Earlier this fall a couple of things conspired to point me in the direction of a cult movie of the late 1970s called Somewhere in Time. It starred a young, vibrant Christopher Reeve and a luminous young Jane Seymour. I’ll let Amazon describe it:
“Somewhere in Time is the story of a young writer who sacrifices his life in the present to find happiness in the past, where true love awaits him. Young Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) is approached by an elderly woman who gives him an antique gold watch and who pleads with him to return in time with her. Years later, Richard Collier is overwhelmed by a photograph of a beautiful young woman (Jane Seymour). Another picture of this woman in her later years reveals to him that she is the same woman who had given him the gold watch. Collier then becomes obsessed with returning to 1912 and the beautiful young woman who awaits him there.”
Though I’d never seen the film, it interested me because I’m in the process of writing a third Mary MacDougall mystery, in which Mary travels to Mackinac Island. That’s where the movie was made; and the historical scenes are roughly in the period when Mary was sleuthing. Many of the scenes in the film were shot at the island’s famous Grand Hotel.
Because Sue and I haven’t had a vacation trip in several years, we decided in September to drive over to Mackinac, do a little research, and knock around the island. I’d been there once before, and nothing really had changed. The main street is tourist-trap city, with fudge shops up the ying-yang. But when you walk, bike, or carriage your way back into the island (horse-drawn vehicles only), it’s quite lovely. We only picked up on the film after we got back.
Somewhere in Time tanked when it was released to movie theaters. But its appearance on early cable TV and as a video rental built it into a cult film that’s beloved around the world. It has a magazine, a yearly convention, and looks like an romantic evergreen for the ages. Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer are still acting away. The director of the film, Jeannot Szwarc, remains active directing TV shows such as The Good Wife and Fringe.
Christopher Reeve’s fate was tragic. But the DVD has extras that feature him, several years before he died, wheelchair-bound, raving about this film that he loved so much–from a time in his career when he was trying to break out of the typecasting of being Superman.