Beyond the Time Barrier (1960)

From Edgar G. Ulmer (director of `The Man from Planet X’ and `The Amazing Transparent Man’) comes this likable little sc-fi tale. A test pilot (Robert Clark) is catapulted into the future by a freak phenomenon, where a post World War III society lives in futuristic cities that protect them from the lingering radiation. However, the populace is having fertility problems, and the head of the government (Vladimir Sokoloff) hopes that his daughter (gorgeous Darlene Thompkins) and Clark will get together.

The costumes will meet with male approval; the women all wear short dresses and high heels (if you like it, guys, check out `World Without End’).

Okay, back to the plot: a group of dissidents conspire to take over the government by releasing a horde of imprisoned mutants. They do, and the first thing the mutants do is attack all the women. Girls, be forewarned: if you dress provocatively, you’ll suffer the consequences, especially if imprisoned mutants get loose.

Hats off to Ulmer for efficiency: he filmed this enjoyable effort in a matter of weeks, and he saved money on sets by using an exhibit of futuristic art-and-design at the 1959 Texas State Fair in Dallas. The interior architecture is appealing, despite being relatively simple. The doors, walls, and pillars are all based on triangles and pyramids. Don’t’ expect any elaborate special effects, but the film does manage to invoke a pleasant Buck Rogers feeling.

Unfortunately, I’ve never seen this movie shown on local or cable TV, and it doesn’t seem to be avail on VHS or DVD. Dedicated sci-fi fans will have to work to get a peek at this lost gem. But it’s worth the effort if you’re a 1950s sci-fi fan.