TIME TRAVELERS (1976)
Viewing Date: 9-18-2008
Posting Date: 12-30-2008
Directed by Alexander Singer
Featuring Sam Groom, Tom Hallick, Francine York
An outbreak of a disease thought extinct but with a high mortality rate causes a doctor to take an opportunity of travelling into the past to find the secrets of the only doctor who had proven successful at combating the disease. The problem is that he arrives in the past only twenty-nine hours before the Great Chicago Fire will destroy the doctor and all of his records, so he must find the solution in that time.
As anyone who follows this series knows, I’m not a fan of Irwin Allen or TV-Movies, but I must admit that I like this one better than I do most of Allen’s other work. Part of the reason I like it is that I like the central concept of trying to solve a medical problem in a limited amount of time; it brings back fond memories of THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN. Not that this movie ever achieves that level; there’s too much stupid dialogue, an unnecessary romantic subplot, unconvincing special effects, occasional bits of overacting, a really bad fake headline, and at least one totally unbelievable moment (if two men materialized out of the future onto a crowded stairway, wouldn’t someone on the stairway notice?). Fortunately, the movie has another great thing about it; Richard Basehart is surprisingly memorable as the doctor from the past who doesn’t really know how he cures his patients. The story was conceived by Irwin Allen and Rod Serling, and I suspect I know which one came up with the plot elements I liked. All in all, I found this one quite watchable.