It’s New Year’s Eve 1899 in a house in England and Rod Taylor announces to his guests that he believes that time is the fourth dimension. A lively debate is held and then Taylor shows his guest a miniature machine that he sends into time. His guests dismiss it as a trick but they agree to meet for dinner in a week’s time.
Taylor has invented a time machine. It can move through time but not space so the machine is always in one place while the world ages around them. Taylor uses the machine and travels to 1917 where he discovers that the world is at war.
Taylor moves forward in time to 1940 in the midst of another world war. He flees that time into the future and stops in 1966 where a nuclear war is happening. Taylor makes his escape but him and the time machine become encased in lava and travel further into time until the hardened rock erodes. Taylor finally stops in the year 802,701 and that’s where the movie really begins.
Taylor discovers a race of humans called Eloi. They are all quite passive and unresponsive to Taylor’s constant questioning. He saves a woman named Weena (Yvette Mimieux) from drowning and befriends her. He then discovers that his machine has been moved into a locked temple shaped like a sphinx and that there is another group of beings that are living beneath Earth’s surface. The Morlocks.
George Pal had produced and adapted another H.G. Wells story, War of the Worlds in 1953 but this time Pal didn’t just produce he also directed the movie. The movie changes a few things from Wells book. It adds WWI and WWII to the story and it also gives the time traveler a name, something he didn’t have in the book. Here Pal names the character after H.G. Wells, H.George Wells. The movie won an Oscar for best effects and a mediocre remake was made in 2002 by H.G. Wells’ grandson. The 1960 film is a classic.