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Beyond the Time Barrier

Entry updated 20 June 2022. Tagged: Film.

US film (1960; vt The War of 1995). Miller-Consolidated Pictures, American International Pictures. Produced by Robert Clarke. Directed by Edgar G Ulmer. Written by Arthur C Pierce from his original story. Mutant make-up by Jack Pierce. Cast includes Stephen Bekassy, Robert Clarke, Don Flournoy (Mutant), Vladimir Sokoloff, Darlene Tompkins and Ariane Ulmer (credited as Arianne Arden). 75 minutes. Black and white.

US Air Force test pilot Major William Allison (Clarke) somehow reaches the speed of light while piloting a new craft to sub-orbital space, resulting in Time Travel to the future as indicated when he lands and he finds the USAF air base long abandoned. He is captured by people from a City called The Citadel and is informed he is now in the year 2024. World Disaster began with a plague from space in 1971, followed some years later by nuclear World War Three resulting in the destruction of most of humanity. Survivors now live in scattered Keeps like The Citadel, in constant dread of attack by the numerous Mutants produced by radiation from the conflict. Additionally, almost all surviving normal humans are now sterile, making racial extinction only a matter of time. The ruler of the city, The Supreme (Sokoloff), wishes to use Allison as a mate for his daughter, Princess Tirenne (Tompkins), who is mute but possesses mild Psi Powers, especially Telepathy. Other time travellers from the past including Soviet Captain Alicia Markova (Ulmer) and General Karl Kruse (Bekassy) also offer potential sources of healthy DNA for repopulation efforts. Cold War political differences remain, however; Markova finally incites the mutants to attack The Citadel en masse, which results in its destruction and her own death, although Allison escapes in the chaos. Flying back through time, he succeeds in returning to 1960, intending to warn the world of what awaits it; but the Time Travel has prematurely aged him to roughly ninety years old at the conclusion. Reportedly a scene of Princess Tirenne swimming nude was inserted for overseas release of the film, using a double in a flesh-coloured swimsuit. While certainly a minor effort, the film is unusual for the period in offering such a grim view of humanity's fate, not to mention the fate of its hero. Clarke and Ulmer had previously worked together on the superior film The Man from Planet X (1951). [GSt]


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