The Wildest Chase Of The Century! London 1893 is home to a killer with a macabre nickname... and also to a visionary genius who would write The Time Machine. But what if H.G. Wells' invention wasn't fiction? And what if Jack the Ripper escaped capture fleeing his own time to take refuge in ours - with Wells himself in pursuit?
Ninety years ago I was a freak. Today I’m an amateur. Time After Time is directed by Nicholas Meyer who also adapts the screenplay from a story written by Karl Alexander and Steve Hayes. It stars Malcolm McDowell, David Warner and Mary Steenburgen. Music is by Miklos Rozsa and cinematography is by Paul Lohmann. How delightful, a wonderful idea is given an equally wonderful presentation. The makers have come up with the idea of pitching Jack the Ripper against H.G. Wells, in the present day of 1979. This after the Ripper (Warner) used Wells’ (McDowell) time machine to escape the Whitechapel police back in 1891, thus forcing Wells to track the infamous killer to San Francisco in the future. There have been so many fish-out-of-water based movies over the years, it’s so refreshing to find one that has a genuinely original premise to work from. In the Ripper’s case he sees all the violence around the streets of San Fran and believes it’s his calling to be in this company. On the flip-side, Wells is perturbed to find that this is not the Utopia he had envisaged, but yet the science lover in him is fascinated by what he finds. Helps, too, that he has caught the attention of a very horny Amy Robbins (Steenburgen), who is equally fascinated by his genteel mannerisms. Naturally the fun has to stop at some point to let the suspense and darker aspects of the story come to the surface. Meyer gets the blend right, dropping in little snippets of evil as Jolly Jack, resplendent with waistcoat and money belt, goes about his bloody business, and then switching to the Wells/Amy axis as they try to build a relationship whilst trying to convince the authorities that a nutter is very much in their midst. It builds nicely, ramping up the tension considerably, and there’s always the pertinent question hanging in the air of if there is any hope for H.G. and Amy? Such is the rich characterisations and quality of story telling, we most assuredly care about the outcome to this splendid piece of time travelling cake. 8.5/10