Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1979. Orion Pictures, Warner Bros.. Story by Karl Alexander, Steve Hayes, Screenplay by Nicholas Meyer. Cinematography by Paul Lohmann. Produced by Herb Jaffe. Music by Miklos Rozsa. Production Design by Edward C. Carfagno. Costume Design by Sal Anthony, Yvonne Kubis. Film Editing by Donn Cambern.
H.G. Wells announces at his dinner party that he has invented a time machine, which his Victorian gentlemen guests find difficult to believe. Even more preposterous is the discovery that the mysterious Jack The Ripper, who has captured London’s attention with his string of brutally murdered prostitutes, is among Wells’ guests and is found out as soon as the police arrive to arrest him. The murderer (played by David Warner) jumps into the machine and takes it eight decades into the future, failing to realize that the machine comes back and gives Wells (Malcolm McDowell) the chance to do the same thing. Now this proper Victorian gentleman is, through some strange jump in space as well as time, wandering the streets of 1979-era San Francisco and hoping to catch a man who, by the looks of the present-day culture, fits in a lot better than our dreaming scientists would have hoped (Wells spoke of the future as being that of a utopian society that would have done away with war, classism and the inequality of the sexes). When he meets a liberated bank clerk (Mary Steenburgen, wonderfully sexy in every scene), he finds an ally in his quest to save the city from the villainy of a madman. Nicholas Meyer’s enjoyable sci-fi romp has it all, humour, warmth and adventure, giving as much attention to the fish-out-of-water details of the story as he does the human chase. Those with a more romantic bent are better served by Somewhere In Time, while adults should be warned that there is content in this film that will be a bit too serious for the little ones.