Ah . . . Time After Time. No, believe it or not, I’m not talking about Cyndi Lauper’s ’80s hit. But I understand that’s where most minds automatically go when they hear the words “time after time.” Honestly, it’s where my mind would go were it not for my dad. When I was about 10 years old, he introduced me to a movie that would become an instant favorite of mine: Nicholas Meyer’s Time After Time.
Well just yesterday, it was announced that Kevin Williamson, (the brain behind the likes of The Vampire Diaries and Dawson’s Creek) is creating a new television series for ABC based on the Time After Time novel as well the original 1979 Time After Time film (the one that just gets me). As much as I L-O-V-E Kevin Williamson and know he will create something amazing with this material, I want people to know about the OG film, especially before we dive into what will be a GREAT TV show.
Below are just a few reasons you need to check the movie out, like YESTERDAY (time travel humor . . .).
The Concept Is Oh-So Original
How many movies do we watch that we can call truly original? Well with this one, we absolutely can. The film follows H.G. Wells (the real novelist who wrote The Time Machine). In 1893 Wells creates a time machine and reveals this invention to friends when they’re over for dinner. Unbeknownst to Wells, one of his friends, John Leslie Stevenson, is actually Jack the Ripper (the famed 19th century serial killer). When the police trace Stevenson to Wells’ house, Stevenson steals the time machine and travels to 1979 San Francisco. When the time machine returns, Wells follows Stevenson, expecting to find a utopian society.
C’mon, tell me you don’t want to watch that?
Let’s talk about Malcolm McDowell
OK, so if you’ve only seen Malcolm as an old man, in Entourage or Easy A, your mind is going to be blown. As H.G. Wells, McDowell is charming, hilarious, genuine, and I have to say it, swoon worthy. Seriously, he is fantastic and his performance is a huge part of why this movie still works.
And now let’s talk about David Warner and Mary Steenburgen
This film also boasts wonderful supporting cast members. David Warner (who you might know as Lugjoy from Titanic) plays Jack the Ripper while Mary Steenburgen (in only her second film) plays Amy, the 1970’s career woman who Wells falls in love with. Both are absolutely fantastic. Mary also starred in another time travel picture a decade later, Back to the Future 3. Little side note/gossip: McDowell and Steenburgen met on this film, where they actually fell in love, got married and eventually had children. They’ve since broken up, but their chemistry in the movie is next level.
The score is worth writing home about
Miklos Rozsa wrote many terrific scores (Double Indemnity, Ben Hur, etc.) throughout his long career. Nicholas Meyer, Time after Time‘s director, spoke in the film’s commentary about wanting a symphonic old-school score to compliment his picture. Though the trend at the time was leaning towards pop scores, Meyer felt that a symphonic score better represented Wells’ 1893 sensibilities. And you have to applaud Meyer on this decision as Rozsa’s score is incredible. It brings the film to life and sticks in your head long after the movie is over.
The script is exceptional
It’s funny, thought-provoking, and romantic. To me, it’s a near perfect script. This was Nicholas Meyer’s first feature screenplay, as well as his first directorial effort. It definitely shows – in a good way. His film is pure heart, something that unfortunately can get lost in the work of auteurs more experienced. Some great one-liners as well . . .
The movie is a straight-up time capsule
I know. Ironic because the film involves time travel. But, really, it’s so cool to see 1970’s San Francisco. So many real life locations were used: The Palace of Fine Arts and Golden Gate Park being the most notable. There’s also a wonderful scene where Wells goes to a McDonald’s. He later refers to eat at a great Scottish place called McDougals.
The flick will become a favorite. I promise.
OK, I know what you’re thinking . . . how can I guarantee you will love this movie? I have
forced introduced tons of friends to this movie and I swear, no matter what their sensibilities, they all love it. It truly has something for everyone. So, sit back. Watch. Enjoy.
The vintage trailer is below.
[Images via Warner Brothers]