Quick Film Guide – Things to Come (William Cameron Menzies, 1936)

Things to Come
Directed by William Cameron Menzies

Things to Come is a haunting, philosophical film examining human nature and its violent, recurring cycles of war and peace. Based on The Shape of Things to Come by H.G. Wells, who also scripted it, the movie was released in 1936 and prophetized the horrors of the bloody world war that was just around the corner.

Things to Come was the most expensive sci-fi production of the ’30s and marked the feature directorial debut of William Cameron Menzies, one of the most celebrated art directors in cinema history and the first to ever be credited as “production designer.” The majestic sets of the film are a highlight, blurring the line between set design and visual effects, particularly in the spectacular vision of the future of its third part.

Menzies would return to the science fiction genre in 1953 with Invaders from Mars. However, Things to Come remains his best directorial effort. Influenced by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis from nearly a decade prior, it is regarded in its own right as one of the genre’s best works.

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