Because nuclear war has caused vulcanism, the time machine is trapped underground and our hero must wait until the new mountain is worn away before he can stop. When he does, it's the year 800 thousand something and he finds an idyllic setting where everyone is blond and nobody has a care in the world. In fact, when one is drowning in the river, nobody in the world cares. Except George.
After rescuing her, because she's hot, he soon learns that the pretty, empty headed surface dwellers live in fear of the ugly troll-like people who live deep in underground datacenters. Or whatever. Time for a revolution!
Can't go wrong with George Pal. Visually appealing, family friendly, but with a touch of social commentary. The practical effects may appear slightly cheesy today, but they were state of the art, and quite visionary. It won the Oscar for effects and was nominated for a Hugo. The Twilight Zone won.
There is a panel on the time sled that reads invented by H. George Wells, meaning that the protagonist IS the author of the source material. That's a cool detail. Young hot Yvette Mimieux was underage when filming began and turned 18 during the shoot.
One can quibble about time travel paradoxes and issues with the story, but this is a story about man using his ingenuity for destruction and it's ultimate fate when he turns it's back on learning, so keep your nits! The movie is fairly thin and moralistic, but it is wonderfully crafted, visually interesting, and edited to perfection. Rod Taylor's performance was perfect for the story. AMRU 3.5.
"Which three books would you have taken?"