Reviewed by: Debbie James
|Featuring:||Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plummer, Teresa Wright, Bill Erwin, George Voskovec, Susan French, John Alvin, Eddra Gale|
|Distributor:||Universal City Studios, Inc.|
“Somewhere in Time” is being re-released in selected theaters across the U.S. My husband and I were fortunate enough to get an invitation to Universal’s 20th Anniversary private showing of this movie in New York City. It was through an organization called INSITE (International Network of Somewhere In Time Enthusiasts). In addition to the media, Universal Studio executives, and INSITE members present, special guests for the evening were actors Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Teresa Wright, and producer Steven Simon. Prior to the showing of the movie all special guests spoke to the audience of their love for the movie, with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour relating that it was a high point in their careers and all agreeing that it was a labor of love, and not just another job.
In the movie “Somewhere in Time”, Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) is a successful Chicago playwright who gets frustrated during a phase of writer’s block, and takes off for parts unknown. He ends up at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan, where he is captivated by a stunningly beautiful portrait on display at the hotel. He discovers that she was a famous actress who’d performed at the hotel theater sixty years ago and becomes obsessed with finding out any thing he can about her.
He learns of a way that he can transport himself back in time from a former professor of his from college and spends much energy attempting to travel to 1912 where he hopes to meet the woman in the portrait, Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour). The time-travel method used here is rather unusual. There are no special effects, machines, gadgets, or surreal images. He is transported into another time simply by surrounding himself with articles of that time period and willing himself there. The method used is so successful, that the viewer feels as if he’s making the trip along with Richard Collier.
There isn’t much offensive material in this movie. Language is mild (5 words) and there are 8 uses of “God” or “Christ.” There is one instance of implied premarital sex (characters have bare shoulders in bed).
The filming location was spectacular (the magnificent Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan). Amazingly, only a few scenes were shot in Chicago; the rest of the filming took place on the island. The soundtrack by John Barry was the most moving we’d ever heard and, coupled with an incredible piece of music by Rachmaninoff, sets the mood of the movie. The costuming was nominated for an Oscar, but lost to “Tess” that year. Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour have great chemistry on-screen and they are very believable as the characters they portray.
The first time we saw this movie was in 1981 on cable and we were immediately captivated by it. We were so taken with this movie and its setting that we dreamed of someday going to Mackinac Island and staying at the Grand Hotel. And, just recently, we realized that dream. On Mackinac Island, no automobiles are permitted and you truly feel like you’ve stepped into another time. The only transportation available are horses, bicycles, and walking. (Special permission was obtained for automobiles in the movie). The Grand Hotel is brimming with antiques and colorful, luxurious decor. It is such a relaxing and beautiful place. Just imagine falling asleep to the sound of the waves on the shore and horses clip-clopping by the hotel, and the fresh breeze gently fluffing the curtains! The movie is very popular on the island (understandably so, since the island has obviously benefited from the tourism the movie has generated). The “Somewhere in Time” fan club (INSITE) meets at the Grand Hotel every October for their annual convention.
“Somewhere in Time” received mostly bad reviews during its brief three-week run in the theaters, yet has amassed quite a following and has risen to cult-status. It is one of the few movies which has generated a fan club. Despite the negative reviews, “Somewhere in Time” fans agree… it is a classic.