World Without End (1956)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Sci-Fi Disaster Film  |   Release Date - Mar 25, 1956 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 80 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Bruce Eder

Looking at Edward Bernds' World Without End (1956) in the twenty-first century, its story plays a lot like Planet of the Apes -- but in place of talking apes, the surface of the post-apocalypse Earth here is ruled by deformed mutant humans; and the underground-dwelling civilization depicted here does bear some similarities to the mutant humans of the sequel, Beneath The Planet Of The Apes. The movie also owes more than a bit to H. G. Wells' vision of post-apocalyptic Eloy and Morlocks (and Things To Come with its airmen versus feudal rulers). But for all of those disparate, familiar elements, in its sources of inspiration as well as its influences, World Without End is also strikingly refreshing, in its optimistic vision of the future -- considering that most of the human race is wiped out in the timeline described by the four heroes, that's saying something, but it's true. This is a movie that depicts mankind starting to get things right the second time around, and it's worth seeing on that basis alone. One might add that, at the time of its release, World Without End was a special movie on another level as well -- it didn't look or play like much of what Allied Artists had released before. Its 80 minute running time made it longer than most of the movies that the B-studio, an outgrowth of Monogram Pictures, had ever issued -- what's more, it was shot in Technicolor and CinemaScope, both elements that people had come to expect from the major studios, but not from Allied. And it featured a good deal of outdoor shooting, rather than confining itself to the studio. Its release marked a new phase in the studio's history, as well as somewhat elevating the accepted and understood level of B-science fiction.