Sensibly realising that science fiction is always a distortion of the time at which it was written rather than a prediction of the future, Radford aligns himself with Anthony Burgess' suggestion that the book only makes sense as 1948, with its food rationing, its housing shortages, bad cigarettes and Churchillian slogans. The look of the film certainly achieves the right rubble-strewn, monochrome period feel with precision and genuinely cinematic scope. Perhaps the greatest hurdle cleared, however, is the problem of incident. Radford's achievement is to have incorporated the impossible preaching and crazed ideas into the fabric with hardly any loose threads. The locations look very like modern Britain; and Burton at last found the one serious role for which he searched all his life. CPea.