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Time After Time

Released: 1979

Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Runtime: 1 hr 52 min

MPAA Rating: NR

Director: Nicholas Meyer

Starring: Malcolm McDowell, David Warner, Mary Steenburgen, Charles Cioffi, Kent Williams

H.G. Wells time-travels to the year 1979 to stop Jack the Ripper.

A very entertaining suspense thriller.

Review by: JerrySaravia

Added: 8 years ago

For truly harmless sci-fi fare with a twinge of irony, you can't do much better than "Time After Time," a very entertaining suspense thriller that successfully hinges on its two leading stars to make it work.

Set in 1893, Malcolm McDowell is H.G. Wells, the legendary science-fiction writer, who invites his friends to dinner to tell them that he has invented an actual time machine! This magnificent invention is cut short by the intrusion of Jack the Ripper, who turns out to be the main doctor in town. The Ripper (David Warner) escapes in Wells' time machine to San Francisco in 1979, where he can continue his bloody rampage. Wells goes after Ripper by going to San Francisco via his time machine, which is a museum curiosity in a show devoted to Wells himself! Not only does Wells have to find the Ripper, he must also deal with modern-day society and their "motorcars," not to mention television and fast-food restaurants (his ordering a meal is the biggest laugh in the entire film).

While trying to convert his money to American currency, he meets a bank teller, Amy Robbins (Mary Steenburgen), who may be one of the Ripper's next targets. Meanwhile, Amy confesses to Wells that she longs for marriage and commitment, and Wells admits he is a strong proponent of free love (The real H.G. Wells was an advocate of free love when it came exclusively to men - he had many affairs while married to, you guessed it, Amy Robbins).

"Time After Time" is inventive and delectably funny in spots, but too much time is devoted to the Ripper and his blood lust. One scene stands out early on when Wells finally confronts the Ripper. Chillingly, the Ripper explains that the violence of modern-day society has ironically caught up with his murderous ways - he proves it by switching channels on the television that speaks of global atrocities and war. Yet Warner never feels chilling otherwise - he looks like a stock London swinger who takes himself too seriously and just happens to cut up women. Perhaps that is the idea but I sense the Ripper may have been a more powerful man or presence than what is depicted here. What works marvelously is McDowell and Steenburgen (who later married) - they have very sweet chemistry.

Essentially, "Time After Time" is ultimately a love story with a very moving ending. It's just that the Ripper screws up the fabric of an otherwise timeless love story.