The Yesterday Machine (1963)

Article #673 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 1-17-2003
Posting date: 6-16-2003

When a modern-day teenager is shot by civil war soldiers and his girlfriend disappears into thin air, the police and a reporter investigate.

The first half of this cheaply-made Southern science fiction thriller is a little better than you might expect; it’s talky and static, but the talk was interesting enough that it held my attention. The acting during this half hovers somewhere between wooden and subtle; it’s certainly a lot more low-key than you might expect. The second half is another matter; all the female characters start becoming hysterical at every opportunity, and we meet a Nazi mad scientist who wavers back and forth between endless pseudo-science blather about relativity, time and space, and maniacal speeches defending Hitler; for those looking for a camp experience, this is where it can be found. Yes, it’s pretty bad, but not as bad as it could have been, and it does hold my attention. What I like most about it, though, is that it’s still around; this is one of those Southern movies that is all but forgotten nowadays, but has somehow survived the passage of time to remain with us. It was definitely forgotten at one point; the Walt Lee book doesn’t mention it at all. Take it as a curio and you might just enjoy it.

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