparations are being made to send a man and woman into space; this is similar to A Canticle of Leibowitz in which some of the monks depart from Earth. In the end, a rebellion is forming, all thanks to a sculptor, because he does not like how the world is progressing and misses how life once was. I find it rather ironic that the only reason the sculptor is able to get his message across to the world in order to promote the rebellion is by using the so-called technology which he is fighting against. His rebellion tries to destroy the spaceship but fails. I actually like the movie. I find myself asking a lot of questions. The movie really gives me a sense of how war can change people and also asks a lot of what if questions. I began to think that if a war was bad enough and technology was lost would we really end up like they did. How would we start all over? Would the world become an endless loop of war, loss of technology, progress, and then back to war again? Is there ever a way to make everyone happy? (Amanda Lussier)

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  7. This movie surprised me. I wouldn't expect a movie from the 1930s to be so advanced. I thought the special effects and just over all imagination was impressive. I associated Things to Come with the television show Futurama. They both have similar properties, but unlike Futurama, Things to Come didn't involve other planets or aliens. I think the title of the movie is foreshadowing and ironic. When I first heard we were watching Things to Come, I could only think of the future and things to come in the future. Again, I was impressed by the advancement of this movie and that the creators were able to come up with such futuristic things.
    Cherie Smith

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  8. This movie was interesting as it showed what Wells thought the future had in store. The accuracy of knowing a war like WW2 was approaching is eerie and makes one forget that this movie was actually made before! I also think the three part structure of the film gave it great depth and kept me entertained as viewer. I enjoyed how the three pieces allowed the future to be shown step by step. This movie was not just a glimpse into the future but instead a full exploration in stages. Going all the way to 2036 was very interesting as by that time progress is being protested and if Wells was right before then it leaves one with thoughts about progress. Overall the movie was intriguing and allowed for thoughts of the past as well as future to dawn on me. I was able to think about the perceived future and apply my own futuristic thoughts to 2036 while enjoying the movie and wondering how right Wells will be about 20 years from now.

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  9. This movie surprised me in many ways. Because it is a movie of the 1930's, I did not expect it to be so advanced as it was, and also how I got a different feel from what I would think the people in 1930's would imagine things than how they did in the book. I also liked the set up of the movie. It was set up in 3 different parts, in each of the parts it was basically step by step of how they were going to build the future. It went step by step all the way to the year 2036, that was definitely a plus to me because it didn't just show a glimpse of the future but it went step by step and showed us how technology advanced, or what our future could possibly be like. Another point that stuck with me was, it shows how a war can change a whole lifestyle of everybody in the world, with one major change comes with a whole new beginning of life.

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  10. This movie was way ahead of its own time. i thought the affects on the movie were very well done and although yes very dated. However the ideas in the movie such as the WW2 was almost mind boggling. It was almost odd that this movie was made before the war. The fact that the movie was spilt into 3 parts made it easier to watch. It wasn't my favorite movie, however this made it better for understanding, following along and viewing. Overall it was interesting and some points did make me think of the book and pick up on some related points. Overall the movie was't my favorites among the ones we watched but it was not my least favorite.
    (Gabrielle Demers)

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  11. Things to come and A Canticle of Leibowitz both have 3 different time settings. The first time setting is before the war, the people prepare to celebrate Christmas rumors and rumblings of war. They're either too fearful to think about the risks, or so pleased with business conditions that they're oblivious to the downside of war. After 30 years, the war goes on, except that there are no more nations to fight it.One day, out of the sky comes a plane of which they've never seen before, shiny and fast, and piloted by a mysterious man who Rudolph orders imprisoned. It is John Cabal just older but just as dedicated to the cause of peace, and ready to fight for it. They end up attacking this Space Gun, while Cabal struggles to beat them to their objective and take the next bold step into space. I believe that the story line was pretty logical and powerful and the actors did really good playing there part. It was definitely weird knowing that the movie happened before the war even happened. This wasn't my favorite film because it was a little corny but I like how it showed what could of been a real possibility. (Jaimee Barrett)

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  12. As previously said above, Things to Come was similar to the Canticle of Liebowitz by being separated into three different parts. Things to Come is based on Well's thoughts and ideas before the wars and his predictions on what the world would be without the war. Well's also adds his predictions on technology in the film, which was amazing to me. Our world is technology driven and for Well's to have predicted some of our advances way before hand, is crazy. (Amanda Belluscio)

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  13. Watching the film Things to Come I could see the similarities that it had to A Canticle of Leibowitz. Both the film and book and 3 different settings, but Things to Come was based on H.G. Wells predictions of what the world would be before wars and how it would be if the world didn’t have wars. He also predicts what the technology world would be like. For example he made the prediction of flying cars and a world without illnesses. The movie caught my attention with how Wells saw the future and made me think if it was possible to have a life with flying cars and no illnesses along with many more improvements to the world. (Kelsey Wood)

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  14. This story was very interesting actually. It was so crazy to even think about. I must say, H.G Wells has one imagination. The story showed what is was like in the past, the present and also the future. It showed the differences on what things were like to what things would turn out to be, hence the name "Things To Come". I find it really interesting to see the way H.G Wells predicted certain things such as there being no such thing as an illness and the children taking "illness" as a joke because they don't believe in it. Then again, if you think about where we are in society today, people claim and have research and proof that dinosaurs in fact existed at some point in time a long time ago. However, a lot of people may laugh about it and say "there's no such thing as dinosaurs." And maybe they're right, there may not be any existing dinosaurs today, but at some point there was. Maybe that's how H.G Wells predicted the whole "illness does not exist" theory for the future. It's all about evolution. Who knows maybe we will find some kind of permanent cure or some kind of injection that would need to be given to every human on this planet as soon as they are born to never become sick. Or perhaps maybe over time, human bodies may not be able to get sick of all due to evolution and our bodies adapt to the environment. Maybe there would also be flying cars in the future, I mean we have airplanes and jets and helicopters, so why not flying cars also!? The Jetsons had flying cars on their show! Maybe it'll be here soon! Also, as far as technology, people back then also didn't believe that there would never be such thing as technology such as phones, computers, the internet. To them all of that was a big joke because it didn't exist yet. Never say never! I like the way H.G Wells thinks, especially with his predictions, it makes sense. (Samantha Nunes)

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  15. This story was very pleasing and progressive for its time. It was really nice to read that people that lived so long ago had high hopes of such an advanced time. The flying cars was a great idea, but its pretty far fetched for our time. We have been able to design and create cars that drive themselves and that's amazing. Also, when the author was writing about there being no illness, it would be wonderful, but I think the government makes it impossible. I feel like if the world ever was able to cure illnesses, the government would hide it from the public because they make so much money off of the fundraising to still work on finding one. Its nice that people who lived so long ago still had such progressive thoughts because it sparks possibilities and new ideas for innovative technology. People already rely on technology way too much and I cant help but think people are going to get more and more helpless.

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  16. This wasn’t my favorite film so far. The story plot itself was solid, since it was a HG Wells tale. I think i would enjoy this more as a novel than the movie. The film seemed choppy. Like one scene they are set in one time period then the film jumps a decade. It took me a second to realize that Cabal was the same man aged a couple of years. There were many times in this movie where i really couldn’t take it seriously because of the so called special effects. Do have to give it credit that even though it was made in the 30s, it still ironic to have a futuristic movie look so rudimentary.
    (Cindy Xon)

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  17. I didn't enjoy this film. I remember being in class and almost falling asleep. It was not interesting . It was very hard to keep up with. The different settings were confusing to me and I can imagine the effect it had on my classmates and other viewers. The only thing i found interesting was how in the future they thought we would have certain technology advances like where is my Flying Car???

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  18. I think that it was an interesting film. The themes were great too, like a before during and after sort of layout. we were able to see what was going on before the war and how life was for everyone and then what the war would be like and how it would change how everyone lived. Then what life would be like afterwards, the struggle or progress that the war created for people. I loved the idea that children born in the future wouldn't get sick and can't get a cold. Personally (having a 2 year old) when a child has a cold it really changes their daily routine. Like my daughter has a cold right now and she is unbelievably cranky, if she could never get a cold again, it would be too soon! The other idea that there is no illness is amazing, wouldn't it be great to live in a world were we had cures for everything and in-between? But if they can have cures for every illness in the world then why don't we already have hover-crafts and flying cars?! I'm 20 years old I thought I'd have a jetpack back pack by now!
    (K.Overly)

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  19. his movie Was one of the only sci-fi movies of the thirties. I think H. G. Wells' story of Things To Come was probably much better than this movie. Most of the film is montage of footage of so-called future wars and the progress of mankind, which got really boring after a while. in between that, there are three stories of how war and violence are destroying the world, and the last story doesn't end any different from the other two. It does have good special effects, but other than that it wasnt really a good movie and I didn't enjoy it that much..

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