SOMEWHERE IN TIME
Jeannot Szwarc, whose previous film was the brazenly commercial Jaws 2 (1978), pulls all the emotional heart-strings at his disposal the photo that is Christopher Reeves object of adoration is outlined in tangible beams of light; the camera lens goes misty and soft-focused as Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour wander through the grounds of the Grand Hotel; there is even a shamelessly sentimental ending where the two lovers are reunited in an ecumenically neutral white hereafter. For all that, the direction seems flat and the emotions never particularly click. Maybe it is the actors Christopher Reeve, who had just become a big star with Superman (1978), plays his nice-guy role likeably enough, although his comic fish-out-of-water turn during the period scenes seems self-conscious, and Jane Seymour plays with a distant upper-class reserve but the two never quite connect as romantic lovers.
Genre veteran Richard Matheson does an okay job in adapting his own novel Bid Time Return (1971) something that, unlike the film, does ride up and down an emotional escalator with full conviction. Where the script works is in its twist revelations about Christopher Reeve finding the photo of the aged Elise and finding that it is the woman who gave him the watch, or his own name in the register, and meeting the aging porter as a young child. However, the film is still a blandly pared down version of the wonderful romantic story that Richard Matheson conveyed in his book. The idea of travelling in time by hypnotising oneself is silly, although the scenes with Christopher Reeve sitting in his room trying to hypnotise himself are among the most convincing ones in the film.
Jeannot Szwarcs other films include: The Devils Daughter (tv movie, 1973), Bug! (1975), Jaws 2 (1978), Supergirl (1984), Santa Claus The Movie (1985) and Murders in the Rue Morgue (tv movie, 1986). These days, Szwarc works back in tv, directing episodes of series like JAG, Ally McBeal, The Practice and Seven Days, among numerous others.
Richard Mathesons other genre scripts are: The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) based on his own novel, Roger Cormans Edgar Allan Poe adaptations The House of Usher/The Fall of the House of Usher (1960), Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Tales of Terror (1962) and The Raven (1963), the Jules Verne adaptation Master of the World (1961), the occult film Night of the Eagle/Burn, Witch, Burn (1961), the morticians comedy The Comedy of Terrors (1963), The Last Man on Earth (1964) based on his novel I Am Legend, the Hammer psycho-thriller The Fanatic/Die, Die, My Darling (1965), the classic Hammer occult film The Devil Rides Out/The Devils Bride (1968), the historical biopic De Sade (1969), Steven Spielbergs first film Duel (1971), The Night Stalker (1972) and The Night Strangler (1973) tv movies, the haunted house film The Legend of Hell House (1973), the tv adaptation of Dracula (1974), the tv movies Scream of the Wolf (1974), The Stranger Within (1974), Trilogy of Terror (1975), Dead of Night (1977) and The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver (1977), the tv adaptation of Ray Bradburys The Martian Chronicles (1980), Jaws 3-D (1983), Twilight Zone The Movie (1983), and numerous classic episodes of The Twilight Zone, Thriller and Star Trek. Works based on his novels and stories are The Omega Man (1971) from his I Am Legend, the afterlife fantasy What Dreams May Come (1998), the fine ghost story Stir of Echoes (1999), I Am Legend (2007), The Box (2009) and Real Steel (2011).