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Things to Come [Blu-ray]
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I'm not a cineaste or a film historian, just someone who saw the movie in a theatre in the 1960s and wanted to see it again. I am pleased to say that FINALLY we have a DVD edition that has good picture quality, worthy of the phrase "restored." I submitted negative reviews of two earlier DVDs that look like they were made from bad 16mm prints: contrasty, grainy, blurry, and flickery. The best way I can describe this one is to say that it is good enough--it recaptures my memory of the theatre experience. Obviously Criterion did some hard work, and obviously they must have had to piece together footage from different sources. It's very noticeable, for example, that all scene transitions retain the "grainy old 16mm look" for several seconds. Even the "good" parts look grainy in freeze-frame; I don't own a BluRay player but I suspect that BluRay wouldn't be much better.
But it's good enough. Some of the most memorable sequences, notably the flight of the "Basra bombers" and the "Building of the New City" sequence, now have the visual power I remember.
The good image brings out everything, including the movie's many flaws. It also reveals a lot of variation in the quality of the special effects. Many of which are really darn good, while others--the aircraft and spacecraft in particular--look like they are made of plywood.
It's a pity that the sound isn't better, but I don't remember the sound as being very good in 1960, either. This was optical sound of the 1930s and it's the way I remember optical sound as being. Not hi-fi. According to the commentary this movie was a pioneer in the use of dense, symphonic music.Read more ›
However, be warned. Most of the public domain prints out there are simply horrible, as many of the reviews on this page attest. I have viewed numerous prints of this film and had long ago given up hope of ever seeing the movie in anything resembling reasonable condition---and then came the Englewood Entertainment video, with its glorious "neon" packaging. The picture has been cleaned up a good deal, and is much less shaky and spliced than other versions;but the glory of this edition is the soundtrack. Major work has been done here, eliminating hiss and pops and rendering the dialogue easily comprehensible for the first time in my lifetime and revealing the fully rich beauty of Arthur Bliss's magnificent score. You simply have not seen "Things To Come" until you've seen the Englewood print!
Perhaps someday the British will take it upon themselves to restore "Things To Come" to its full glory, with a complete 113-minute print (the Englewood is the standard 90-or-so minutes).That will be a great day for fans of science fiction film. But until then, Englewood has rendered a tremendous service to lovers of this movie. Get it. Cherish it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great movie for its time it's as good as I remember when I first saw it.Published 3 days ago by Michael Helm
I like old movies. & I like old sci-fi. This piece of film reminds of the futility of war & how it can break down society as we know it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Roland Paquette
THINGS TO COME [1936 / 2012] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] A Mighty Challenge To The World! Sweeping Across The Screen 100 Year Ahead of Its Time! Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
THINGS TO COME (Dir. William Cameron Menzies, 1936, 88 minutes, original black/white version) is based on H. G. Wells' novel THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Hui Shen ben Israel
This was a tremendously ambitious project. Once could say that it is three movies in one, but it is likely that at the time the connection between the then current world events... Read morePublished 7 months ago by El Gomitas
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