Things to Come - Photo Gallery, 1970
by Nick Cooper © 2004-2017
Presented here are a number of stills from the author's collection, broadly
divided into actual general production or publicity stills, along with reprints
from various publications of examples specifically from "lost" scenes. Where
appropriate, they are accompanied with explanatory text, in which extracts
from the Film Story or Stover Script in
green denotes footage surviving in the 92m 42s print,
blue in the Gutlohn
Print but not the 92m 42s Standard Print,
purple is the apparently lost Stover Script
material (i.e. not in 92m 42s or Gutlohn), while
red is dialogue and description unique to the Film
When Roxana first appears, she is railing against the character of Wadsky
for no readily apparent reason. This cut scene occurs between Gordan leaving
the airfield in disgust, and the first shot of Mary in the marketplace:
The Market. Camera swung round to the
stall of gewgaws and old dresses. Roxana sailing down upon the trader. Roxana
is a consciously beautiful young woman of eight and twenty. Her face is made
up rather skilfully. In contrast to the dirty and dispirited people in the
Square, she and her two attendant women seem brilliantly bright and prosperous.
Her costume is best described as a collection of finery. It has been got
together from the wardrobes and presses that are still to be found in the
abandoned houses. It consists chiefly of an afternoon dress of circa
1935. Wadsky's stall is stocked with such findings.
Roxana, advancing: "Where is Wadsky? I want to speak to
Wadsky, who has been lurking behind his stall as she advances,
pulls himself together and comes out to meet her.
Roxana: "You had a piece of flowered stuff,
a whole length, seven yards, and you did not tell me of it. You kept it back
from me, and you gave it to that woman of yours. And she's got a new
dress - a new dress."
Wadsky disputes with his arms and shoulders while she
speaks and when she pauses he Says: "Ooh Lady, I showed you that piece."
Roxana: "Don't outface me, Wadsky. You have done that
too often. You kept it from me!"
Wadsky: "Lady! You said: 'I don't want stuff like
Roxana: "Why! I had been asking for weeks for that very
thing for the summer - light flowered cotton stuff."
Wadsky: "Oh, but Lady!"
Roxana: "How dared you? One would think I was of no importance
Roxana turns to her first attendant. "Don't you remember?
- I said I wanted light stuff with flowers."
Attendant remembers dutifully.
Roxana appeals to her further. "What is the good of a
lover - what is the good of a powerful lover, if one is to be treated like
Roxana to Wadsky, who is bowing, very disgruntled. "I'll
tell the Chief. I've warned you before. Everything first to me."
Swing away from her to another part of
the Market Square. A little excited knot is formed round a ragged man.
Man: "I saw it with my own eyes."
Woman: "First you drink and then you see things."
Man: "First I heard the noise, then I looked up and there
it was - far away up in the sky - over the hills."
Gordon is seen coming through the Square towards them.
He hears the last remarks of the man. "What did you see?"
Man: "An aeroplane - flying - away there over the hills.
Just about dawn it was."
The crowd jeers at him. Gordon looks at the man, sums
him up, shrugs his shoulders, and goes on his way.
Mary is buying vegetables from the peasant
with the horse-drawn car....
[After the discussion about the car, the scene continues:]
Gordon and Mary finish their purchases
and go towards the laboratory.
Mary: "You are late to-day. Did you get
Gordon: "Nothing. The machines are rotten. There's no
petrol. It's mockery for the Boss to set me at it. We'll never get one of
them up. Flying has become a dream for Bosses and such-like drunken men.
There was a drunken man over there, by the by, swearing he saw an
aeroplane this morning."
Gordon: "What is it?"
Mary: "You won't think me mad?"
Mary: "I heard an aeroplane this morning."
The existence of the photograph of Roxana with Wadsky is good evidence that
the scene was shot, not least because it is referred to in the extant footage.
Similarly, Ann Todd's delivery - stressing the "I" - only makes sense in
the context of the scene with the drunken man and Gordon's subsequent mention
of it, so there is strong circumstantial evidence that it was shot, along
with the additional dialogue between Mary and Gordon.
In the next two photographs, Cabal emerges from and then - below - climbs
down from the cockpit of aircraft WT34. Both shots are extremely common in
In the extant footage, the Boss explaining his intentions to Roxana in the
bedroom dissolve directly into the attack on the mine workings, but in between
the Film Story had this cene:
Scene outside the Town Hall. A small troop
of mounted men with a flag leaving for the war. Two led horses are brought
up and the Boss and Roxana appear and mount.
The whole body rides off.
A small not very enthusiastic crowd watches their departure.
There is a feeble cheer as the detachment goes off.
The photograph below shows this, with Margaretta Scott in the same outfit
she is seen wearing during the subsequent attack.
Following the banquet (above), Roxana visits the cell below the Town Hall,
and has a disjoined conversation with Cabal. The Stover Script details
four shots - running to approximately 1m 19s of dialogue - immediately prior
to the sudden appearance of the Boss, but the Film Story has two
additional sections of dialogue earlier in the scene:
Roxana: "I don't think any man has ever
understood any woman since the beginning of things. You don't understand
our imaginations. How wild our imaginations can be."
Cabal decides he will not interrupt her.
Roxana: "I wish I were a man."
She stands up abruptly: "Oh if I were a man!....
Does any man realise what the life of a woman is?
How trivial we have to be. We have to please. We are obliged to please.
If we attempt to take a serious share in life, are we welcomed? And all the
while---- Men are so self-satisfied, so blind, so limited. I see things happening
here----! Injustice. Cruelty. There are things I would do for the poor -
things I would do to make things better. I am not allowed. I have to pretend
to he eaten up by my dresses, my jewels, my vanities. I make myself beautiful
often with an aching heart. But I'm talking about myself. Tell me about yourself
- about that greater world you live in. Are you a Boss? You have the
manner of one who commands. You are sure of yourself. You make me afraid
of you. Of the people you come from. Of what you are. Before you came I felt
safe here. I felt - things were going on as they have been going on....
Always.... No hope of change.... Now - it's all different.
What are you people trying to do to us? What do
you mean to do to this Boss of mine?"
Roxana: "I see. And our Combatant State
Cabal: "Has to vanish into the shadows. After the
Tyrannosaurus and the sabre-toothed tiger."
Roxana stands looking at him. He leans
against the table and smiles at her.
Roxana: "You are a new sort of man to me."
Cabal: "No. A new sort of training. The old Adam
She goes off at a tangent again. "I suppose at the bottom
of her heart every woman despises a man she can manage. And all women despise
men who run after women."
Cabal: "You're not by any chance thinking of the Chief?
Where is he to-night?"
Roxana: "Drinking and boasting. And after that, he hopes
to betray me without my finding out. Vain hopes, I'm afraid. We needn't think
about him. If I said I still love him, it is as one loves a dirty troublesome
child. I love him and he doesn't matter. What I am thinking about is
you. And this new world Of yours - oh, it's your world - that
I can feel advancing on us."
Roxana: "Have men of your sort no use for women?"
Cabal: "Madam, I'm a widower and a grandfather. I see
these things with a philosophical detachment. And I don't quite know what
you mean by use."
Roxana: "A man is a man till he's dead. Don't you still
want the help of a woman? Have you no use for that closeness of devotion
you can never get from any man? Don't you see I have been working for you
already? See what I have done for you! I have saved Harding from ill-treatment.
I got you half released so as to work with Gordon. I may be able at last
to release you altogether. Why do you despise me?"
Cabal: "I don't despise you in the least. I think you
are the most civilised being I have met yet in Everytown."
Roxana: "More than your friends?"
Cabal: "Oh, much more."
Roxana is pleased. She presses on to her next step. "Why
don't you confide in me? There's Gordon, there's his wife Mary and her father
Harding, and you are all - together, in some way. Something carries
you all along. Do you think I don't know you are planning things and doing
things? Why cannot I help you? I know this place,
these people. I am a sort of queen here. Am I nothing at all to you?"
The Stover Script omits most of the above, but continues:
|583. LONG SHOT 14ft. 10frs.
||ROXANA: I see - and this war-like State
of ours here?
CABAL: It has to vanish, like the Tyrannosaurus and the saber-toothed
|584. MEDIUM SHOT 48ft. 8frs.
||ROXANA: Why can't I - help you? I know this place.
I'm a sort of Queen here. Am I nothing to you at all?
CABAL: Do you think you could get me my plane? They haven't put it out of
action, have they?
ROXANA: No, he wants to use it and he doesn't know how. There it stands with
six guards night and day. I couldn't get at that just now.
CABAL: What are you proposing to me?
ROXANA: Nothing. I came to see you. I wanted to look at you. I'm interested
|585. CLOSE SHOT 26ft. 11frs.
The two, from the side.
||ROXANA: And now I find you more interesting than ever.
A woman loves to help, she loves to give. I could help you now so much...
and if I help?
CABAL: We wouldn't forget
ROXANA: We wouldn't forget. Who cares about we? Would you forget it?
CABAL: Why should I in particular?
|586. MEDIUM SHOT 24ft. 3frs.
||ROXANA: Are you a stupid man, or are you insulting
me? I tell you I find you the most interesting man in the world - a great
eagle out of the air. And you stare at me with that ugly face of yours and
pretend not to understand. Ugly you are and grey. It doesn't matter. Oh why
should we go on fencing?...
|587. CLOSE SHOT 18ft. 15frs.
||...Don't you understand? Don't you see? I'm yours
if you want me. I'm for you. Now - now will you let me help you?
|They look round as they hear the noise of the door
|588. LONG SHOT 25ft. 7frs.
Shooting towards the door of cellar. Boss enters and comes down. Roxana and
Cabal step into foreground. Their back to the CAMERA.
||BOSS: Ah. So here you are.
ROXANA: I said I should talk to him and I have.
BOSS: I told you to leave that fellow alone.
|This is, perhaps, the first truly significant piece of dialogue
lost. It clarifies the motives of Roxana, as well as setting her up as a
counterpoint to Mary Gordon in the following lost scene. Roxana's comment
of, "I said I should talk to him and I have," refers to her earlier stated
intention to do so in dialogue cut from the scene in the Boss's bedroom after
Cabal's imprisonment. There is the usual tell-tale lack of visual continuity
as Massey and Scott change positions during the cut footage:
|Shot 583: Cabal stands with his back to Roxana. Note the
table with the candle in the foreground, and the stairs in the background.
||Shot 588: Although a low-angle view, the foreground and the
background remain the same, but the actors have changed position.
A common accusation of Things to Come is the at best uneven
and at worst minimal role of the female characters, but any such impression
is entirely due to the surviving footage, rather than what was originally
intended, or even what appears in the Stover Script. As a sub-text
to the overall theme of the advancement of humanity through science and order,
Wells clearly though it was important to speculate on the changing role of
women, but the loss of so much of the dialogue that deals with it is utterly
counter-productive, but again the Film Story was even more explicit:
[#604] Mary: "He's a great man. My
father knew him years ago. My husband worships him."
Roxana: "He's so cold - so preoccupied. And so - interesting.
Do men like that ever make love?"
Mary: "A different sort of love, perhaps."
Roxana: "Love on ice. [#605-606]
If this new world - all airships and science and order - comes about, what
will happen to us women?"
Mary: "We shall work like the men."
Roxana: "You mean
that? Are you - flesh and blood?"
Mary: "As much as my husband and father."
[#607-608] Roxana with infinite contempt: "Men!
Sometimes - when I think of lean grim Cabal - I believe this world of
yours must come. And then I think - it can't come. It can't.
It's a dream. It will seem to come but it won't
come. It's just a new lot of men at the top. There
will be wars still. Struggles still."
Mary: "No, it will be civilisation. It will be peace.
This nightmare of a world we live in - that is the dream, that is what will
Roxana: "No. No. This is reality."
[#609] Mary, staring in front of her: "Do you really think
that war and struggle - mere chance gleams of happiness - general misery
- all this squalid divided world about us, do you think it must go on for
Unfortunately, also missing is Gordon's actual escape. The photograph seen
below apparently shows Gordon preparing one of the Boss's aircraft, but the
Film Story has no corresponding scene, so presumably it was a late
addition to the script the published version was based on.
What does appear in the book is this detrailed description of how Gordon's
first flight in the rebuilt aircraft::
The aeroplane, flying. In the aeroplane
is Gordon at the controls. He is satisfied. Behind him sits a rosetted guard.
Gordon turning the machine round. Then a long shot of Everytown far below.
The machine flies on. The guard stirs. He protests inaudibly because of the
roar of the engine. Gordon disregards him. Guard taps Gordon's shoulder,
signs for him to return and presently, finding no response but a cheerful
smile, points his pistol. Mutual scrutiny. Guard weakly menacing. Gordon
points over the side of the cockpit. He smiles suddenly, having taken the
measure of his man, and puts his fingers to his nose. The aeroplane jerks
sharply upwards, and the guard, no longer pointing his pistol, but gripping
tight, is manifestly scared.
Aeroplane looping the loop then the falling leaf trick.
Guard's ordeal through all this motion. He drops the pistol
and grips the side.
Pistol falling, hitting the ground and exploding.
The aeroplane seen flying away over the hills.
This dissolves directly to Gordon telling of his escape in the conference
room at Basra (seen later after Cabal has been freed and Everytown subdued),
rather than the surviving aerodrome setting that shares some of the same
"And so I got away," says Gordon's
As the voice is heard, the last scene dissolves into the
A conference room at Basra, rather like
an ultra-modern board room. It is bleakly and rationally furnished. Telephones
have been restored to the world. Through a large open window one sees the
great and growing aerodrome of Basra with a number of aeroplanes coming and
going. Far off there is a group of smoking factory chimneys. It is a sudden
contrast to the general ruinousness that has prevailed throughout the film
since the war sequences. A dozen young and middle-aged men sit at the table
indifferent to these familiar activities outside, and Gordon stands talking
- too excited to sit.
Gordon: "And so I got away. That is where you will find
Cabal. The Boss of Everytown is a violent tough - he may do anything. There
is no time to lose."
A Middle-aged Man: "Certainly, there is no time to lose.
Half squadron A is ready now. You ready to go with them, Mr.----?"
Gordon : "Gordon, sir."
The middle-aged man begins to dial a telephone.
A Young Man: "This gives us a chance of trying this new
anaesthetic, the Gas of Peace.... I wish I could go...."
Wipe off to next scene.
Despite the relocation of some of this dialogue to the aerodrome - where
Gordon is visibly accompanied by a rather bewildered soldier from the Boss'
rag-tag army - a much-used still shows Gordon in the conference room, again
with the would-be guard behind him:
There is a possibility, of course, that two versions of the arrival of Gordon
and the guard were shot,one in the Conference Room and one on the Aerodrome,
and it was the latter that was used.
After Everytown has been subdued with the Gas of Peace, Cabal contemplates
the dead Boss, and then aims his observations on womankind at the sleeping
Roxana and Mary:
|711. MEDIUM SHOT 32ft. 7frs.
||CABAL: Dead and his world with him, and
a new world begins. Poor old Boss. He and his flags and his follies. And
now for the rule of the airmen, and a new life for mankind.
|712. LONG SHOT
Cabal comes up to Roxana who is lying asleep.
|713. MEDIUM LONG SHOT 28ft. 14frs.
The two, he kneels beside her.
||The eternal adventuress! You've pluck and charm, and
brains for infinite mischief. Where power is you'll follow. You'll play you
eyes at men till the end of your time. Now that the Bosses have gone the
way of the money grubbers I suppose it will be our turn.
|714. LONG SHOT 3ft. 6frs.
The two as Cabal stands up.
|715. CLOSE SHOT 9ft. 3frs.
||A new world, with the old stuff. Our job is only
|716. LONG SHOT 7ft. 1fr.
The Basra airmen walk through the square, as the people on all sides start
|The Film Story then continues:
Dawn breaking over Everytown. Dawn sky.
Vista of a side street. Sleeping figures lie scattered about. Gordon and
a knot of companions, several young airmen and two women, also in
black leather, come through the ruins. They are no longer masked. One of
them tears down a rosette flag in passing. [added emphasis]
This was clearly shot, as it corresponds exactly with the two photographs
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