I don’t know about you, but I have been enamored with the movie ‘Somewhere in Time’ since I first saw it. I was already a huge fan of Christopher Reeve (oh, that Superman!). His piercing blue eyes could melt almost every girl’s heart! Jane Seymour, a relative unknown at the time, was so beautiful as Elise McKenna. When you saw the two of them together, you really believed that time travel was possible. With these two characters, anything was possible.
The movie didn’t do very well at the box office in its initial run, but developed a cult following thanks to cable television. Perhaps that was because it was basically a science fiction theme wrapped up in a romance movie. Somewhere in Time is based on a novel, Bid Time Return, by Richard Matheson. There are also parallels that can be seen between that novel and Time and Again, written by Jack Finney.
So, who was the inspiration for Elise McKenna? When Richard Matheson’s family stopped at the opera house in Virginia City, Nevada, during a vacation, he was struck by a photo of Maude Adams, an early 20th-century stage actress who possessed a haunting beauty. She inspired him to write a story about how love transcends time. Here is a tribute video about Maude Adams.
Although the story was originally set in San Diego, only Mackinac Island provided the proper time capsule in which to film the story. It was a perfect choice. The cast and crew were able to immerse themselves in an earlier time when the horse was still a mode of transportation and people were more genteel. The Grand Hotel still retains the look and feel of the late Victorian era as does the much of the rest of the Island.
The soundtrack for this movie is also captivating. The main theme, Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,” continues to enjoy popularity, and has even been interpreted as an homage to the film in Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell.
The costumes were so exquisitely designed by Jean-Pierre Dorléac. Elise’s Edwardian era dresses were elegant and historically accurate, providing a realistic interpretation of the fashions of the day. You couldn’t take your eyes off Jane Seymour wearing one of his designs.
Although the film didn’t fare so well at the box office, it developed a cult following thanks to television. Video rentals increased as a result and within 10 years the movie had its own fan club. The fan club was the catalyst for the annual Somewhere in Time Weekend event held on Mackinac Island each autumn.
The movie celebrated the 35th anniversary of its release in 2015. Jane Seymour attended the event on the island to thank fans for their enduring love. She was as beautiful as ever and even posed in Edwardian costume, looking every bit like the Elise McKenna we all remember! Below is an interview with her at the event.
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