Beyond the Time Barrier

Year 1960

Robert Clarke as  Major William Allison  
Darlene Tompkins as Princess Trirene
Vladimir Sokoloff as The Supreme
Arianne (Ulmer) Arden   as Captain Markova
Director - Edgar G. Ulmer
Screenwriter - Arthur C. Pierce  

Beyond the Time Barrier was almost in the Under a Rock category. It's not original, the dialog isn't clever, and the science is ludicrous. A test pilot from the present goes so fast in the upper atmosphere that he is transported from the year 1960 to the year 2024 where everything is in the toilet. Why? In this case, it's atomic bomb testing.

Atomic bomb testing got rid of the ozone layer. In the movie, they never use the word "ozone" but they describe it as, and I'm parphrasing here, "That stuff in the sky that keeps out the yucky cosmic rays? Well the atomic bombs put so much dust up in the sky that the stuff isn't around no more. So, we got the plague."

I hate to admit it, but this makes sense. Without ozone blocking out cosmic rays, you get mutations. The things most susceptible to mutations would be simple things like viruses and bacteria. At this point, the science of the movie is solid.

Having to deal with "green" products that are steps back from the less environmentally friendly ones (dishwashers, light bulbs, paper products, etc.) it irked me that some of the pontificating was in line with the latest fanatics/coveters who want you to change your life because theirs "is simply better".

Before I go off on that rant, let's get back to the movie.

Major William Allison, the test pilot shuttling around time, is played by Robert Clarke whom Ulmer had previously directed in The Man from Planet X. Like The Man from Planet X, it's pretty slow paced.

Shades of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, in the future there are the mutants/Morlocks and the unaffected/Eloi. Only in this movie, the mutants are above ground and the unaffected are below ground. Well, some of the mutants are below ground, in prisons. The sight of the prisoners at the bottom of a set of stairs is definitely an unnerving camera shot. Ulmer should be forgiven for using it more than once because it's that good.

Like most Ulmer movies, there's a lot that not explained. There are others from the past in 2024. Why everyone ends up in 2024 is up for discussion. Also, how these others got there is unknown.

There's an attempt at some sort of Byzantine cross/double-cross that would have made the movie worthwhile if it had been cleverly done. The true humans aren't breeding any longer. Allison is the only one who can mate with the ruler's daughter and she is the only woman who can have children.

Uh, really? The other guys from the past can't do it? What about the woman from the past? Isn't she fertile? And two people is not a sufficient gene pool to continue a species unless you've got flawless DNA like Adam and Eve. Their children would have had to mate with each other and then their children would mate and soon everyone would be drooling and wanting to "go green" or become Mormon.

So, The Supreme (Diana Ross does not look good in 2024. She became on old white man with a Jewish accent) is out to continue the underground colony. The Captain, one of the two people in the colony that can talk, is just angry with everyone and wants to torture people. The people from the past want to go home. The mutants want to revolt and pillage because that's all they're good for since the plague.

Princess Trirene just wants to mate with Major Allison because she thinks that he's dreamy even if she can't say it because she's mute. And not just a mute, she's a deaf mute. But she's great at reading lips. She's not bad with hand gestures, either.

In the space of about five minutes, it all comes together too quickly. A little more set-up would have been nice. There's a twist ending that makes no sense, either.

Interesting things about this movie include Captain Markova. She's attractive in a cold sort of way. Although billed as Arianne Arden, her real last name is Ulmer. Yep, she's the progeny of star-crossed lovers and spouses Edgar and Shirley Ulmer.

Another thing about the movie is the use and reuse of big pyramids. It's what the underground of the future is made of. They are right side up, upside down, and probably on their sides somewhere else. Nowhere near as appropriate and unsettling as the art deco style in The Black Cat, the pyramids are at least different.

No nudity, no profanity, or blasphemy. Unless you are a big Ulmer fan, you can give this one a pass.

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