I watched an enjoyable science fiction film from 1936 called “Things to Come.” William Cameron Menzies directed the film, which stars Raymond Massey, Ralph Richardson and Margaretta Scott. Since H. G. Wells wrote the screenplay from his own story, the dialogue seems stilted and preachy, and it doesn’t help that the actors deliver the lines so theatrically. But the compelling special effects, especially in the early war scenes, and the futuristic set designs of Vincent Korda for his vision of the 21st century make the visuals the most important aspect of the drama.
The story concerns a series of wars and pestilence outbreaks (“the wandering sickness”) that plague mankind until a utopian society restores the world order through advanced technology and a “sleeping gas” attack. The population of “Everytown,” awakened into a new political structure with no countries or despotic rulers, develop a new society dedicated to progress and exploration of the universe. Wells’ screenplay continues the grand speeches until the end, but Menzies and Korda delight us with their fantastic visions of the future. Things to Come is a science fiction classic.