In reference to “The Liberal Future of the East,” our correspondent “David” writes:
Almost any prediction requiring two centuries for verification is arguably less than bold.
To which Dr. Boli replies: Exactly. Anyone who has followed the near-future science fiction of the last century knows that it is foolhardy to make predictions anyone is likely to check up on.
We must make a partial exception for the movie Things to Come, which predicted a Second World War beginning in 1940; but it is only a partial exception, since the movie had the war enduring for decades and destroying civilization in most of the world.
But really, Dr. Boli has responded to this comment mostly to have an excuse to show you Just Imagine, a science-fiction musical comedy about bureaucracy-crossed lovers and evil Martian twins. Here, for your utter amazement, is the world of 1980, as seen from 1930:
Future filmmakers take note: if you plan a science-fiction extravaganza set fifty years in the future, you should probably not leave the script up to the songwriters responsible for “Never Swat a Fly”—admittedly a clever and catchy song, but not quite Noel Coward stuff. Furthermore, El Brendel, who apparently was a big draw in 1930, is possibly the least funny comedian ever filmed. When one considers that the Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, W. C. Fields, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Charlie Chaplin were all working in 1930, it makes one lose one’s faith in humanity to read that El Brendel was the most popular comedian in America.
On the other hand, the miniature effects are so astonishingly good in some scenes that Dr. Boli questions whether a more convincing future city has ever been put on film. And there is 19-year-old Maureen O’Sullivan, who is just fine to look at, but also can act, which puts her miles ahead of anyone else in the movie.
The effects are much more impressive on the big screen, by the way, and in the unlikely event that some theater near you should choose to revive Just Imagine, you should not miss the opportunity to see it.