About Time (1962)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 8/5/15
Director: Owen Crump
Cast: Dr. Frank Baxter, Les Tremayne

This was the last of the Jack Warner/Owen Crump films in the Bell Labs Science Series. Walt Disney would produce the ninth, and final film, "The Restless Sea" in 1964. "About Time" explores the concept of time, which is something that I've always wrestled with. It begins with Dr. Frank Baxter travelling to the imaginary Planet Q, where the king (Les Tremayne) is trying to set his royal clock, but has no idea what time it is. As a starting point, the film discusses Man's early attempts to quantify time by the cycles of the sun and the moon. From there, the discovery of the pendulum as a time keeper led to more and more accurate timepieces, which became crucial for navigation at sea. Quartz crystals and atomic clocks added even more precision, and it was a surprise to see the cesium clock in Boulder, CO show up as the Earth's master clock. It was also fascinating to see how they use the stars to calibrate that clock, which I had never heard of. Everything leads up to a discussion about Einstein's Theory Of Relativity, which is broken down into simple animations that are fairly easy to digest. It's still really heady stuff, though, and will certainly make your head spin. Of all the Owen Crump films, this one is probably the most enjoyable, even though Dr. Baxter has little to do and seems fairly unengaged from the whole thing.