Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Morlocks of "The Time Machine"

Today's Monster Memories are of:
The Morlocks from George Pal's "The Time Machine"
(click on images to view full size)

George Pal's "The Time Machine," released in 1960, is my all-time favorite movie. Sure, there are others up there high on the list, jockeying for position in my mind, but this tops them all. I first saw it in 1971 when it showed on a local TV channel where I lived in Ft. Lauderdale, FL at the time. I was 13, and was lucky enough to have a small black and white TV in my room in the house we rented. It was that Saturday afternoon's movie on "Adventure Theater" which I usually tried to catch. It showed the type of films that today you might find categorized in the DVD aisle under "Action," which covers a large territory, but then including sci-fi and fantasy.

I was entranced, and afterward was floating on a "movie high" for the rest of the day. There was just something about it that was truly special, and has remained so in my mind ever since. The Morlocks were truly scary, not only visually, but because they were cannibals... although technically they only ate the Eloi and not their own kind, arguably being no longer human.

After that single viewing, I had no opportunity to see it again for nearly 12 years. Then, I found it on a local library film list, where you could order a 16mm movie and check it out along with a projector. That I did, and had my two young nephews down for a movie night as I showed it on a sheet pinned to the wall. Seeing it in large format, in color, was even more exciting. I plugged the projector audio output to my stereo system and we had speakers on either side of the screen, so along with the popcorn we popped, it was almost like a theater! They loved it too, but the youngest, only about 8 at the time, got scared when the Morlocks were threatening the Eloi in the underground near the end. I couldn't blame him, it was pretty intense!

The climatic scene has our hero George taking on the Morlocks in their own territory to rescue Weena and the other Eloi, and Indiana Jones had nothing on him! He leaps from rock to rock, swinging on poles to kick the creatures, pummeling them with his fists and swinging their own whips at them! He was truly a great action hero.
The score, by Russell Garcia, is a truly memorable one, and is a soundtrack I often take out of my CD shelf and put on while working. The special effects by Pal were wonderful, adding to the charm of the film. The stop-motion and time-lapse effects to show the rapid passage of the ages, and the design of the time machine itself, were magical.
But make no mistake... the best effect the movie had to be Yvette Mimieux, the waifish and innocently sexy Weena. She was my first true crush, and I fell in love with her on sight. My heart still beats faster on seeing her in the movie, all these years later. She's truly beautiful in a pixie-ish way, and between her and Anne Francis, barefoot has never looked more appealing.

The romantic angle was played up heavily in the promotional shots such as these, but on film it was prettry much a chaste affair; they never even kissed, but came close to it. Perhaps all this snuggling is what happened when George got back to 802,701 at the end of the film. I think one of the three books he took back must have been a sex manual!

Oh, George, you lucky dog you!

Every New Year's Eve I take out this movie and watch it, as a personal tradition. Since the movie itself happens over the course of a New Year celebration, it seems fitting, and a great way to enjoy the film on a regular basis without watching it too often. Since tonight is New Year's Eve, I plan on taking out the DVD and watching it about 9 PM. I look forward to it all over again!



KingsSideCastle said...

Nice to see someone appreciates Classic movies!! Weena is definitely hot.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful site! Many thanks.