A Less “Sci-fi” Time Travel Story

When you talk time travel movies, there is almost always some sort of time machine and Sci-fi aspect to it. (Back to the Future, The Terminator, Star Trek IV, Hot Tub Time Machine, Etc…). I guess to a degree the topic of today’s blog is less Sci-fi than any of them.

A friend on Facebook reminded me of a movie that has been a favorite for a long time, and one that was shot on location here in Michigan.

42 years ago today (October 3rd), Universal released SOMEWHERE IN TIME, then unceremoniously pulled it from domestic (USA) distribution a scant three (that’s right, 3) weeks later. However, it did show continuously in SE Asia and Japan for over 18 months. The movie was discovered by the masses less than a decade later when it began appearing on cable television.

To say it has become a cult (not a great word) classic is an understatement. It has the most therapeutic soundtrack ever composed. It truly is just beautiful.

It starts Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer. Basic plotline: In 1972, playwright Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) becomes fascinated by a photo of Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour), a turn-of-the-century stage actress, while staying at the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, Michigan. As Richard’s obsession grows, he learns from a friend that time travel may actually be possible through hypnosis. Richard travels in time to meet Elise, and the two appear destined to be together. However, Elise’s jealous manager (Christopher Plummer) attempts to keep them apart.

I don’t recall what grade I was in at the time, but there used to be this Weekly Reader that we would get in class. It was made of that “newspapery” material and featured news stories, articles, and occasionally a play.

The play was written out as a script. Our teacher would assign students to a role and we would read the play out loud in class. I will never forget reading this because I was the one reading the Christopher Reeve part.

There was a narrator who would describe action that was going on while characters didn’t have speaking lines. I remember thinking how cool this story was because the guy goes back in time. However, I will also never forget feeling embarrassed when the narrator read that I had to kiss Jane Seymour’s character. (Funny that I don’t recall the classmate who was reading her part.).

If you have never seen the film, I recommend it. It’s a great love story, with fantastic shots on Mackinaw Island, and (as stated before), an amazing soundtrack.

For thirty-one years there has been a reunion of the cast, crew, and fans of the movie every October at the Grand Hotel where much of it was filmed. I’ve never been there for this, but I’d certainly love to go.

Many of its most ardent fans are unaware of the book Bill Shepard wrote about the making of the movie 30 years ago. It is a must read. You can find it here:


7 thoughts on “A Less “Sci-fi” Time Travel Story

  1. It made it to my then-small town. I was in 9th grade and saw it at the theatre, which was across the street from our town mall. I was a huge fan of both actors after Superman & Battlestar Galactica. It was superbly acted with a melancholic feel. It also showed up on the heels of 1979’s The Two Worlds of Jenny Logan with Lindsay Wagner & Marc Singer, another time travel piece.

    I still have my ticket stub from the movie…somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

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