Things To Come… a vintage post-apocalyptic film.

I remember my first vision of the apocalypse being the old black and white film Things to Come.  It had been on television and I think I was just about four or five years old at the time.  This would have been in the early 70’s.  I distinctly remember scenes from it portraying the devastation of some final world war.

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Although there were only a few scenes that I could remember, it wasn’t until I got to the age of seven or so than my parents started feeding my love for all things science fiction (this was, of course, highly influenced by Star Wars and being that magical age where one looks up at the sky at night, trying to find a Blockade Runner being chased down by a Star Destroyer).

They had gotten me a book, Sci-Fi Now by Alan Frank when I was eight years old.  This was back in 1978 and it was yet another influence that fired my lust for scifi.  It covers a span of ten years – 1968-1978.  It still sits on my bookshelf…

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  It was when looking through it  that I discovered Things To Come.  Something was triggered when I saw those black and white photos.  It would be a couple of decades before I was able to get it on DVD and spend countless hours watching it.  Over and over….

Just such an amazing story and film.  The movie opens on Christmas day, 1940 in “Everytown”, England.   With “war and rumors of war” being discussed amongst the festivities, the night ends with bombs and global war…

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The movie flashes forward to the 1960’s.  A time in which people are still fighting, but no longer remember what they are fighting about.  Society has entered a dark age and men have risen to power by sheer force to become “warlords”…

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In 1970, Everytown has become ruled by a warlord, or “Boss”.  A man that rules by an iron hand.  In the mid ’60’s there comes a plague, the “Wandering Sickness” that claimed half of the world’s population.  The Boss has ordered all those infected to be shot on sight.

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Ultimately, he is conquered by “Wings Over the World”, the last surviving band of “engineers and mechanics” who have renounced war and outlawed independent nations…

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After this, we see a montage of rebuilding, showing decades of progress.  Giant machines building a new “Everytown” underground.  The movie then picks up 2036.  Life has become seemingly utopian…

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Mankind wants to keep going.  Reaching out to the stars.  Naturally, a fella incites the populace to demand a “rest” from the rush of progress.  The sculptor Theotocopulos delivers a message that this progress must end and mankind needs to be satisfied where he is.

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A mob rushes a giant “space gun” in order to halt this progress, but ultimately fails.  The gun fires and a ship is launched into space.  Progress moves on…

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At the end of the film, a speech is made by Oswald Cabal.  Speaking of progress and mankind’s quest for more….

He must go on—conquest beyond conquest. This little planet and its winds and ways, and all the laws of mind and matter that restrain him. Then the planets about him, and at last out across immensity to the stars.  And when he has conquered all the deeps of space and all the mysteries of time—still he will be beginning. . . . If we’re no more than animals—we must snatch at our little scraps of happiness and live and suffer and pass, mattering no more—than all the other animals do—or have done.  It is that—or this? All the universe—or nothingness. . . . Which shall it be?”

ThingsToComeReview

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