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Things to Come [Blu-ray]

4.1 out of 5 stars 183 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A landmark collaboration between writer H. G. Wells (Island of Lost Souls), producer Alexander Korda (The Thief of Bagdad), and designer and director William Cameron Menzies (Gone with the Wind), Things to Come is a science fiction film like no other, a prescient political work that predicts a century of turmoil and progress. Skipping through time, Things to Come bears witness to world war, dictatorship, disease, the rise of television, and finally, utopia. Conceived, written, and overseen by Wells himself as an adaptation of his own work, this megabudgeted production, the most ambitious ever from Korda’s London Films, is a triumph of imagination and technical audacity.

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Audio commentary featuring film historian and writer David Kalat
  • Interview with writer and cultural historian Christopher Frayling on the film’s design
  • Film historian Bruce Eder on Arthur Bliss’s musical score
  • Audio recording from 1936 of a reading from H. G. Wells’s writing about the “wandering sickness,” the plague in Things to Come
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien
  • More!

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman, Ralph Richardson, Margaretta Scott
    • Directors: William Cameron Menzies
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Widescreen
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      NR
      Not Rated
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: June 18, 2013
    • Run Time: 97 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00BX49BAC
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,127 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Daniel P. Smith on February 2, 2002
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    UPDATE: These first notes refer specifically to the Criterion Collection DVD Edition, Spine #660.

    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 ›
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    By A Customer on October 15, 2000
    Format: VHS Tape
    I have loved "Things To Come for over twenty years and have taught it in my classes. It is slow and talky for many viewers, but it is also indisputably a great film---in fact, with "2001: A Space Odyssey" and a few others, it is that rarest of works: a genuine, serious science fiction movie.
    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.
    Comment 77 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    Two stars for the film print used on this DVD -- but FIVE STARS for the original film itself. The film "Things To Come" has been called cold, distant, intellectually contrived ... but it is truly one of the most remarkable early films, predicting the rise of savior technology from the ashes of terrible world wars. Like "Contact," "Things to Come" explores the Cartesian division between science and faith, exploring the schism between universal technology and provincial tribalism. Its views of the perfect technocracy of 2036 must be viewed in the context of the 1936 film, but it also weirdly echoes today's "information age" progress. It is most unfortunate that this great film is so badly marred in this DVD edition by such a terrible print. Much of the sound is muffled; the brightness of the print pulsates perceptably; and even the famous ending (the last, wordless, mouthed line) is cut because the film print on which it was taken was tattered. Do NOT waste your money on even this inexpensive version. It is a shame that people -- especially young people who may never have seen this masterpiece -- will view this marred version. DVD companies should stop rushing into production the worst of these film prints! and only produce the finest -- "all or nothing, which shall it be?..."
    1 Comment 70 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    By A Customer on April 25, 2000
    Format: DVD
    Having seen Things To Come on VHS, I looked forward to buying it on DVD. When I received it, however, the reproduction was so poor as to render it essentially unviewable. In the initial scenes the images are so murky that I was often unable to make out the faces of the principal characters. I only knew who was speaking because I'd seen the movie before. In all scenes the image is extremely fuzzy, looking exactly like the background when a camera is tightly focused on a face in the foreground. Sadly then, this DVD is worthless and you should wait for a better version. Note that the movie itself is a science-fiction classic, and ought to be seen by anyone interested in the part of the genre that was not usually shown in drive-ins. Note carefully, however, that most of the reviews are based on the VHS version, not the DVD. These reviews of course give no hint of the unacceptably low technical quality of the current DVD release. Just as an aside, I hope I'm not one of those people who spots a speck of dust and declares the room filthy. I'm actually being kind to the folks who made this DVD!
    4 Comments 91 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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