Somewhere in Time is part mystery, part time travel romance, and part historical drama. It was a small production that was not expected to succeed. The film, though never becoming as famous as it deserved, has still maintained a small dedicated following since its release. The screenplay was written by Richard Matheson who based it on his award-winning novel Bid Time Return. He apparently was inspired by a portrait of Maude Adams in a hotel much like his main character who also shares his first name. The film is best known for its wonderful score by John Barry which along with the performances of the two leads forms its emotional backbone.
A young playwright, Richard Collier, is approached by a mysterious old woman at an opening night of one of his plays. She presses an old watch into his hands and whispers “Come back to me.” Though perplexed at this strange encounter, he forgets about it. Some years later, after a breakup, he takes a holiday at a hotel and finds it to be the home of the lady who had given him the watch. After some investigation, he discovers that she, Elise Mckenna, was once a great actress who became reclusive in her later years. Fascinated by her portrait, he continues to research her life and stumbles on evidence that he somehow existed in a previous time. He eventually manages to travel back in time to 1912 and finds a way to meet Elise Mckenna.
This is a very romantic film made by people who were passionate about it. Given its nature, in the hands of others it might have become clichéd or unbelievable. However, the extremely competent performances from Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer are quite moving and at times enthralling. Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour have a great chemistry which sustains the film well. The beautiful swelling soundtrack by John Barry elevates the film even further especially in the incredibly moving final scene. The beautiful and haunting Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Rachmaninoff is also used throughout to fantastic effect. The film is quite dreamlike, making use of soft lighting frequently.
Generally, both time periods are done quite well with good costumes and convincing sets. The historical dialogue is a little stilted at first but improves as the film goes on. This may actually be intentional as a way of showing a contrast between different time periods. It is very much a film which operates on emotion. Despite having very little time to develop, the love story is convincing. It is quite an interesting take on time travel though this is not a story chiefly about time travel but love across time.
Somewhere in Time is a sweet, genuinely romantic film which I thoroughly recommend.
“You had me at hello.”
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My
feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me
to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
Photo Credits: Universal/ Anchor Bay Entertainment
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