Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 85: Sun Mar 26

Things To Come (Menzies, 1936): Barbican Centre, Main Hall, 7pm

Barbican introduction:
Alexander Korda’s cinematic vision of the future, with Arthur Bliss’s classic score played live by the orchestra who originally recorded it 
– the London Symphony Orchestra.
Imagine a future of shining cities, global travel and endless leisure for art and science. But first, a half-century of horror – of terror, war and global pandemic. Incredibly, Alexander Korda’s film Things to Come saw it all in 1936: transforming H G Wells’s novel into a stunning Art Deco vision of a future that now seems startlingly real. Things to Come has lost none of its prophetic power, and its dazzling designs and commanding central performances make it one of the enduring landmarks of 1930s cinema. The LSO recorded the original score back in 1936, and tonight, for this one-off screening it plays Sir Arthur Bliss’s music live with the film. No crackles, no wonky sound, just the thrilling sweep of one of the greatest of all British film scores.

Time Out review:
HG Wells thought Metropolis to be 'quite the silliest film', but a decade later Alexander Korda gave him enormous creative freedom to write a movie version of The Shape of Things to Come, which turned out to be just as silly. However, like Metropolis, it isn't just silly. It is a spectacular production wherein Wells takes his 'science versus art' preoccupations into the future (as seen from the '30s); and to make it work, only lacks the kind of pure cinematic form which a Powell/Pressburger would have given it, for its scale and love of 'ideas' pre-figure their films and make it just as unique in British cinema history. In the realm of 'prophetic science fiction', it is a genre landmark.
Chris Wicking

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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