The Time Machine was released in 1960 and is based on the classic novel by H.G. Wells. The film follows the adventures of George, an inventor living in England in 1900, who has created a machine that can move through time. He passes through three World Wars and thousands of years beyond, to find a strange future where humans have developed into two races: the peaceful but weak Eloi, and the industrious but savage Morlocks. The Time Machine received an Academy Award for special effects and has influenced many of the science fiction films that followed it.
Throughout the film you are about to see, George the time traveler hears the sound of sirens—loud warning signals like the sound from a fire truck—and watches people react to them in strange and sometimes frightening ways. The sirens are an important part of the film’s story, but they did not appear in the original book. What role do sirens play throughout history, and why did the filmmakers decide to include them in the film? Alarm sirens were invented over 200 years ago and are used during times of crisis to let people know that there is danger and they need to find shelter. Did you know:
Sirens in Great Britain
Sirens Around the World
The filmmakers would have been familiar with the sound of sirens and the meaning it would have for their audience. As you watch the film, pay close attention to the use of sirens and how their importance changes throughout the story.