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Beyond the Time Barrier

3.3 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

(1959) Robert Clarke, Darlene Tompkins, Aranne Arden, Vladimir Solokoff, directed By Edgar G Ulmer. A jet pilot from the 20th century breaks through a time barrier in the sky to find himself on a post-World War III Earth, menaced by mutants and a deadly virus. 16mm.

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Product Details

  • Directors: Sinister Cinema
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Studio: Sinister Cinema
  • DVD Release Date: July 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003XF1VUC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,343 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 23, 2010
Format: DVD
Filmed concurrently with The Amazing Transparent Man, Beyond the Time Barrier is a decent little time travel film that has largely been forgotten since its release in 1960. Director Edgar G. Ulmer was able to shoot most of the film in the Texas Centennial Exhibition Fair Park buildings and a nearby military airfield, wrapping up the entire shoot in a mere 10 days. Robert Clarke produced as well as starred in the movie as an Air Force test pilot who accidentally journeys 64 years into the future to find a largely desolate world where the remnants of mankind have divided into two enemy factions, with the more advanced, underground city-dwellers on perpetual guard against the dangerous mutants who still live topside. Yes, the plot does sound a little bit like a well-known H.G. Wells story, and that's precisely why this film, shot in late 1959, was not released until July 1960, mere weeks before the much-anticipated The Time Machine hit theatres (there's nothing like borrowing the publicity that someone else is already paying for). Like many science fiction films of the 1950s, Beyond the Time Barrier does have a bit of an anti-nuke agenda, but I must say it presents this message in a slightly different and rather effective manner.

The film opens with Major William Allison (Robert Clarke) taking the super-nifty new X-80 aircraft on what is essentially a sub-orbital spin, unleashing the full power of the specially-designed rocket engine at the unprecedented height of 500,000 feet. During the test, he loses contact with mission control and gets hit with a cheesy special effect, but he still manages to return to base successfully. Upon arrival, though, he is beyond perplexed to find what should be a bustling Air Force base totally abandoned and in an advanced state of decay.
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Very cheap movie from the 50s, but very effectivly wierd and eerie! A test pilot takes off on a run and lands at the same airbase he took off from, but the the buildings are all abandoned and dilapidated. He's in the future, and finds everyone living in a citadel. The men are impotent and women can read minds. He is selected to mate with a healthy woman, who happens to be mute, to continue the human race.
There are a bunch of crazy mutants held prisoner, who escape and the pilot has to try to get back to his jet before others destroy it and escape back to the past.
Cool futuristic sets and and bizarre ambience.
While cheap, it's not bad the way "Plan 9" is. Interesting time travel flick from the perspective of the 50s.
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First Impressions & the DVD: Beyond the Time Barrier was on point as a fairly substandard film put together by Alpha Video, a company in my experience which does little to clean up an original film and just slaps it on a DVD.

When you open the DVD it shows a drop down list for the logo, a trailer and the film itself. Pretty cheaply put together.

And the quality of the film is fairly bad, a high contrast black & white print. I've seen much better quality black & white films from this era 1960.

Story and Plot:

The acting was pretty routine and the story, though it had some interesting points to make here and there, was fairly cardboard and uninteresting.

A man takes a flight to near space and accidentally goes into a time warp, ending up on Earth 67 years later, in the year 2024. It takes the guy forever to figure out that he is in the future despite all evidence. He's even asked point blank "Do you know what year this is?" and he says "What does that have to do with it, of course I do!"

Despite the slow thinking jet pilot, there are some bright spots in this story. We have the mutants and the sterilized humans, many of them deaf mutes, brought on by a plague that hit the Earth in the 1970s and wiped out half the population, with many escaping to colonies on Mars and Venus.

I thought the whole "plague from outer space" thing and the fact that numerous atom bomb tests destroyed the layer protecting us from "cosmic rays" was a bit far-fetched. On the other hand we do have the current ozone layer problem, so maybe not!

Darlene Tompkins plays the deaf mute girl, the few who are fertile, and she wants to make it with the astronaut, played clumsily by Robert Clarke.
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Edgar G. Ulmer's "Beyond the Time Barrier" is still one of the best little science fiction films ever made and is as relevent today as it was when it first came out. Filmed in black and white, the film makes creative use of simple geometric shapes to depict a not-too-distant apocalyptic future. Our test pilot hero Robert Clarke leaves his base one morning and an hour later returns to the same base, except he finds himself in the future. He falls in love with pretty Darlene Tompkins, is menaced by sly villainess Aranne Arden (Ulmer's real life daughter) and is tutored by wise Vladimir Solokoff who, as a veteran actor, adds cred to proceedings. "Beyond the Time Barrier" questions the rate of human progress and how we use technology. One day it would be great to see all Ulmer's films released on DVD with commentaries and interviews. "Beyond the Time Barrier" in particular deserves this treatment.
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