Four boys travel back through time in a row boat, escaping cave-men and dinosaurs. Czechoslovakian animator Karel Zeman’s 1955 edutainment film is a beautifully rendered and heart-warming family movie about evolution. 7/10
The forties was not a good time for SF movies. But the genre sputtered along with mad scientist B-movies turned out by Hollywood. The decade produced none of the immortal classics of the twenties and thirties, but hidden among the low-budget dregg, one can find a few genuine gems worthy of more recognition.
Based on Karel Capek’s novel, this Czech 1948 film is the first to depict a nuclear holocaust. Otakar Vávra’s feverishly Expressionist direction follows the inventor of a new explosive having waking nightmares about the horror he has unleashed upon the world. While simplified and somewhat dumbed down, the story still follows the novel fairly closely. Scifist Rating: 7/10.
Based on Karel Capek’s play, this 1937 Czechoslovakian dystopia is a thinly veiled allegory on the Nazis. A pacifist doctor finds a cure to a mysterious “white plague” and with it tries to blackmail the ruling class into signing a peace treaty. Future Hollywood director Hugo Haas makes a poignant, but slow-paced dark satire. 6/10
∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (2/10) Czechoslovakia’s first science fiction film, and one of its earliest domestically produced feature-length films, this 1920 production brings together a mad scientist, a spiritualist and a Japanese businessman […]