THE TIME TRAVELERS
Melchior creates an intriguing opening where the scientists succeed in opening up a portal by accident. It is a scene where Melchior suggests a great deal of intriguing possibility with minimal effect the camera merely sits in the laboratory looking out through the portal at the bare desert terrain cheaply but effectively represented by a projection on a wall, which the scientists never directly walk into letting it loom with all manner of mystery as to what might lie there. Thereafter though, The Time Travelers falls into the pervading trend of time travel movies of the era the likes of Captive Women (1952), World Without End (1955), Beyond the Time Barrier (1960), even The Time Machine (1960) where the time machine has no more imaginative possibilities than simply serving as in effect a rocketship to deliver the travelers into an exotic realm. Invariably in all of these, the time machine deposits the travelers into a post-holocaust future where they become engaged in a fight to defend the remnants of humanity against mutants.
Once in the future, Melchior falls into the pitfalls of many ventures to alien worlds or the future the film grinds to a dramatic halt and instead becomes a catalogue of marvellous novelty gadgets colour synthesizers, a planetary monitoring system, accelerated growth hydroponics, explanation of photon drives, a vibra-transporter. There is an extended trip to a robot factory where we watch the construction of robots. Here The Time Travelers descends to lowbrow comedy relief I thought you were making eyes at me, the character of Danny says as the cute girl hands him android eyeballs. Famous Monsters of Filmland (1958-82) editor Forrest J. Ackerman turns up in a cameo as a technician with a single line about Just getting things squared away.
However, in the last quarter, Ib Melchior brings The Time Travelers to a remarkable ending where the time travelers return through the portal only to find the world moving 100 times slower than they are and watch themselves starting the entire process off again, then traveling through the portal a second time and becoming caught up in an endless loop. It is a wonderfully imaginative touch. There is something about this that is pure science-fiction, a tiny gem of what the genre is all about when it is at its best, and something delightful to find in a B-movie like this.
The Time Travelers was later remade by co-writer David L. Hewitt as the miserably cheap Journey to the Center of Time (1968). The Time Travelers is unrelated to the Irwin Allen produced, Rod Serling written The Time Travelers (1976), which was an unsold pilot for a tv series.