Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) is a new playwright. He is celebrating the debut of his first play. An elderly woman comes up to him and hands him a gold pocket watch. She takes his hand and whispers to him “Come back to me.” Richard is astonished but he holds on to the watch.

Eight years later Richard is an established playwright suffering from a bit of a dry spell on his latest play. He decides to get away for a while. He finds himself at the Grand Hotel. On a whim he gets a room. While waiting for the dining room to open he wanders through the hotel’s “Hall of History” room. Richard becomes fascinated by a picture of a beautiful woman. There is no name plate on the photograph so he looks for the porter that showed him to his room, Arthur Biehl (Bill Erwin). Arthur has been with the hotel since 1910 when he was five. His father worked there. Arthur says the picture is of Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour). She was a famous actress of the time and starred in a play at the hotel’s playhouse.

Richard becomes obsessed with Elise and researches her life. He visits her former housekeeper Laura Roberts (Teresa Wright). He learns that Elise was interested in time travel and has a book written by Dr. Gerald Finney (George Voskovec). He goes to see Dr. Finney. His question to the professor is, “Is time travel possible?” Dr. Finney believes that it is possible, under specific conditions, to actually travel back in time. He says that you must remove everything from your surroundings that relate to the current time. Then you need to put yourself in a state of self hypnosis. You must convince yourself that you are actually back in time for it to work. He warns, however, that the process takes a lot out of you.

Richard tries to replicate the surroundings of his hotel room to those of 1912, the date he wants to go back to. His efforts are useless. Becoming frustrated Richard combs the attic of the hotel looking for inspiration. He finds the hotel guest book from the date he is looking to travel to. In it he finds his own signature. He knows now that he can succeed in his quest. Once again in his hotel room Richard concentrates.

The next time he opens his eyes he is in 1912. He leaves his room and searches for Elise. Someone tells him she may be out by the lake. Richard sees her walking by the lake, looking off into the distance. She turns and looks at him.

“Somewhere In Time” was released in 1980 and was directed by Jeannot Szwarc. The film is based on the novel “Bid Time Return” by Richard Matheson. Matheson also wrote the screenplay. The movie is basically a romantic fantasy and little bit of a science fiction film. The movie was filmed on location at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. Granted it’s not the most scientific method of time travel but it seems to have worked for Richard Collier.

The film got some bad reviews and didn’t do too well at the box office and that’s too bad. It is a charming film. Some of the box office problems could have been attributed to the fact that “The Blues Brothers” 1980 was released the same week. Add to that there was an actor’s strike going on so Jane and Chris were not allowed to publicize the film.

During the filming the local cinema ran Reeve’s latest movie “Superman” 1978. Many of the cast and crew of “Somewhere In Time” went to see it. During the screening of the film the sound went out. Reeve stood up in the audience and delivered all the lines. I imagine it was an interesting way to see a film.

Director Jeannot Szwarc was having some problems directing Reeves and Plummer since they both have the first name Chris. To avoid having both respond he began calling Christopher Plummer “Mr. Plummer”. Christopher Reeve he called “Bigfoot”.

Due to the lack of publicity and the poor reviews the film could have ended up in obscurity. Fortunately the movie has a nice little cult following so it remains very much with us. There is even a fan club for the movie and every year they have a reunion at the Grand Hotel where the movie was filmed. They have an Edwardian themed costume ball. The global fan club called INSITE (International Network of “Somewhere In Time Enthusiasts”) was created by Bill Shepard in 1990. Their mission statement is to "Honor the film, and those responsible for its creation, to Inform members about all aspects of it, to enhance their appreciation of it, as well as to influence public and media perception of the film, to assure its recognition as the classic we know it to be."

If you like love stories, this is a real heart wrencher. Between Rachmaninoff and the performances of Seymour and Reeves, not to mention the lavish historical setting, the film delivers everything you would want in a historical romance story.

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