HTF REVIEW: "Time After Time" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 23, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Time After Time

    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 1979
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 112 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)

    H.G. Wells races through time
    to catch Jack The Ripper

    As I struggled through watching DreamWork's The
    Time Machine
    , I couldn't help but think of
    Time After Time, a time travel film done so
    much better. Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek IV: The
    Voyage Home) made his directorial debut on this
    science fiction/thriller which still remains
    one of his very best. Though it's amazing it has
    taken Warner Brothers this long to release Time
    After Time to DVD, the wait has certainly been
    worth it. More on that in a moment.
    As the film opens on the murky streets of 1893
    London, a prostitute is approached by a rather
    polite gentleman who introduces himself as John.
    As the woman is led into a dark alley, we suddenly
    realize that this "John" is actually Jack The
    Ripper, as he brutally murders his victim.
    Across town, H.G. Wells (Malcolm McDowell) has
    invited his friends to his home to show off his
    latest innovation -- the time machine. His
    presentation is abruptly cut off when Scotland
    Yard shows up at his door announcing that one of
    the guests, Doctor John Leslie Stevenson (David
    Warner) happens to be Jack the Ripper. Through the
    commotion that follows, Stevenson manages to steal
    the time machine and escape.
    Feeling responsible for allowing a bloodthirsty
    maniac to roam in future, Wells decides to go
    after the Ripper. His travels bring him to
    San Francisco in the year 1979 (which happens to
    be the release year of the film), where Wells
    discovers a strange new world that at first sight
    looks like an utopian society.
    Like a fish out of water, Wells makes some
    hilarious discoveries in his new world as copes
    with modern-day traffic patterns, television,
    and fast food restaurants. You'll howl as he
    walks into a McDonalds and orders a big Mac.
    It doesn't take long for Wells to discover the
    bad side of Utopia as he finds his quest for
    Stevenson is failing.
    Things suddenly change for him when he meets
    Amy Robbins (Mary Steenburgen), a foreign currency
    officer at the bank of London She's a smart,
    assertive, liberated woman who immediately falls
    for the Englishman's charming personality. The
    two bond and eventually fall in love.
    The rest of the film concentrates on Well's
    pursuit of The Ripper through the modern-day
    San Francisco as he attempts to prevent another
    murder -- especially when Jack kidnaps his beloved
    How is the transfer?
    I never expected the transfer of this film to
    be as incredible as it is.
    From the very first moments as the film opens,
    you'll be amazed how smooth and film-like the
    transfer looks. The smoky-filled sky of London
    accented with brilliantly deep red credits that
    never oversaturate, just look incredible....and
    this is just the opening credits!
    The rest of the transfer looks immaculate with
    a sharp detailed picture, solid blacks, and no
    visible film grain. Skin tones look remarkably
    accurate -- so much so that you actually see pink
    highlights in the facial tones. The city of
    San Francisco never brighter or bolder, with its
    deep green foliage and deep blue skyline. The
    night scenes effectively bring out all the
    brilliant colors of the city without adding any
    film grain. This is truly one of Warner's best
    looking catalog titles.
    The Dolby Surround mix is adequate, though it
    does have its limitations. The soundtrack has
    a nice dynamic range with even distribution
    amongst the front and rears. The rears do an
    interesting job of highlighting the film's more
    sinister chords of the soundtrack. The problem
    is, the music is so strong in the rear channels
    that it often overpowers the clarity of the film's
    effects, most of which consists of the noise of
    San Francisco streets.
    Special Features
    Time After Time has its flaws in added
    supplements, saved by the fact that it sports a
    full-length commentary by Malcolm McDowell
    and Nicholas Meyer. Meyer talks about receiving
    the script while attending the University of Ohio.
    It was there he met a playwright who presented him
    with a short novel that Meyer optioned into a
    screenplay. Malcolm recalls hanging out with
    his co-star David Warner during his early days at
    Stratford, hanging on to Warner's popularity and
    getting women in the process. It's interestingly
    brought out that Mick Jagger was originally slated
    for the Jack The Ripper part. During the initial
    time machine journey, Meyer admits that while the
    effects shots were pretty lackluster, none of it
    matters thanks to the exceptional story line that
    the audience gets caught up in.
    What is lacking here is any original promotional
    production material (if any exists) on the making
    of the film, including 1979 interviews with the
    cast or behind-the-scenes footage.
    Instead, we get It's About Time, a wasted
    essay on many of the time travel films and stories
    over the past century. Some of the time travel films
    mentioned are Planet Of The Apes, Superman and
    Somewhere in Time. Nothing is really learned
    through this essay, though it may give you some ideas
    on time travel rentals you had not considered before.
    Another wasted Cast and Crew page simply
    lists the names of the principal actors and crew,
    but does not offer any click-on filmographies for
    Finally, the film's original theatrical trailer
    is included as well as trailers for the 1960 and
    2002 versions of The Time Machine
    Final Thoughts
    Anyone seeking a time travel film with brains
    should go no further than Time After Time.
    Even after 20 years, this film still remains the
    best of its kind, and thanks to one of the most
    startling transfers one could expect, there isn't
    a reason not to add this title to your collection.
    Release Date: August 6, 2002
  2. Lone Wolf

    Lone Wolf Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 2, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Thanks for the review Ron,

    TIME AFTER TIME is still one of my personal favorites after all these years. I saw it on it's original release and was immediately captivated by it's melding of many themes and genres into a cohesive whole. You'd think that a film that incorporates H G Wells, Jack the Ripper, time travel, feminism, romance, social satire, and race-against-time (pun intended) thriller elements would be an almighty mess, but that's the charm and success of this film in that it does work and works extremely well in fact. The chemistry in the casting is key also and the three leads (Malcolm McDowell, David Warner, Mary Steenburgen) deliver some of their finest work here. Director Nicholas Meyer of course went on to do bigger things like STAR TREK II and THE DAY AFTER, but I will always be eternally grateful for this little gem that gives me immense pleasure every time I see it. I've previously owned the tape and the laserdisc, and now I eagerly await the dvd which will become, and remain, one of my most cherished titles.

    Johnny B.
  3. KamyarB

    KamyarB Agent

    Oct 12, 2000
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    Great review Ron,
    It is a very good movie, i can't wait to get my copy in the mail!
  4. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

    Apr 15, 2002
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    Thanks Ron for another superb review, august 6 is going to be expensive.
    Time after Time
    Clash of the Titans
    V the Final Battle
    any more coming out that day
  5. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Aug 3, 2001
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    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! (Dances around the room naked...again!)
  6. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

    Dec 20, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Peter Apruzzese
    Saw a 35mm print of this old favorite not too long ago - it was in nice shape but the color had started to fade. It's great to hear the DVD release is well-done, can't wait to add it to the collection.
  7. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer

    Feb 20, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Livonia, MI USA
    Real Name:
    Kenneth McAlinden
    Thanks for the review. I will definitely be picking this up.

    Stop that this instant and get a robe on, man. What will the neighbors say?

  8. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

    Jan 13, 2000
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    Thanks for the review, Ron. [​IMG]
    A pity David Warner didn't take part in the commentary track (as was rumoured a short while back). Still, a classic film; can't wait to own the DVD! [​IMG]
  9. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Apr 25, 2000
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    London, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
    Love 'Time After Time', def be picking this up, the story, the actors all great, and a fine score by legendary composer Miklos Rozsa.[​IMG]
    Jack the Ripper to H.G.Wells "The future isn't what you thought. It's what I am! Ninety years ago I was a freak. Now I'm an amateur!"
  10. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member

    Feb 24, 2000
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    Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems
    Real Name:
    What a surprise to hear about the transfer on this favorite of mine Ron! Cool! Thanks for the review. I'll definitely be picking up this gem of a film.
  11. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

    Jun 4, 2001
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    Saw it when it came out and loved it. Rosza's score is one of his finest. Can't wait.
  12. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

    Jun 30, 1997
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    Since this was in the hands of Warner Bros I had despaired of ever getting it on DVD; I'm very glad to see that it's one of the first fruits of their recent turnaround on catalog titles, and that it looks good. One of my favorite films, and the commentary will do for extras.
  13. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Feb 24, 1999
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    Never even heard of this title until today. Sounds like something that I'd enjoy. I'll pick it up.
  14. Jason Borchers

    Jason Borchers Second Unit

    Jan 14, 2001
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    Nice review as usual! I will definitely be picking this one up. I saw it for the first time on pan-and-scan VHS, and I can't wait to finally see it in OAR.
  15. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

    Dec 30, 2000
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    London, United Kingdom
    Real Name:
    A favorite of mine as well, since having seen it on my first visit to New York in 1979. I also love Rozsa's music so it's all the better if his music is too strong in the surrounds!
  16. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    Dangit Ron, now I have to buy it ^^. I last seem this movie years ago on a pan and scan airing on TBS (when I didn't know better), and now I can watch it beautiful widescreen as long I want. I prefect compainion the other recent Jack the Ripper movie (can't say name as I don't like the word in the title).
  17. Randy_M

    Randy_M Supporting Actor

    Oct 25, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Peoria, AZ
    Real Name:
    Randy Margolis
    Wow, what an expensive day:

    Clash of the Titans
    2 Dr Who's
    The Unearthly
    V: The Final Battle

    And now this! How about a loan?
  18. Tom Oh

    Tom Oh Second Unit

    Jul 11, 1999
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    I also saw this in the theater and loved it. I'll pick this up, but boy do I feel old.
  19. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

    Feb 12, 2001
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    Thank you Ron...wondered how it was going to look as this is one of my favorites from the late 70's. Looks like they have done a great job and I can't wait for mine to ship!
  20. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

    Oct 7, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Thanks Ron!!! Looking forward to this DVD Release.

    After my wife & I watched this movie sometime during it's opening weeks in 1979, we went to San Francisco with some friends to do touristy type things and have dinner @ Pier 39. Parking is limited by the wharf, so we parked about a block from The Palace of Fine Arts. On the way back from Pier 39 that dark (not stormy) night, we walked thru The Palace of Fine Arts and my wife unexpectedly ran off behind a few pillars down a ways and then repeated Mary Steenburgen line ...

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