IDAHO TRANSFER, 1973
Starring: Kelley Bohanon, Kevin Hearst, Caroline Hildebrand and Keith Carradine
A group of student researches escape into the not too distant future in order to avoid their experiment being shut down. What they find in the future is a post-apocalyptic world where some kind of terrible ecological disaster has de-populated the world.
When I look back at the Top 100 Time Travel movie list that I wrote for WILDsound I regret some of my choices. A severely regret leaving out ‘12 Monkeys’, which is just a travesty as I’m sure it was in the top ten but must have gotten deleted instead of moved at some point… Anyway another thing I regret is putting ‘Idaho Transfer’ higher than such other films as ‘Biggles: Adventures in Time’, ‘The Sticky Fingers of Time’ and ‘Premonition.’
Ranked 67th was just too high for this film and whilst I applaud them for their message or I should say the message they were attempting to convey I just can’t help but be thoroughly disappointed with this film.
Directed by Peter Fonda and starring a lot of unknowns, with a few knowns; such as Keith Carradine this film is perhaps the most obscure of Peter Fonda’s films with a very strange plot and only a limited release. ‘Idaho Transfer’ gained a kind of fringe cult status almost instantly.
Karen (Kelley Bohanon) is a troubled teen, really troubled in fact as she has recently been released from a mental hospital. She is taken on a holiday to a government facility in Idaho where researchers were working on creating a matter transference device, but instead they have invented a time machine.
It is quickly discovered that at some point in the future an ecological disaster will wipe out most of humanity and destroy all of civilisation. It is also discovered that time travel is fatally bad for the health of anyone over the age of 20 and so the scientists decide to send a group of young people into the 21st century, past the ecological disaster, so that they may rebuild civilisation.
The problem with the plot of this film is that it gets less and less likely as it goes along. Why matter transference leads to time travel is unknown, why people over 20’s kidneys burst if they time travel isn’t really explained much further than the implication that they are just too old and the whole ‘B’ story, or perhaps, ‘C’ story of the government wanting to shut down the project just doesn’t sit right with me.
This is also one of those cult films where there is just something weird going on with the sound. Which can be very off putting, the voices aren’t quite out of sync but every now and then the mouth seems to move a frame or two faster than the voice. But I don’t know maybe I’ve just only ever seen bad copies.
Here is the praise for the film; the idea behind it, ‘we need to do something about how we are treating the environment’, whilst not that far ahead of its time, is an important one. And in the early 1970’s concerns about the energy crisis and climate change were only just getting started. This film was definitely one of the first, if not the first, eco-friendly film.
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