“The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells is a novel published in 1895, it spawned multiple film adaptions including the 1960 version directed by George Pal. Although they are essentially the same story, the film adaptation took multiple liberties with certain plot points and characters as well. Some may think for the better and some may argue it retracted too far from the book and had more of a negative impact.
For instance, right off the bat characters and their characteristics were largely changed in the film. The main character, George aka the Time Traveller, played by Rod Taylor, was never actually named in the novel. Other small character names were changed but the biggest character change, in my opinion, is those of the Eloi.
In the novel, they are described to be small almost childlike creatures with very little understanding of language knowing very few words or phrases. In the film adaptation, some of these characteristics are present but downplayed greatly. For example, the Eloi still appear very youthful but seem to be more like fully grown young adults rather than childlike. As for language, they are still a species of few words, but the language barrier described in the book seems to be less prevalent as they are more successful in understanding and communicating with The Time Traveller. I believe they did this for one major reason; for the audience. In the novel, Wells has much more freedom in what he is able to create and portray and what his audience would accept and understand. It seems as if the reasoning of the humanization of the Eloi was to appeal to the modern audience knowing that in order to sell tickets they would have to make something the audience could relate to and comprehend.
For similar reasons the relationship centered around the two main characters, George and Weena, was altered as well. In the novel, the two meet when George saved Weena from drowning as the rest of the Eloi stood around and watched. This remains true in the film, but as their relationship developed throughout the novel you can see that it resembles that of a child and parent or mentor and their prot?©g?©. However, when watching the film it is very clear that a romantic aspect was added to their relationship, changing the dynamic completely. Once again this was an attempt to please the audience knowing that they would much rather see a love story than try understanding the complexity of the relationship established in the novel.
As I mentioned earlier, the Eloi were these childlike creatures that George finds in the future. Eloi are only one of the species inhabiting earth at that time, the other being Morlocks. Morlocks are essentially the opposite of the Eloi, they are described as monstrous like creatures who stay secluded underground while remaining the smarter of the two groups being able to operate machinery and such. In the novel, The Time Traveller speculates the reason for this divide as something to do with social classes. The Eloi remaining above ground, free of work and any worries while the Morlocks stay secluded underground, working to support the Eloi. However, in the 1960 film adaption is becomes known that the reason for their divide was a war that poisoned the earth. The surviving bunch headed underground to fight and survive, some staying there and others going back to the surface, creating the Eloi and the Morlock. Being that this movie was created post World War II, it is very likely that this would be inspired by the introduction of nuclear weapons during this time. This alternative would feel very real for the viewers at this time, once again giving a sense of relatability, similarly to the romantic relationship previously mentioned. It seems as if most of the changes in the film that derives from the novel are done to benefit the modern audience.
Once The Time Traveller returns to his time and back into the future he takes 3 books with him, all of which unknown. Obviously, this was done to make the viewer/reader ponder to themselves what books he might have chosen. To personally answer that question, I would bring a bound copy of the U.S. Constitution, not to go by word for word but rather use it as a template or some sort of basis in creating and establishing a government system during their time. Additionally, I would bring Plato’s Republic for similar reasons, to bring ideas and propositions on how to establish the new world. When it comes down to it you would be starting from scratch, so why not start as a Utopia. Although the Bible seems as if it would a good idea as well, I do not see the use in it considering the people of the future could have no existing comprehension or ability to comprehend the stories and origins in it, rather I would bring something that teaches of cultural practices such as farming, health, and things of that nature so the Eloi, and possibly the Morlocks, could have a basis on which they could begin creating a structured and effective life on a personal level, rather than government like mentioned previously.
Cinematization seems to be the main reason for nearly all of the changes to the novels original storyline. Characters changed, scenes reworked, and storylines tweaked all done in order to connect to an audience that just simply would not understand and appreciate aspects that so many cherished in the novel.