Beyond the Time Barrier

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Post  BoG on Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:45 pm

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I've always looked on this one as an extended Twilight Zone episode - an Air Force test pilot (Robert Clarke, The Hideous Sun Demon) is flying his bird at a new altitude of 100 miles and breaks through the time barrier into year 2024. Landing back at his base, he finds it to be derelict and empty of people. Close by, he notices what appears to be a futuristic small city, but on his way there, he's zapped by a monitoring defense system. He finds himself captured by the last remnants of mankind, most of whom are deaf mute due to mutation. The ruler is called the Supreme (Vladimir Sokoloff), whose daughter (Darlene Tompkins, playing a mute) is swiftly enamored of the new man. Yet, the new arrival is still thrown into the dungeons with the rest of the more mutated prisoners.
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Eventually, it's revealed that some kind of cosmic plague wiped out most of humanity around 1971. The man from 1960 is then placed with a trio of other displaced travelers - two from 1994 and a female Russian pilot from 1973.  His goal is to, as expected, go back to his own time and prevent the plague. His main obstacle is probably the captain and chief of security (Red Morgan), who is suspicious of the visitors. Besides the time travel angle, this offers a rather expressionist design for the futuristic city, dominated by triangles (made possible due to director Edgar Ulmer's filming at an exhibit of futuristic art-and-design at the 1959 Texas State Fair). Ulmer also made use of the abandoned MCAS Eagle Mountain Lake (northwest of Dallas/Ft. Worth) as a stand-in for the future abandoned Air Force base. This has an action-packed and violent finale when the brutish mutants are freed. There's a final twist at the end that gives this a Zone-like, downbeat quality. BoG's Score: 5.5 out of 10
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Beyond the Trivia: Ulmer's wife Shirley acted as a script editor while their daughter Arianne Arden co-starred as the Russian pilot.
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