Delightful experience ... an enchanting adaptation and materialization of H. G. Wells' provocative novel ... in utilizing contemporary knowledge to update Wells durable novel, scenarist David Duncan has brought the work into modern focus ... the social comment of the original has been historically refined to encompass such plausible eventualities as the physical manifestation of atomic war weapons. But the basic spirit of Wells's work has not been lost ... Pal's direction can be faulted only for its pace ... things slow down to a walk when Rod Taylor arrives at the year 802,701 ... but in every other way, both in conception (as producer) and interpretation (as director), Pal has done a remarkable job ... with this portrayal, Taylor definitely establishes himself as one of the premium young talents on today's screen. His performance is a gem of straightforwardness, with just the proper sensitivity and animation. A standout in support is Alan Young. Miss Mimieux is well cast. Innocent vacancy gleams beautifully in her eyes ... the film owes more than is customary to departmental crafts and skills such as Paul C. Vogel's first rate lensing and, particularly, George Tomasini's meticulously intricate editing. An absolutely essential contribution is the fascinating special photographic effects, in particular the unforgettable impressions of nature-on-the-move during the time machine transition passages.
-- 'Tube' 7/20/60
The New York Times
A somewhat happier view of the future than H. G. Wells was moved to provide in his now classic science-fiction thriller ... Unquestionably, the story is a little rosier than that of Mr. Wells, and certainly George Pal's production and direction are rosier. Color, the boon of science-fiction, lends exciting hues to everything from Victorian wine glasses to the Morlocks' green flashing eyes. There is a familiar polish and burnish about this film. But the drama, for all its invention, is creaky and a bit passť. (Apparently there has still been no contact with other planets in 800,000 A.D.). And the mood, while delicately wistful, is not so flippant or droll as it might be in a fiction as fanciful and flighty as this one naturally is ... Rod Taylor, Alan Young and Yvette Mimieux prove that actors are actors, no matter when.
-- Bosley Crowther 8/18/60
"The Time Machine" deserves a place on the very short list of good science-fiction films partly because its hokum is entrancing, its special effects expertly rigged and its monsters sufficiently monstrous. But the picture's major virtue is that its human characters are compounded not of green cheese or ground-up Dracula scripts, as is customary in such ventures, but of flesh, blood and imagination.
"The Time Machine" has been skillfully brought to the screen by George Pal, long a specialist intricate cinematic effects. Happily, Mr. Pal has considerably more to offer than simply a diverting bag of tricks; for Wells' extraordinary novel, written in 1895, raised the philosophical question 'Can man control his own destiny?' and answered it with a resounding affirmative ... the cast is modest and competent; the effects are eye-filling; and the time machine itself, a glowing bit of art nouveau knickknackery, bears the appropriate inscription on its control panel, 'Patented by H. George Wells.'"
-- Arthur Knight 7/23/60
The New York Herald Tribune
Lots of fun ... even if the trip to H. G. Wells' future ends in disappointment, getting there is half the fun ... the time machine itself is worth seeing, a delightful gadget with a red velvet seat, a crystal control knob and the technical sophistication of an Egyptian solar boat ... unfortunately, the movie degenerates into a conventional horror story in which monsters drip conventional gore. Until the nasty Morlocks come along, "The Time Machine" is an engrossing piece of science-fiction, carrying the familiar Wellsian message that men do not learn from their history ... the time traveler is played intelligently by Rod Taylor ... Alan Young plays two parts with great good humor, and Miss Mimieux is attractive as the vapid Eloi damsel. The future holds no answer, however, to the question of whether she can act.
-- Joe Morgenstern 8/18/60
Don Brockway, December 25, 2002 (updated October 12, 2004)
Read H. G. Wells's review from 1927 on the film Metropolis
Read the contemporary reviews of Simon Wells's movie The Time Machine (2002)
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