A 1956 B-movie, “World Without End” is what I like to think of as a typical sci-fi thriller from the time.
Astronauts return to Earth after a mission only to find 500 years have passed and atomic war has wiped out civilization. The population is divided between one-eyed mutated humans roaming the surface and pale, effete, skull-cap wearing old men living below ground.
Oh yeah. Also underground: Fabulous babes.
The four astronauts – led by Rod Taylor (“The Time Machine”) and Hugh Marlowe (“The Day the Earth Stood Still,” “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers”) quickly wear out their welcome among the underground dwellers with their suggestion that the race is dying without exposure to sunlight and fresh air aboveground.
The astronauts irritate their Mr. Burns-style hosts even further by suggesting they’ll help build houses on the surface, which is by now radiation-free.
Not to mention the “hubba hubba” interest the astronauts pay to the women and the immediate mutual attraction from the futuristic babes.
The movie’s advertising played up the female cast.
“World Without End” isn’t, for a low-budget film, an outright cheapie. It looks pretty good, with good sets, location filming in some of Southern California’s nicer parks and CinemaScope Technicolor.
But its “Brave New World” story is dated and silly.
The spaceship was one of those cool 50s models with fins. Big fins.
The movie has one of the worst giant spiders ever in the movies. Seriously, it looks like somebody put a silly spider costume on an ottoman, which gets tossed onto one of our heroes.
Five hundred years have passed, but the woman still wear mini-dresses, high heels and serve the meals. No to mention fall in love with the astronauts almost immediately and get upset if they’re not favorably compared with women from the astronauts’ time.
So close but yet so far: The one-eyed radiation-scarred creatures are called mutates, not mutants.
Dumbest scene: Marlowe’s character is attacked by “mutates” and his three fellow astronauts, standing at some distance, start firing their pistols at the grappling pair. Keep your head down while you’re fighting those mutates, buddy.
Director Edward Bernds, who died in 2000, had an interesting career. He directed Three Stooges shorts as well as Bowery Boys movies and the infamous “Queen of Outer Space” starring Zsa Zsa Gabor.