If you are looking for a VHS or R0 DVD copy of the film contact me.
Cast
| Classic Lines | DVD | Errors | Foreign Titles | Formats | Interviews | Musical | News | Notes | Pictures | Quotes | Summary - Official | My Summary | My Review | Taglines

Cast

Character Actor
H.G. (Herbert George) Wells Malcolm McDowell
John Lesley Stevenson/The Ripper David Warner
Amy Robbins Mary Steenburgen
Lt. Mitchell Charles Cioffi
Assistant Kent Williams
Mrs. Turner Andonia Katsaros
Shirley Patti D'arbanville
Edwards Shirley James Garrett
Harding Keith McConnell
Richardson Leo Lewis
McKay Byron Webster
Jenny Karin Mary Shea
Carol Geraldine Baron
Inspector Gregson Laurie Main
Adams Joseph Maher
Sergeant Michael Evans
Jeweler Ray Reinhardt
Bank Officer Bob Shaw
Clergyman Stu Klitsner
Diner Nicholas Shields
Cab Driver Gene Hartline
Bobby Clement St. George
Dolores Shirley Marchant
Guard Larry J. Blake
Nurse Antonie Becker
2nd Nurse Hilda Haynes
Booking Cop Reed Morgan
London Bobby Mike Gainey
1st Cop Jim Haynie
2nd Cop Wayne Storm
3rd Cop John Colton
Boy at Museum Corey Feldman
Man James Cranna
4th Cop Earl Nichols
Man Lou Felder
Pawnbroker Bill Bradley
Newscaster Clete Roberts
Maid Rita Conde
Woman Cop Gail Hyatt
Docent Shelley Hack
Man on Street Dan Leegant
Woman Regina V. Waldron
Woman Liz Roberson  
Man Anthony Gordon
Man Doug Morrisson
5th Cop Glenn Carlson

Written and Directed by Nicholas Meyer
Story by Karl Alexander & Steve Hayes

Classic Lines

"Pomme frites! 'Fries' are pomme frites!"
"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas."
"Do you still insist that this is all poppycock?"
"I have to write all these books, whatever the are. Hopefully fiction."
Jack the Ripper
"Ninety years ago I was a freak. Now I'm an amateur."

DVD

Released on August 6th, 2002. WB 22017
Region 1, PG, Color/112 Mins. Dolby Digital (English: Dolby Surround Stereo, Français Mono), Close Captioned, Widescreen (Letterbox) 2.35:1
Special Features:
Feature-length commentary by Malcolm McDowell and writer/director Nicholas Meyer
"It's About Time" Essay
Theatrical Trailers
Time After Time (1979)
The Time Machine (1960)
The Time Machine (2002)
Interactive Menus
Cast/Director Film Highlights
Scene Access
Languages: English & Français
Subtitles: English, Français, Español & Português.

Note: It was originally announced that David Warner would be on the commentary. Also Mary did a video segment for the movie during Malcolm's LA tribute that should have been added.

Scene Index
1. Credits.
2. Friends call me Jack.
3. The doctor is late.
4. The time machine.
5. How each other thinks.
6. A shocking discovery.
7. Back from the future.
8. Bound for utopia.
9. Passage of time.
10. Before - and after - his time.
11. Making notes, causing a stir.
12. Fast food; gentleman's word.
13. Herbert meets Amy.
14. "I'm home."
15. The chase.
16. John Doe is dead.
17. A nervous lunch.
18. Afternoon with Amy.
19. Evening plans.
20. Romance; stalking predator.
21. Death and disbelief.
22. Stevenson's threat.
23. Sherlock Holmes.
24. Unbelievable truth.
25. Later than you think.
26. Amy's future shock.
27. Still killing.
28. Too late.
29. Armed - and defenseless.
30. Time is running out.
31. Fifth victim.
32. A hostage.
33. Race to the museum.
34. Checkmate.
35. Fellow travelers.
36. Coda and End Credits. 

Errors

Scan
At 50:07 HG is in the revolving restaurant holding a spoon straight across with ice cream on it. Yet 1 second later at 50:08 the spoon is pointing down and is empty.

Scan
At 1:11:52 in the police station when HG is sitting at the desk giving a description of the ripper and there's a photo in a frame of a boy on the desk in front of him. At 1:12:03 the angle switches and it is gone.

Scan
At 1:24.42 HG is sitting at Amy's place with the newspaper from the future showing her killed. It is folded in half on the table. Then at 1:24.46 the paper is shown fully open.

Scan
At 1:36:24 HG is being questioned at the station trying to prove Amy will be murdered by showing the same newspaper (it must be cursed) to the cop. The cop throws it on the table, yet 2 seconds later at 1:36:26 he's holding it again.

Scan
As 1:35:46 and for the whole interrogation scene HG is at the side of the table away from the door and the cop is on the other side. Yet at 1:38:21 their places at the table have suddenly reversed, there is an extra coffee cup and the stenographer is gone. The shot was mistakenly flipped during editing.

Foreign Titles

Germany - Flucht in die Zukunft
Sweden - Tidsjakten

Formats

16 mm / Beta / LD / VHS - PAL / VHS - NTSC / DVD R1

Interviews

Feb 1980 - Photoplay

Musical

Time After Time Becomes a Musical
Will N. Stape | SyFy Portal 1/29/08

    Stephen Cole is working on Time After Time, a stage musical based on the novel written by Karl Alexander and film directed by Nicholas Meyer which starred Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen as a time-crossed couple destined to be together despite centuries of distance between them. After meeting a colleague, Cole started musing about a new direction for his own work and the stage in general. "I met a director who was interested in a sci-fi musical, so I considered 'The Time Machine' and told him to watch 'Time After Time' for reference," Cole told SyFy Portal's Will N. Stape. "Eventually I realized a musical with Morlocks would be a surefire flop and became more enamored with Meyer's film. Then I got the rights."
    Despite the movie's charm, "Time After Time" wasn't love at first sight for Cole. "Little by little I fell in love with the characters and realized I had to fill the holes left in the film." With time travel, plot holes can be compounded. Since Cole's collaborator Jeffrey Saver had to set it all to music, on what can be a confining stage, it was essential things change from movie to state. "The biggest hole was why Amy would take a valium on the night she was supposed to be killed and why she's in her apartment asleep when Jack the Ripper is about to show up," Cole said. "There are several car chases that also cover holes. Since there are no car chases on the stage, everything had to make perfect sense. I have tried to make the scene surrounding Amy's imminent demise more exciting as well as musical and also tie it into the bigger love story themes."
    Casting can mean everything to a production. Malcolm McDowell as H.G. Wells, Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen as Amy Robbins, and always intense David Warner playing Jack The Ripper personified these characters vividly on film. Cole had no trouble referring back to them while creating his play. "The film cast is always in our heads when we're working on the show," he said. "They were ideal at the time and marvelous. Their voices are with me always. Except for H.G., the characters have been deepened and made richer in the musical, with backstory for Jack clearing up who and why he is what he is. Amy is more contemporary as well." Finding as good original actors takes time.
    "We've done developmental reading with ideal people. Christian Borle, who's now a Broadway star in 'Legally Blonde,' is still ideal for HG as he sings brilliantly, is funny, is adorable, but not classically handsome," Cole said. "He's a quirky funny looking little guy who could be from another time. Christopher Fitzgerald who currently stars in 'Young Frankenstein' as Igor is another good choice. "Amys are hard. We have had some great ones ranging from Sally Mayes to Lauren Kennedy who just starred in 'Spamalot.' I know we'll discover a new girl. Having just done a reading at Northwestern with a complete newcomer [a student] who was brilliant, I don't think we will have trouble finding a fresh face." Considering the villain - legendary Jack The Ripper - does Cole envision dream casting?
    "Jack has been played in the past by Keith Carradine and Brian Noonan, but my top current choice would be Raoul Esparza who recently starred in 'Company' on Broadway. Dreaming big? Cinema's Sweeney Todd - Johnny Depp." Other changes from the source material focus more on relevant story trappings, with time and location being changed from 1970s San Francisco to present day New York City.
    "We have set the show one year into the future i.e. 2009. We also changed locale to NYC because it's best to write where you know," Cole said. "I thought the shock of H.G. in NYC would be greater than San Francisco. NYC is such an extremely modern ever-changing city for him to mistake for 'Utopia.' It's also more fun to satirize our own time" as the film and novel did. The Great White Way doesn't exactly embrace speculative or science-fiction. Nonetheless with hit shows like "Tommy," "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Rocky Horror Picture Show," Broadway has delved into the outer reaches of the unknown. Despite a dearth of Sci-Fi shows or because of it, Cole is confident "Time After Time" will stand out and on its own. "I don't think there has been another show like this," he said. "I didn't fear the material because it ultimately is so 'human' with such universal themes, it wouldn't matter where and when it was set."
    Although not a done deal yet, the show is on a fast track and making progress. "We have done several readings and the show is ready for a full fledged production," Cole said. "We have a prominent director interested who's chomping at the bit and a producer with money. We're looking for a proper venue to try it out and work on it. Musicals are tough to get right and the more work you can do in front of a real audience the better."
    Cole's musical composer and collaborator Jeffrey Saver, a Broadway veteran as conductor and arranger, also teamed with Cole on Dodsworth, the adaptation of the Sinclair Lewis novel and was produced starring television's own Barney Miller, veteran actor Hal Linden. It's been a lengthy journey for the musical version of "Time After Time," but there's still a long road ahead. Although it appears for Stephen Cole, Jeffrey Saver and their producers, the show title poetically encourages them and says it all neatly. It may take a bit of doing, or time after time, but H.G. and Amy's love story will someday land on Broadway.

News

3/1/09

There is a new Time After Time CD. The “true’ score arrives via a Silver Age Classics release from Film Score Monthly Records, a CD that makes a revelation that the original Cross release was actually a re-recording, something common for many soundtracks until relatively recently. It’s new presentation is a marked improvement in every respect, offering the complete, original Burbank sessions (as opposed to the re-do’s more-than respectable performance in London), exceptional liner notes by Jeff Bond and Frank K. DeWald, as well as writer-director Nicholas Meyers’ reminiscences of working with Rozsa.

9/5/08

On 9/5 at the American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre - 1328 Montana Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90403, writer-director Nicholas Meyer will be offering live commentary Friday evening during the screening of his Time After Time.

Notes

Pictures

Film
HG ordering at McDonalds
HG eating fries and checking out the table

DVD
DVD
DVD Cover - Front
DVD Cover - Back

DVD Inside - HG + Amy in the time machine

Main Menu

Scene Selection 1

Special Features

Languages 1

Languages 2

VHS
HG Wells and Amy from VHS Back

VHS Cover - Front

VHS Cover - Back

Quotes

"The odd little pearl that comes my way, you seize on it and you say thank you very much and it was great fun, you know, getting away with doing old Kirk in (Star Trek Generations). I think he'd had a good run anyway and it was time to move on. So that was fun. And Time After Time was a beautiful film and I got two beautiful children out of that particular show, so I'm very fond of that one. That's no fiction for me. And so there you go. Life goes on." Malcolm 5/07

VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 80's - Cyndi Lauper mentions seeing Time After Time in the TV Guide and that's how she came up with the song. 11/06.

 "I did a picture I loved called Time After Time, and the people who saw it loved it. We had a big opening in Toronto at the Festival of Festivals - huge - and they gave us a fabulous reception. Great city, Toronto - Mary and I love it there. Great restaurants, great people. The studio hired these so-called 'experts' to tell them how to market the film. And these silly asses took a poll to determine a 'recognition' factor. And more people recognized Jack The Ripper, which was David Warner's role in the movie, than H.G. Wells, who I played in the movie. Hardly anyone recognized the name H.G. Wells, in fact.
    "So they decided to go with a campaign that stressed Jack The Ripper, which was all well and good except that people didn't want to see another movie about Jack The Ripper, and they stayed away in droves. I've got a big piece of that film, but I haven't seen a penny, and I probably never will," he adds with a sigh. "However, I did meet my wife making that movie, so I don't really mind."
- Toronto Sun Sunday Showcase 5/23/83

"I got to be the hero in that one. It's a very whimsical part, a wonderful part, H.G. running after Jack the Ripper [David Warner] and meeting this modern woman [Mary Steenburgen]. Of course, it's very special to me because I met Mary, we got married, and we had two children. Even though we're not together now, she is the mother of my children and that film is where we met. It's also a damned good film." - Starlog 4/95

"McDowell didn't want to wear glasses as Wells. He felt he acted with his eyes, and he wanted them to be seen. I promised him his eyes would be seen. I pointed out to him that Rick Dreyfuss just won the Academy Award the year before in a role where he wore glasses the whole time. And I also felt that Malcolm's eyes have a tendency to bulge slightly. I think they're very beautiful eyes, but if you look at them for the whole movie, there's no space to play with. I wanted to keep them under wraps and use them when I thought they would have a lot of effect. I said, 'Boy, when we take off those glasses, those eyes it'll be electric.'" - Nicholas Meyer 1980

Summary - Official

A chase through time - to catch Jack the Ripper!
London, 1983: A terror-stricken city stalked by a demented killer whose macabre nickname would live for generations to come...and the home of a genius who would astound the world with a visionary fiction called The Time Machine.
    But what if H.G. Wells' celebrated time machine wasn't fiction at all? What if elusive Jack the Ripper escaped capture by fleeing his own time to take refuge in ours - with Wells himself in desperate pursuit Time After Time gives the thrilling answers.
    From screenwriter/director Nicholas Meyer, the best-selling author of The Seven-Percent Solution and director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and The Day After, comes the ingenious entertainment brimming with shivery suspense and sly social comment. Time-traveling into modern-day San Francisco, the Ripper (David Warner) finds the chaos and violence of our age to his liking. "I'm home," he says. "Ninety years ago I was a freak. Now I'm an amateur." Wells (Malcolm McDowell) is less pleased with the brave new world of Big Macs and television, a society far different from the utopia he'd envisioned. But he is delighted by the emancipation of women, particularly by a very emancipated - and irresistible - banker (Mary Steenburgen).
    Time After Time has too much mystery, excitement, romance and fun for just one viewing. So enjoy it...newly issued in HiFi Stereo...time after time!

My Summary

    The story opens in London, 1893. A drunken prostitute stumbles out of a bar at night and heads for home. A man is following her and when she notices him, she isn't scared. He offers her a gold piece for sex and she is more than willing to oblige. She tells him her place isn't far, but he points to a nearby alleyway instead. Once again, she has no problem with this. She leans up against the wall and raises her skirt for him to enter. He places a musical pocket watch on a dumpster beside her for mood music. She asks his name and he says John, but his friends call him Jack (Jack the Ripper).  They start to have sex and when he is finished he guts her with a knife. This is more heard then seen. The man leaves the alley and heads off. Moments later a policeman is passing by and finds the girl and then races after the man to no avail.
    Meanwhile not so far away, H.G. Wells is having a dinner party with friends to unveil his latest invention. Dinner is over and the men are anxious to hear what the invention is all about. H.G. refuses to tell them until the last guest arrives. Soon after the final guest, Dr. John Lesley Stevenson, does arrive. H.G. offers him some food, but he settles for brandy and heads over to a chess board with a game he has in progress with H.G. The men tell him there is no time for games as H.G. was about to unveil his new invention. H.G. tells them he has to show them now because he is going away. They think he means going to Scotland and he tells them he won't even be leaving the house. John is intrigued and H.G. unrolls a huge set of blueprints and tosses it on the table in front of them. They are all awed by what they see, but think he is playing a joke on them when he says it is a time machine. They are even more incredulous when he tells him it is already built.
    He takes the group down in the basement and shows off electricity and the machine. It is powered by the sun and is capable of going in the past or in the future. The group is impressed, but doesn't believe it will work. He explains how removing a pin in the back will cause the person to be trapped in time if it is removed. If the machine heads to the west it goes to the past, east to the future and if the key isn't used, then the machine will come back automatically to where it left, trapping the person in time. Only H.G. has the key.
    They go back upstairs and John and H.G. finish their chess game. For the countless time, John has beaten him again. He says it is because he knows how he thinks. H.G. replies that someday he'll know how John thinks. H.G. is asked if he has tried the machine yet and he explains he hasn't gotten up the nerve, but he will soon. They also ask him which way in time will he go. H.G. tells him the future, because in 30 years the world will be a utopia. Man will have advanced so far that all wars will have stopped and all illnesses will have been cured. Just then H.G.'s housekeeper announces that two men from Scotland Yard are at the door. The men tell H.G. that the ripper has struck again and is in the area as they speak. They ask if they can search around and of course he agrees. The guests start to come out of the study to see what is going on and can't believe the news because it has been almost five years since the ripper struck. A half dozen policemen go through the house and one finds the doctor's bag in the closet. When he opens it he finds bloody gloves and H.G. tells them it is John's bag. The men search the house everywhere, but John is nowhere to be found. They think he must have snuck by them and exit the house to look and promise a police escort for all the men from the party.
    H.G. cannot understand it. Where could he have gone? He also cannot believe that one of his closest friends is the ripper. His housekeeper tells him there was no way for John to have gotten by them and then it hits him. H.G. runs downstairs only to find that the time machine has gone. He has unleashed the ripper in time. He slumps down on the stairs dejected and defeated. Soon after there is a swirling of air and the appearance of many colored lights. Since H.G. had the key, the machine has returned to him, it worked! The machine is boiling hot to the touch, but he steps inside and sees that John went to November 5, 1979 - 86 years in the future.  He gathers up as much money as he has and asks to borrow from the housekeeper as well. He also grabs jewels and gold in case he has to "trade with the natives."
    With no time to waste or to pack any clothes he heads off in pursuit. The time it takes to travel  is two years per minute so he calculates his arrival time in 45 minutes. He goes through a vortex of time and is able to hear famous speeches from the years by people like Neil Armstrong, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Douglas MacArthur, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Richard Nixon. There are also sounds of wars and news growing increasingly violent.. He awakes a bit disheveled and disorganized in the machine and there is a young boy pointing at him telling his mom there is a man inside. Then the guard is calling to him to get out of there as he isn't supposed to be there. He exits to find himself in the middle of a museum exhibit of his work. As he leaves he notices a sign about the machine that reads it was unknown if it ever worked. He looks around and notices all manner of things from his house including his desk. Since his glasses are broken he walks over to his desk and opens a drawer. After all this time his spare pair of glasses still remain and he switches them for the broken pair. He also sees the clock on the wall reads 2:30 which is way ahead of what he thought it would be and adjusts his watch accordingly. The machine hasn't gone anywhere, he just wound up where the machine was - which happened to be a museum. As he goes down the steps we see a big banner on the museum "H.G. Wells - A Man Before His Time - October-December 1979. 10:00 am to 9:00 pm"  
    As he exits he passes a group of Hare Krishnas and starts to take notes in his notepad. He pays too much attention to a woman in see through pants and walks in front of two cars which crash into each other causing him to lose his notepad. He passes by a newspaper machine and doesn't get the headline "Colts Maul Rams" and asks people what city he is in. Since he is still dressed in 19th century attire and asking a dumb question nobody will answer him. He goes back to the newspaper and looks for the title and sees "San Francisco Examiner". Now he knows why the time changed so much. He goes to a nearby bank to she how much he can get for the £15 he has. He is told it is worth $25 and H.G. asks if another man looking like him had been there recently and he tells him no. With his money he sets out to find something to eat and ends up at McDonalds, over 25 Billion served! He doesn't know what to do so he listens to the gruff voiced man in front of him on line and then copies his voice and order exactly, Big Mac, Fries and a Coke - except for substituting tea for Coke. He sits down to eat and is delighted to find out the French Fries are pomme frites and eats them all. He is also intrigued by the plastic table and causes people sitting nearby to stare at him. He tells them he hasn't seen wood like that before.
    Upon leaving he heads to a pawn shop to get some big money for his jewelry. The old Jewish owner is very impressed at the piece and tells him it is worth $6,000. He also says he hasn't seen quality like that since before the war. "War?" H.G. asks surprised since he thought there would be no more wars. The jeweler tells him the Second World War. "The second!?" H.G. is horrified to hear. Yes,  World War II he tells him which upsets H.G. even more and then he notices the number tattooed on the mans' arm.  H.G. asks him how much he will give him for the piece and the man says he can't give him top dollar and H.G. says that is OK. He offers him $4000 and he accepts. The man asks for ID and H.G. doesn't know what he means. Drivers license or credit card  - anything to prove who he is and that the items aren't stolen. H.G. tells him he doesn't have anything like that and he gives him his word as a gentleman that he is the owner. The jeweler is stunned. What is this talk about giving his word on something? He says he can run it through the computer to see if it is stolen and they can know in a week. H.G. is disgusted that a man's word was no longer worth anything and that he doesn't have a week. He eventually finds another pawn shop and is able to get $400 for some of his jewelry. He is also amazed to notice the huge racks of guns behind him.
    H.G. heads out and searches every bank in town for a foreign currency exchange that has seen John. After searching all day he is worn out and tired and hasn't learned anything about Stevenson's whereabouts. He goes to a church for a place to sleep, "I don't believe you exist," he looks up to the sky, "but if you do, please give me a place to stay and I'll be gone tomorrow." He nods off, but soon after a priest tells him they are closing up and he has to leave. He winds up being forced to sleep on a park bench for the night.
    The next day he finally finds the bank he is looking for - The Chartered Bank of London. He goes up to the counter and is surprised to find a woman sitting there. She asks if she can help him and he wonders if there is a gentleman to help him. She tells him she has worked for three years to get to this position and is fully qualified. He tells her he always did believe in woman's lib and now here it is. She asks what has stopped him from believing. He realizes he shouldn't continue and asks about John once again and she tells him that yes, the man was here. H.G. asks if she knew where he went as they were tourists who became separated. She says in fact she does, she recommended the Hyatt on Drum Street. He asks her for directions and she writes them on the back of her business card. She tells him if he would like her to show him the town to give her a call. He asks what that means. You know, give me a ring, and she makes motions of dialing a phone. He awkwardly nods and heads out. Carol who works next to Amy busts on her for trying to pick up customers at work. She doesn't care because she thinks he is cute and he isn't gay and has a sweet voice.
    Outside H.G. watches a women take off her hat and wave it while standing on one leg to hail a cab. This works, so H.G. copies her moves exactly looking quite funny. A blue cab speeds on over and asks him what's up, doc? At first he doesn't under stand, but says, "Take me as fast as you can to the Hyatt..." That's all he needs to say and the cab is off like a bullet. He quickly makes his way up to John's room and tricks him by knocking on his door and claims it is breakfast. John has shaved and bought a new suit, quickly fitting in with the 20th century. He is beyond surprised to see H.G. standing there. He says he is the last person on earth he would have ever believed to be standing there when he opened the door. He invites him in and sits on the bed. John didn't believe in the machine at first, but compliments him, calling him the Columbus of his age. H.G. tells him he has to go back with him and doesn't belong there. John tells him that it is H.G. who does not belong there and in fact he is home. He motions for him to sit down on the bed next to him as he shows him the TV. He turns it on and randomly switches channels - the news tells how Palestinian terrorists have begun killing Israeli school children, Jimi Hendrix smashes his guitar, a mayor is shot dead, a man is beaten and is bloody, tanks are shooting and football. In his time he was a freak, now John is an amateur and the world has passed him by with it's violence. H.G. was wrong, there is no utopia. H.G. smacks him, proving him right. John tells him he wants to key to the machine so he can't pursue him endlessly through time. H.G. feigns innocence, but John isn't falling for it. He takes H.G.'s glasses and punches him in the stomach then knocks him to the ground. Before he can get the key though a maid enters offering to clean the room and sees the scuffle. John is spooked and gets up and takes off.
    H.G. retrieves his glasses, but forgets his hat and is off.  He gets in a glass elevator and sees John in the next elevator heading down. They run out of the lobby and into a multi level shopping mall. John is ahead of him at every step, but H.G. gets closer and closer to catching him. He eventually heads out into the street and when John looks back he doesn't see the car coming and it hits him. He is ambulanced off to the nearest hospital.
    H.G. follows on foot and enters the emergency room and it is pure chaos, people are everywhere and many are bleeding. He asks the nurse at the desk what has happened to John Stevenson, but there is no one by that name. He tries describing him to her, but this doesn't help either. Another nurse overhears this and tells him she was there when the man was brought in. They didn't know his name so they listed him as John Doe. H.G. wants to see him, but she tells him he died. He explains that isn't possible because he just saw him and he was still moving. She says it was internal injuries and that happens sometimes. He wants to see they body, but since he isn't family she won't let him.
    He takes the bus back to the Bank of London and bumps into a man outside. During the commotion Carol notices this and points him out to Amy. She literally runs out to meet him and asks if he wants to have lunch and he says that would be fine. She tells him that she just has to get her things and to wait there for her. She runs in, grabs her coat and purse and runs back out to him, but acts like she wasn't running around. She asks him where he wants to go and he tells her that it is her city and for her to choose.
    She takes him to a giant revolving restaurant and he is a bit nervous about it. She says there have been no problems since the Big One. "Big One?" he asks. She can't believe he doesn't know about the big earthquake from 1906.  He also isn't sure what the food is, but finds it enjoyable. He told her the last place he had eaten was Scottish, MacDougals (McDonald's). She starts telling him how she gets turned on by certain things, but isn't a lesbian and hasn't had sex in a while and about sex on the first date - just rambling on and on. He is quite shocked to hear a woman speaking like this and doesn't know what to say. She admits when she gets nervous she tends to carry on. He is surprised and asks her if he makes her nervous and she admits she does. He remarks at how great the view is and she says you can see almost everything except for the Golden Gate. He asks what that is and she can't understand why a tourist would pick San Francisco and not know of or have seen any of the famous landmarks.
    After lunch she takes him for a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and is he is very interested in learning how the motor car works. He also seems to be checking out her legs. She takes him to the Redwood Forest and mentions about her husband and how used to be a photographer during the war. He says, "Ah, World War II." She wonders how old does her think she is. He then says oh, World War III. She laughs and says Vietnam. He asks about her husband and she says she was divorced because he didn't want her to have a career. She asks him if he had a wife. He tells her if he did, he wouldn't be here with her. He too was divorced because his wife didn't want him to be an inventor, but to just be routine. She admits he is anything but that. After that she takes him to a movie, "Exorcist IV", and there is lots of loud gunfire. She leans over to tell him something, but he is gone. She then notices he is hiding down on the floor. When they leave they have already spent the entire afternoon together and she asks him if he had any dinner plans if he was sick of her already. He says he isn't and he has no plans.
    They go to the market and buy some things and go back to her place. He is impressed by some architecture he thinks is like Marble - she tells him it is plaster and was made a long time ago for the Pan American Exhibition. They unknowingly pass by a newspaper machine which has the headline about a prostitute that was killed. They get to her apartment and she happily makes dinner for him. She gets it started and he checks things out. The phone rings and it is Carol. She wants to know what happened with the date since she never came back to work. She tells him it is still ongoing and she would call her back. While things are cooking she tells him she wants to go and change out of her works clothes if he doesn't mind. He doesn't and proceeds to stick a spoon down the garbage disposal to see how it works. 
    They have a romantic candlelight dinner because she is trying so hard to seduce him. At the same time we see the ripper is on the prowl for another victim. Since H.G. is a proper gentleman he makes no move. Afterwards they are sitting on opposite sides of the couch and Amy has had enough. She tells him if he doesn't take her in his arms she will scream. He leans over to do so, but her mouth is there for a kiss and they start slow, but begin to get passionate. He tells her he doesn't want to impose anything on her and she tells him that she is practically raping him and he agrees.
    At 7 am the next morning they are shown next to each other in bed. It is obvious they have spent the night together. She notices that it has gotten late and she has to hurry off to work. Just then there is an announcement on the radio about a second prostitute that was murdered and H.G. now knows that John wasn't killed in the car accident. He wants to go out and find him, but Amy tells him he has no way of knowing where to look and she doesn't want to lose him. She tells him to call the police. He says they would never believe him and he can't even tell her the whole truth because she would never believe him. She said she would. He tells her that he is working in conjunction with Scotland Yard to catch him because he is a criminal. Now she thinks he is a detective. Amy convinces him to stay put at the house and she would call him from work if she came up with anything.
    H.G. has more awkward adventures with the things around her apartment like her electric toothbrush. At the bank Carol wants to hear all about Amy's date with H.G. since she took the whole day off to be with him. She tells her in one word, "Fabulous" and how great he is and that she'll have to come over for dinner on Friday at 7pm to meet him. Soon after John shows up to exchange more money. He places his 40 guineas on the counter and Amy starts to get nervous. She tells him she will be right back and calls H.G. on the phone to tell him John is there. He asks her to stall him until he gets there and she is willing to try. She comes back and tells him she was just checking the latest exchange rates because she didn't want him to get gypped. He has no problem with that. She starts to fill out the form and make small talk, but when she asks how he likes the Hyatt it dawns on him. He knows she must have been the one who told H.G. where he was and that she just went and called him. She denies everything, but he can tell she is lying and he tells her he will do his business elsewhere. She thinks he is gone, but he has snuck up on her and warns her not to meddle in his affairs. Soon after he looks her name up in the phone book and finds out where she lives.
    H.G. is too late and Amy is freaking out. She tells him he has to go to the police and if he won't she will. She now knows that H.G. was right about this guy. H.G. doesn't want to, but he doesn't want her to do it either. She takes him to the police station and he gives him John's full name to Lt. Mitchell and they run it. He explains how he knows John is the killer and when they ask for his name he starts to say Wells, but thinks better of it. He then tells him his name is Sherlock Holmes since they probably won't know that name. Of course he is wrong and they thank him for his time. He can't understand why they won't listen to him and the police tell him they ran his name through the computer and no one has entered the country under the name Stevenson or Wells for that matter. The Lt. tells him to leave his address so they can contact him again if they need to. He knew he wouldn't get anywhere and and leaves defeated.
    They return to her place and H.G. finds a note in an envelope on the floor and snatches it before she sees it. It is a threat from the Ripper as he knows where she lives. H.G. tells her they should go for a walk instead and he closes the door. She reminds him to shut it hard or it won't lock.  He goes with her down to the beach and she wants to know how he really got involved with the Ripper. He doesn't want to tell her, but now has no choice. He tells her the truth about him being 130 years old and from the past, the time machine and everything. She is upset by all this and walks away telling him that she never wants to see him again. He chases after her and tells her he knew this would happen and to give him a chance to prove himself. She admits that she did tell him she would believe him and gives him a chance.
    The head over to the museum and she sees the exhibit and the pictures on the walls that look just like he does, but still isn't convinced. The museum is closing and he tells her to go to the powder room to wait until it is closed. Meanwhile the Ripper is arriving at the house of another woman. She answers the door and he hands her flowers, soon after he slices her open. 
    Wells comes to the bathroom after the museum is closed and they climb into the time machine as no one is around. She pulls out the pin from the back and H.G. tells her they would not want to travel without that. He asks her if jumping ahead to Saturday November 10th would be OK. She says yes because then her cleaning would be ready. He says it won't be very impressive since it will only take a fraction of a second. He puts the key in and raises the bar and it is done and they exit. Amy is obviously not convinced and she walks into the lobby and picks up the newspaper. It says November 10th and then she sees the story about the headline and screams. Amy was killed the night before, the 5th victim off the Ripper. H.G. comes running and holds her as she cries. She doesn't want to die like that.
    They go back in time and formulate the plan. Since the 4th victim will be killed in the park at 3:00 AM that night, he can get there first and prevent it. He tells her can avoid the whole thing by going back with him to 1893. She says she is a modern liberated women with her own brain who worked so hard on her career and has her own life. He can't believe she would put a career in front of her life, but now that they know the future they will be prepared to stop it if they stay. They also know the fate of the 4th victim and if they can prevent that, then the Ripper will be caught. Amy wishes they could get to a pawn shop and buy a gun, but H.G. is horrified because there is so much violence as it is. Meanwhile the Ripper is decked out in full 70s attire and prowling the local disco. He sits at a table and catches the eye of a black woman totally decked out with wild sparkly makeup. They soon leave together in her car.
    Amy convinces H.G. she is going with him, but he refuses. She tells him he can't drive and doesn't know how to get to the park anyway, so he relents. They head out and are a couple miles away from the park when they get a flat tire. Amy is forced to change the flat and tells H.G. to dial 911 for the police. A few blocks away he finally finds a working phone and tells the police the Ripper is going to kill again in the park and that it was Holmes again.
    When they finally get to the park they see all the police lights and know they are too late. The police are pulling the body of the disco girl out of the water. Amy is freaking out because she knows she is next. H.G. tells her not to stop and to just keep going. By the time they return to her apartment the sun is out. He tells her there is something he has to take care of. She wants to go with him, but he says she can't. He tells her to lie down, get some sleep and relax for a bit and he'll be right back. If he isn't back in an hour she is to check into her favorite hotel, The Huntington, and he'll meet her there. She gives him the hotel info and he leaves promising he'll return. She takes a sleeping pill to calm her nerves after he leaves.
    H.G. heads to a pawn shop and purchases a pistol to protect Amy. Lt. Mitchell returns to work in the morning with news about the murder and the inspector notes that Holmes called in 15 minutes before the murder. The lieutenant tells the inspector to bring Holmes in. H.G. returns to the Amy's apartment and the police are waiting outside for him and quickly grab and arrest him. Amy is sleeping right above him and the window is open. He yells to her, but she is knocked out.
    He is booked, fingerprinted, his picture is taken and his possessions taken away. He demands to speak to the lieutenant that he first spoke to before. They give him a dime instead and point him to a phone. He calls the hotel hoping Amy has checked in, but she hasn't - she is still asleep. H.G. finally gets to talk to Lt. Mitchell, but he isn't interested in H.G.'s stories anymore. They also want to know where he got the gun. He tells them a pawn shop, but he doesn't remember the name. H.G. is forced to tell him the truth, which of course doesn't go over well. He tells the story as the reporter takes it down. They all look at him like he is crazy. He repeats the story over and over again and it gets closer and closer to the time when the Ripper is supposed to come for Amy. The inspector comes in with the paper from the future he was carrying to show the murder, but the Lt. doesn't buy it saying he had it made. When it is getting dangerously close to 7pm H.G. gives in. He tells him he will confess to all the killings and sign anything he wants as long as the police send a car over to Amy's house. The Lt. agrees.
    Amy finally wakes up from her deep sleep terrified to see it is almost the time that the Ripper is supposed to arrive. She calls out for H.G. and when she realizes he isn't there she quickly packs her bag and heads for the door. As she does the knob is turning because H.G. didn't slam it shut and she quickly runs and hides in the closest, dropping her suitcase and spilling. The Ripper enters and searches for her, quickly realizing she must be hiding somewhere.
    The police car arrives at Amy's apartment and they see the door is open the lead cop goes in and quickly runs out to throw up. We see blood is everywhere and there is a severed hand on the carpet. The Lt. gets the news and apologizes to H.G. and gives him his stuff back and sends him on his way.
    He wanders aimlessly toward Amy's apartment. He passes through the Pan American  monument and hears Amy calling him. He can't believe it. She is there and is alive. The only problem is the Ripper has her and has a knife to her throat. The Ripper wants the key, but H.G. makes him give his word as a gentleman that he won't hurt her and will let her go. The Ripper gives his word and H.G. throws him the key. The Ripper tells him that he should know by now that he isn't a gentleman and takes Amy and the key and makes her drive to the museum in a stolen car.
    H.G. runs back to Amy's apartment which is nearby and jumps into her car. Luckily the keys are still in the ignition and he remembers watching her drive and tries to follow, but drives the car into the garage door wall. He then puts it in reverse and races after them. He knocks over a garbage can, drives all over the road, into head on traffic and even on the sidewalks to keep up. The Ripper tells her to keep driving faster and she does until she tells him if she went any faster she would wrap them around a phone pole. They both look up in the mirror and notice the car following them, but both don't really believe it could be H.G.
    Amy pulls up in front of the Museum and it is closed, but the Ripper smashes the glass. H.G. is right behind them driving up the steps to get close. The Ripper has won, but H.G. pleads with him not to hurt the girl. Use the time machine, but let her go. The Ripper doesn't  understand why he cares for the girl so much especially since she isn't attractive and makes H.G. admit this too. He does and gets on his knees and pleads with him one last time telling him they used to be friends and he even admired him once. Finally he relents and throws Amy to him and locks himself in the machine and sets it in motion. The only thing he hadn't planned for was that H.G. could pull the pin from the outside that sends the Ripper into infinity forever where no one will ever find him. Checkmate.
    H.G. tells Amy that he must return to his time where he came from. He says he has a life to live as well and looks around the exhibit of things he has done, but hadn't when he left. He has all those books to write, whatever they are, hopefully fiction. He must complete his life and make sure the machine can never be used again, it was a mistake to have made it. He says goodbye and jumps in the machine and starts it up. Amy has changed her mind and tells him she won't let him leave without her and goes back with him. The End
    The postscript tells us that, "H.G. Wells married Amy Catherine Robbins, who died in 1927. As a writer, he anticipated Socialism,  global war, space travel and Women's Liberation. He died in 1946."

My Review

    This is the only film featuring Jack the Ripper that isn't really about him. The film isn't even about H.G. Wells either. Even though it offers a wild theory on why Jack the Ripper was never caught, that isn't the point. The point is to tell a romantic comedy across time. In that way it can offer something for everyone, though people into the romantic side would probably be turned off by the Ripper side of the story.
    This film has been out of print for many years due to the fact that Orion pictures went out of business. Any films made by Orion have been in limbo for the last half of the 1990s. In 2002 we are finally seeing many re-releases on DVD of their films by other companies like MGM and WB.
    Originally it was promoted as Ripper film when it was first released in 1979. This was not a smart idea as is typical of the studio executives. Earlier that year there was an excellent film about the Ripper called 'Murder by Decree' and when you have one good film about a subject people are not interested in seeing another film about the same subject so soon after. In that time it was hard to really hype a film as there was no way to get the word out that it really wasn't a Ripper film. And no one really remember H.G Wells either, so unfortunately, people stayed away in droves. Just a look at the four different taglines below shows they had no idea how to market it - except for the fact that the Ripper was mentioned every time.
    Time travel has always been a very popular subject and in the last twenty years, time travel films seem to do very well. Just look at the amazing success of the Terminator franchise. In the mid 80s, people started discovering Time After Time on video and in a short time it had achieved a cult following. With the birth of the DVD format one of the most frequently asked email questions I received was "When is Time After Time coming out on DVD?" People who weren't even really fans of Malcolm loved the film. In fact, I haven't talked to anyone across the board who didn't enjoy this film. That is the sign of a classic.
    The only real 'problem' with the film isn't really a problem per se. Since it was filmed in 1979 some things seem very dated. Where this is usually a distraction, to me it is more like a nostalgic look at the time. To see the horrible green McDonald's uniforms and the 25 Billion served sign (which is now over 100 Billion served) is fun for me since I grew up then. It is a time machine time capsule story in that way. Some people also have a problem with Mary Steenburgen. The way she speaks especially. I'm not sure what she was going for, but since it was only her second movie role she was by no means a veteran movie actor. It almost seemed like a hick trying to play a modern big city woman. She did grow up in Arkansas, but spent much time in New York City, so she should've played it more tough I think. A no nonsense big city feel instead of an almost drugged out way. I've never been a big fan of her work, but she handled the part well and it didn't really bother me. Of course looking back is even more interesting because we know this is the film where Malcolm and Mary met, fell in love and married soon after. So we know it wasn't just acting when their characters are falling for each other.
    David Warner is great in his role as the Ripper. He doesn't play him like a monster, but as a real ladies man. It only takes him a second to fit right in with 1979 whereas H.G. can never even hope of fitting in. He is an actor I have always liked ever since his dual role Sark/Dillinger in one of my all-time favorite films - TRON.
    Those three actors are the ones who make the film and between them are on screen the whole time. No other character plays truly significant role. Because of their acting I think this is just a great film and one of Malcolm's all-time greats films and roles. Also one of the greatest films of all-time as well. It is a lot of fun and was the original fish out of water time travel story which has been done many times since. Even Malcolm did it again in Just Visiting
    This was also his first totally US produced film. It was his debut to a market he was generally unknown in as the last batch of films was rarely seen outside of the UK - even to this day. That makes it all the more unfortunate the film didn't get it's break during it's initial run. If it had taken off, Malcolm could've become a huge star again after the collapse of the British film industry in the mid 70s. This was not to be and instead he has become the great modern character actor.
    This is also a film I point to when people say Malcolm only plays the role of the villain. Here he is the hero all the way and he pulls it off perfectly. He is also great as playing the meek Wells, almost shrinking into the role. At times he seems so meek and physically out of place. I can't recommend this film enough to anyone, no matter what your film preference. This is also a great role to introduce someone who is unfamiliar with Malcolm's acting, to his style. Introducing your parents to him by way of A Clockwork Orange is never a good bet, instead this is the way to do it. This was also director Nicholas Meyer's first film and he did a great job at pulling it off and has a solid style that I really liked. Great, story, great acting, great directing and great looking - this is a near perfect film in every way. It should've easily made $100 million at the box office and if made today it probably would. That was not to be the case, but it still stands the test of time as a modern classic.

Rating: 9.5/10 

Taglines

A chase through time - to catch Jack the Ripper!
H.G. Wells versus Jack the Tipper in the most ingenious thriller of our time.
H.G. Wells Races Through Time to Catch Jack the Ripper!
Imagine! A scientific genius named H.G. Wells stalks a criminal genius named Jack the Ripper across time itself, in the most ingenious thriller of our time...

Most of this page © 2001-09 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net