Review: ‘Things to Come’

This is England's first $1 million picture. It's an impressive but dull exposition of a bad dream.

This is England’s first $1 million picture. It’s an impressive but dull exposition of a bad dream.

H.G. Wells’ idea is that in 1946 there will be a new and disastrous world war. It will last for 30 years and, at the end of that time, civilization will be reduced to nothingness, disease having scourged the world. In exile a group of engineers and aviators, however, think things over and decide that the ravages and wastes of war, properly harnessed and channeled, can be used for the world’s salvation.

They take things over, do away with the petty little fascistic countries that have sprung up, do away with their petty little fascistic leaders, and create a new world of steel and glass, radio and television, artificial light and heat. It is all very pictorial, very imaginative, very artificial and it runs on and on.

William Cameron Menzies directs with a firm hand and even manages to inject some power into the fantasy. Where his characters are allowed to live, he sees to it that they also breathe. Georges Perinal’s photography is tops. Garlands are also due Harry Zech for trick photography and Ned Mann for special effects.

Raymond Massey is tops as John Cabal, leader of the new world. Ralph Richardson does a splendid job as the Boss, a sort of combo Hitler-Mussolini.

Things to Come



London. Director William Cameron Menzies; Producer Alexander Korda; Screenplay H.G. Wells; Camera Georges Perinal; Editor William Hornbeck, Charles Crichton, Francis Lyon; Music Arthur Bliss; Art Director Vincent Korda


(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1936. Running time: 97 MIN.


Raymond Massey Cedric Hardwicke Edward Chapman Ralph Richardson Margaretta Scott Maurice Braddell
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