Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The World of Tomorrow is a delightful, lovingly assembled documentary of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Much of the footage is culled from promotional films made exclusively for the exhibition; one of these features a "typical" midwestern family, soaking in the fair's many wonders. Other sequences are lifted from home movies, given the events of six decades' past a surprising immediacy. Most of the film is devoted to the famous "World of Tomorrow" exhibit, which theorized as to what life would be like in 1960; some of this is quaint and naïve, but a lot of it is surprisingly accurate. Alternating gracefully between color and black and white, The World of Tomorrow occasionally leans towards condescension, but Jason Robards' dead-on narration sidesteps cuteness. For its many PBS showings, the 83-minute World of Tomorrow was pared down to an hour.