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Films: T is for...

Time After Time

Of all the Jack the Ripper films that have been turned out over the years we must say this is one of our favourites as H G Wells manages to crank up his actual proper Time Machine to shoot forward in time to follow yer actual Jack aho has already used it to leap into the 80s. Quite how this works we’re not entirely sure – we think it is because the person inside the machine leaps forward in time but remains in the same space but instead of the machine coming with them Rod Taylor style it stays behind and the person inside leaps forward to wherever the machine happens to be at any point in the future in which it still exists. Hmmmmm. So it can’t travel back in time then? It may be clear by now that we haven’t seen this for a while but what we do remember is that HG as portrayed by Malcolm McDowell isn’t quite cantankerous enough for someone who had ‘I told you so, you damned fools’ put on their gravestone and is a bit too shy for someone who got up to all sorts of kinky free love doin’s in Reigate. He’s quite sweet though and falls for quivery voiced Mary Steenburgen who quivers her way through several scenarios whether her voice needs to quiver or not. Fun but daft is the best way to describe this.



  1. Droogie

    June 30, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    A Time Travel movie classic. Seeing old actor friends McDowell and Warner playing off each other as Good vs. EvIl is a delight. (Warner is the best cinematic Jack The Ripper for playing pure evil IMHO . It’s also lovely seeing Malcolm playing a heroic lead after Clockwork Orange and Caligula too.)

  2. Sidney Balmoral James

    July 1, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    It has been years since I’ve seen this as well but seem to recall the machine had an auto-return function (did it require you to remove a special key if you wanted it to stay with you?) so it came back to Wells after Jack the Warner had gone forward in time. I also seem to remember a scene in which someone discovers a young woman’s dismembered hand. A strangely gruesome touch in an otherwise bland film. Unless I am thinking of another film. Poor David Warner – finest Shakespearean actor since Paul Scofield and he ends up in crap like this. Or Nightwing.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    July 3, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Around the same time, Malcolm Mc Dowell was in The Passage, where he plays a psychopathic SS officer very Mc Dowell like with an evil laugh and a sick sense of humour, throwing a hand grenade at one of his victims and shouting catch. Haven’t seen this for years, but it was the sort of film role Mc Dowell excelled in.

    • THX 1139

      July 4, 2020 at 11:13 am

      One reason Time After Time is so enjoyable is because McDowell was cast against type, he so good as a thoroughly decent man, but isn’t a pushover because of it. The Passage is totally ridiculous, it goes way over the top in his character’s evil, but as a bit of trash I suppose it’s amusing. He was basically messing about on that one because he thought it was a dud.

  4. THX 1139

    July 4, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Fantastic film, and although it flopped at the time was one which everyone involved loved, and were very pleased when it became a cult movie. McDowell suggested his old pal from theatre Warner as Jack the Ripper, and it was an inspired choice, they have such a great rapport even though they’re antagonists.

    Nicholas Meyer’s dialogue is terrific, especially when Wells and Jack square off against each other, the observation about Jack finally being in his element amid the horrors of the 20th Century is inspired.

    Don’t forget Mary Steenburgen, she and McDowell fell in love making this and you can see they have great chemistry because of it. Just a thoroughly satisfying science fiction thriller. You can tell they were all thinking, “Hey, this is good stuff!” Now imagine the studio’s choice of Jack, Mick Jagger! Thank goodness Warner was available!

  5. Droogie

    July 4, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    Jumping Jack Ripper? Jagger as Saucy Jack doesn’t even bear thinking about – it would’ve been almost as bad as when The Beatles were muted to star in an attempt at a Lord Of The Rings movie in the late 60’s.

  6. George White

    August 8, 2020 at 1:00 am

    Recently realised that Amy and HG’s son Frank was one of the founding figures of the Children’s Film Foundation.
    So, if Jack the Ripper hadn’t escaped to 1979, no High Rise Donkey or Sammy’s Super T-Shirt.

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