It’s 12:17 PM
Looking out at another grey and rainy day,I read this morning that 8.3% of America now has SNOW on the ground. It’s looking to be a rather potentially busy winter here in SE Michigan. The cheetah is once again camped out under the comforter and he’ll stay there for hours on end,very happy and very warm.
But yesterday I showed him the extra loot that our undercover Warner Brothers agent had risked his very life to send us,the wonderful and romantic “Time After Time”. I told the cheetah how I watched this in the theaters (of course I had to explain what that experience was like) and how it was one of the first films I saw that moved me to tears.
It was this film that led me to become a fan of Malcolm McDowell,David Warner and the lovely Mary Steenburgen.
Malcolm and Mary fell in love during the shooting of this film,they ended up getting married and having two children,sadly their romance ended in 1989 and they divorced in 1990. But when watching this movie,pay close attention to the two of them as their love was clearly evident onscreen.
The film opens in London 1893 and the infamous Jack the Ripper is terrorizing Whitechapel,he is killing prostitutes and the police are after him to no avail.
Meanwhile at H.G. Well’s lavish home,he is holding court with several of his peers,talking about how society is going to outgrow its violent tendencies.
Well’s close friend,Dr. John Leslie Stevenson arrives late to the festivities. Wells is happy to see his friend and waited for him before he shares his huge discovery,he has built a working time machine!! He takes his group downstairs where he shows them how it works. He sheepishly admits he hasn’t worked up the nerve to test it himself as the group goes back upstairs.
As the men are excitedly talking about the machine,Scotland Yard arrives,a woman was brutally killed but the Ripper had barely left the dying woman before a bobby walking his beat had discovered her and set up a alarm,the cops are swarming the area,looking hard for the mad killer.
Wells of course opens his home and the police discover Dr. Stevenson’s bag with bloody gloves and a wicked looking scalpel covered with blood as well. Stevenson is gone and at first everyone thinks he has escaped through the front door during the commotion but Wells realizes that he must have used his time machine to escape!!
As he ponders what to do,the machine returns as it was programmed to do if one doesn’t have a key. Wells looks inside and see that John has escaped to 1979. He quickly grabs as much jewelry and what little cash his housekeeper has and sets off to track down his friend and possible killer known as Jack the Ripper.
After a harrowing trip in the time machine,Wells,expecting to still be in London,is shocked to see he has landed in San Francisco. His study,including the machine is being shown as a exhibit and this is where he lands.
Of course Wells is overwhelmed by the modern world but he has sense enough to change in his money,his 15 pounds is worth 25 and that is where he picks up his first clue as to trace Stevenson. He starts what seems to be a fruitless quest to follow him by going to each bank,John’s clothes would stick out and he would be remembered.
He then finds a Chartered Bank of London and meets Amy Robbins,who does indeed recall helping someone who fits Stevenson’s description. Amy had directed Stevenson to a hotel,she gives Wells the name and he catches a cab (one of the funniest scenes in the movie) to the hotel. He does find Stevenson who is shocked at seeing Wells. The two men talk with Wells saying they don’t belong there while Stevenson,using the TV,shows Wells that his dream of Utopia is nothing but a pipe dream.
Stevenson needs the key that operates the time machine and the two men fight for it before a maid enters the room and Stevenson leaves empty handed….with Wells hot on his trail. Stevenson is hit by a car and the hospital tells Well that John is dead. Wells proceeds to meet up with Amy and they start a whirlwind romance…little do they do that John Stevenson is alive,well and quite cleverly hatching a plan to get that critical key….
The romance,suspense and thrills are building up to a heart wrenching finale and time is indeed very precious indeed……..
Just like so many older movies like “Time After Time”,I haven’t seen this in so many years. But I remembered everything instantly and I even had tears where I knew I would.
“Time After Time” was written and directed by Nicholas Meyer,who optioned the rights from a unpublished book by a college friend. Meyer had written the screenplay for a the wonderful Sherlock Holmes story “The Seven Percent Solution” in which he had garnered a Oscar nomination for. “Time After Time” was Meyer’s first film he had directed,it was because of how well it did both at the box office and at the various award shows that led Meyer to getting the Star Trek: Wrath of Khan directing job.
This is a magical movie….suspense,thrills,romance and bright spots of humor. The cast is perfect,Steenburgen just lights up the screen,her New York accent is spot on which is pretty good for a girl from Arkansas!!
Warner plays a killer who thinks he is in paradise but is fighting a losing battle to retain ANY humanity and of course Malcolm McDowell is perfect as H.G. Wells,truly a man out of his time and desperately wanting to have love but also wanting to escape the hell that is the modern world.
This was Malcolm’s first movie done in Hollywood and it is my personal favorite of his. He says on the commentary that this was the first film where played the hero and romantic lead and he quite enjoyed the change of pace.
This is why when I see some of the shit he does today,it frustrates me as a fan because he is so much better then crap like “Death Race 2050”.
I know they tried to make a TV series of this movie fairly recently and who in God’s name thought THAT was a good idea? This movie is perfect as it is.
Special note…Meyer has the 4-time Oscar winner Miklos Rozsa do the score for this movie and once again,he was spot on…the score for “Time After Time” is a masterpiece!
“Time After Time” is rated “PG” and has a run-time of 1 hour and 52 minutes. Special features include a full length commentary by Meyer and McDowell that is chocked full of great stories. It also includes the original trailer.
You can buy “Time After Time” from Warner Brothers Archives.
The cheetah and I give “Time After Time” two thumbs/4 paws straight up.
If you have seen this gem of a movie,drop a comment below and share your thoughts.