“Things to Come” it’s a science fiction film of 1936 directed by William Cameron Menzies and based on the novel “The Shape of Things to Come” by H.G. Wells. The film explores the future of humanity through three different eras: War, Reconstruction and Rebirth.
In the first part of the film, set in 1940, the world is at war and the conflict has now lasted for thirty years. The city of Everytown (a kind of metaphorical representation of the British industrial city) has been destroyed by bombs and the survivors live in a primitive and post-apocalyptic world. The main character, John Cabal (played by Raymond Massey), tries to convince the inhabitants of the city to try to rebuild civilization.
In the second part of the film, set in 1970, the city of Everytown has been rebuilt and society has achieved a kind of peace and prosperity, but it is still far from perfect. The city is threatened by an imminent war, but the protagonist tries to persuade the people to seek peace and international cooperation.
In the third part of the film, set in 2036, society has reached a high degree of technology and prosperity, and the city of Everytown has become a center of innovation and progress. The now elderly main character observes the changing society and reflects on his life and his hopes for the future.
The film has a strong pacifist message and focuses on the theme of technology and progress, showing how international cooperation and scientific research can lead to the advancement of human civilization. “Things to Come” was one of the first films to feature a dystopian future and influenced many later works of science fiction.
The plot of “Things to Come” unfolds through three different eras: the war, the reconstruction and the rebirth.
In the first part of the film, set in 1940, the world is at war and the conflict has now lasted for thirty years. The city of Everytown has been destroyed by bombs and the survivors live in a primitive and post-apocalyptic world. The main character, John Cabal, tries to convince the inhabitants of the city to try to rebuild civilization, but is met with resistance from a group of rebels who oppose his plan to rebuild.
In the second part of the film, set in 1970, the city of Everytown has been rebuilt and society has achieved a kind of peace and prosperity, but it is still far from perfect. The city is threatened by an imminent war, but the protagonist tries to persuade the people to seek peace and international cooperation. John Cabal confronts Theotocopulos, a dictator who wants to lead the city towards a new destructive war. Eventually, the Cabal and his allies manage to stop the war and establish a new peaceful order.
In the third part of the film, set in 2036, society has reached a high degree of technology and prosperity, and the city of Everytown has become a center of innovation and progress. The now elderly main character observes the changing society and reflects on his life and his hopes for the future. Ultimately, Cabal concludes that scientific and technological progress must be accompanied by profound human understanding, in order to ensure a just and peaceful society for future generations.
The main characters of the film “Things to Come” include:
John Cabal: The film’s protagonist, played by Raymond Massey, is a man who seeks to lead human civilization to a better future through science and technology.
Oswald Cabal: Brother of John, played by Cedric Hardwicke, he is a political leader who seeks to create a new world order through force and control.
Theotocopulos: A dictator who tries to bring Everytown into a new destructive war, played by Ralph Richardson.
Roxana: A friend of John, played by Margaretta Scott, who helps him in the fight for peace and the reconstruction of society.
Pippa Passworthy: A sweetheart of John in the first part of the film, played by Anne Todd.
Raymond Passworthy: Pippa’s husband, played by Edward Chapman, is a man trying to modernize and industrialize the city.
The boss: The leader of the rebels who oppose the reconstruction of Everytown in the first part of the film, played by Maurice Braddell.
These characters represent different ideologies and viewpoints on the direction human civilization should go and how it should be governed.
“Things to Come” is a 1936 science fiction film, directed by William Cameron Menzies and based on a novel by H.G. Wells entitled “The Shape of Things to Come”. The production of the film was entrusted to London Film Productions, the production company founded by Alexander Korda.
The film was produced on a large budget for the time, around £350,000, and employed around 2000 extras. The film took almost a year to make, with filming taking place from June 1935 to May 1936.
Director Menzies, also known as an expert production designer, worked to create a unique visual style for the film, using models and miniatures to depict the destroyed city and futuristic buildings of the future. The use of innovative special effects for the time, such as the front projection technique, made the film a cornerstone of the science fiction genre.
The cast of the film was made up of very talented British actors, including Raymond Massey, Cedric Hardwicke, Ralph Richardson and Margaretta Scott. The soundtrack was composed by Arthur Bliss.
The film premiered at London’s Regal Cinema in Marble Arch in February 1936, before being released worldwide. “Things to Comereceived positive critical reception, and had a lasting impact on popular culture, inspiring other science fiction films and influencing the genre at large.
Distribution and Reception
The film “Things to Comepremiered at the Regal Cinema in Marble Arch in London on February 17, 1936, before being released in British cinemas on April 20 of the same year. The film was a great commercial success and gained wide international distribution .
Critics received the film positively, praising its innovative special effects, vision of the future and gripping storyline. In particular, many critics have praised the futuristic city’s design, which has been described as “visionary” and “revolutionary”. However, some critics have expressed criticism of the actors’ performances and the plot, which was judged too didactic in some places.
Despite these criticisms,”Things to Come” has become a classic of the science fiction genre and an influential landmark in the cinema history. The film inspired many other science fiction films and influenced popular culture for decades, with its visionary future having a lasting impact on perceptions of technology and science. Today, the film is considered one of director William Cameron Menzies’ masterpieces and a landmark of 1930s science fiction cinema.
The style of the film “Things to Comewas created by director William Cameron Menzies, who was also known as an expert production designer. The film has a gloomy and desolate atmosphere, particularly in the first part of the film, which takes place during a destructive world war.
In the second part of the film, set in the distant future, the city of Everytown has been rebuilt and features a futuristic and modern design, with large Art Deco buildings and wide, clean streets. The design of the futuristic city was innovative for its time and influenced the visual representation of the future in many subsequent films.
The film also uses innovative techniques for the time, such as front projection, to create extraordinary visual effects, such as the flight of space ships and the explosion of rockets. The score composed by Arthur Bliss was also innovative for its time, using electronic instruments to create futuristic sound effects.
The style of the film “Things to Comewas highly influential in the science fiction genre and inspired many subsequent films. The futuristic city design in particular has been used in many other films, television shows, and video games, demonstrating the importance of film in depicting the future in popular culture .
William Cameron Menzies, born in 1896 in New York City and died in 1957 in Los Angeles, was an American film director, set designer and producer. He was one of the pioneers in the field of production design and worked on many successful films of the 1920’s and 30’s including ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘The Thief of Bagdad’.
Menzies was one of the first to use the term “art direction” to describe his approach to filmmaking, which relied on creating a unique visual style for each film. He worked closely with the directors to create innovative production designs and often supervised the implementation of every aspect of the production.
Menzies’ work as a director was influenced by his experience as a production designer and showed his attention to detail and the creation of imaginary worlds. His style was characterized by an innovative use of camera techniques and a strong focus on visual composition.
“Things to Comewas the first film Menzies directed and also wrote it, inspired by the novel by H.G. Wells. The film was a critical and commercial success and established Menzies as a talented filmmaker in the science fiction genre. innovative and his attention to detail influenced the science fiction genre and cinema in general, and his work was recognized with an Academy Award for best production design for the film “Gone with the Wind”.