World Without End (film)
|World Without End|
Film poster by Reynold Brown
|Directed by||Edward Bernds|
|Produced by||Richard Heermance|
|Screenplay by||Edward Bernds|
|Story by||Edward Bernds|
|Music by||Leith Stevens|
|Edited by||Eda Warren|
|Distributed by||Allied Artists Pictures Corporation|
|Release date(s)||March 25, 1956|
|Running time||80 min.|
World Without End is a science-fiction B-movie, released in 1956 by Allied Artists. It starred Hugh Marlowe and Nancy Gates, and was directed by Edward Bernds. It was the first sci-fi thriller shot in CinemaScope Technicolor.
This was an early screen role of Australian-born Rod Taylor, who would soon make his mark in science-fiction film history, portraying another time traveler in the George Pal production of The Time Machine. Similarities between The Time Machine and World Without End has the mutants living above ground in the latter and the hero (Taylor) ending up with the raven-haired Deena (as opposed to the blonde Weena in The Time Machine.
In March 1957 (one year in the future at the time of the film's release), Commander Dr. Eldon Galbraithe (Nelson Leigh), engineer Henry Jaffee (Christopher Dark), radioman Herbert Ellis (Rod Taylor) and scientist John Borden (Hugh Marlowe), are returning to Earth from a trip around Mars when their spaceship is somehow accelerated to incredible velocities. They are knocked unconscious, and crash land on a snow-covered mountain. When they venture out, they discover that they have become victims of time dilation and are now in Earth's future.
They theorize, from seeing time-worn gravestones and after their ship's instruments register heightened residual radiation, that a devastating atomic war had broken out in 2188, and that they are at least 200 years past that date. (They later learn that the year is 2508.) Jaffe is particularly hard hit, as he realizes that his wife and children have long since died.
After surviving an ambush by giant, mutant spiders, they are attacked by one of two competing remnants of human society. The "mutates" (as the astronauts label them) are violent, one-eyed surface dwellers who live in a primitive hunter-gatherer society. They have mutated due to generations of exposure to radioactivity and have enslaved the normal humans who dwell among them.
Seeking shelter from the mutates in a cave, the four men discover the entrance to an underground city, whose residents are the descendants of those who fled there from the atomic war. These people live in a high-tech, sophisticated culture. They are a peaceful group, led by Timmek (Everett Glass), the president of the ruling council. Underground, the men have grown feeble and nearly sterile, while the women remain physically vital and ready for romance. Elain (Shirley Patterson), admires a shirtless Herbert Ellis, commenting that the astronauts are "more muscular than our men". Deena (Lisa Montell), rescued from the surface as a child, falls in love with Ellis.
The astronauts try to persuade the underground people to arm themselves and return to the surface, but are unsuccessful. They are content with their comfortable existence.
When Timmek's daughter Garnet (Nancy Gates) shows she is attracted to John Borden, Mories (Booth Colman), a member of the council, becomes jealous. He retrieves the astronauts' confiscated weapons, but has to kill a man when he is caught in the act. Mories plants the guns in the astronauts' quarters, then blames the murder on the newcomers. On finding the weapons in their quarters, Timmek orders the astronauts expelled, but Deena testifies that she saw Mories hide the guns. Mories flees to the surface, where he is quickly killed by the mutates.
With Timmek's full cooperation, the astronauts have a bazooka manufactured and head back to the surface. Fleeing the deadly bazooka fire, the mutates take shelter in the caves. Borden offers to fight their chief, Naga (Mickey Simpson), in single combat for leadership of the mutates in order to save the non-mutated surface dwellers from Naga's threatened slaughter. Borden slays Naga and orders the remaining mutates to leave. The astronauts then establish a thriving settlement, including members of both groups.
The film was partly made in order to re-use footage from an earlier Allied Artists film, Flight to Mars (1951). A number of people worked on the film who went on to have notable careers, including Sam Peckinpah (dialogue director), Rod Taylor, Alberto Vargas (costumes) and Walter Mirisch (an executive at Allied Artists).