Follow TV Tropes


Film / Somewhere in Time

Go To

"Someday in the past he will find her..."

A 1980 film adaptation of Richard Matheson's Bid Time Return, directed by Jeannot Szwarc and scored by John Barry. The script was written by Matheson himself.

Even if you have Single-Target Sexuality, you just might give up after finding out that your One True Love lives in a different time period, but that doesn't stop the playwright and writer Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve), who for lack of a better description manages to psych himself back in time to find the beautiful woman he's seen in an old photograph. That's right, the space-time continuum is just no match for The Power of Love.

Richard arrives in The Edwardian Era at the same vintage hotel he was staying at in 1980, where he encounters the woman he's looking for, stage actress Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour). However, her overprotective manager William Fawcett Robinson (Christopher Plummer) won't hear of anyone romancing his star.


This work provides examples of:

  • Bittersweet Ending: Richard dies of grief after being separated from Elise and returned to his own time, but is reunited with Elise in heaven.
  • The Constant: Arthur.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Though he doesn't admit to having romantic/sexual feelings for Elise, Robinson definitely comes across this way.
  • Creator Cameo: Richard Matheson appears as the 1912 man who stares at Richard following the latter's less-than-successful attempt to shave with a straight razor. ("Astonishing!")
  • The Edwardian Era: The 1912 scenes.
  • The '80s: The 1980 scenes. Okay, the very early Eighties.
  • Fade to White
  • Fantastic Romance
  • Fashions Never Change: Subverted: Elise informs Richard that his suit is 15 years out of style.
  • Film of the Book
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics: A post-film example — the theme was given lyrics in The '90s and turned into a song of the same title for Michael Crawford. It appears on the soundtrack to his Las Vegas show EFX!, where it served as a prerecorded prelude due to its fantasy theme, but it's easy to interpret the first-person lyrics as coming from Richard's point of view.
  • Advertisement:
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Elise wears some magnificent examples of late-Edwardian (1910 to 1914) couture.
  • Have We Met Yet?
  • Her Heart Will Go On: Unusual in that the story is seen from the man's perspective.
  • Heroic BSoD: Richard has a major one after he's separated from Elise, to the point of not eating for a week. He does not get better.
  • Love Before First Sight
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A definite implication in the original book, averted somewhat in the film (which eliminates the book's subplot that Richard has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor). Nevertheless, Roger Ebert writes in his review of the film, "The movie never makes it clear whether the playwright actually does travel through time, or only hypnotizes himself into thinking he does." [1] Arguably, the film provides independent evidence that Richard's journey through time did take place, by showing Elise as an old woman begging him to "come back to [her]" and Richard's interaction with the young Arthur.
  • Mental Time Travel: Richard is able to cross time through the means of self hypnosis.
  • Nostalgia Heaven: Richard and Elise are reunited in Fluffy Cloud Heaven upon Richard's death.
  • Obscured Special Effects: The time travel is achieved through the mundane process of self hypnosis. The visuals used to represent Richard's journey through time are similar to those that might be used in any ordinary drama to represent falling in and out of a dream. Reportedly, because the story involved time travel as a plot element, this was done to avoid being lumped in with all of the science fiction genre films during the post Star Wars era.
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Not old-fashioned concerning the time it happens. During the Falling-in-Love Montage, we see Richard and Elise rowing a boat.
  • Opera Gloves: Elise wears these seemingly half the entire length of her screen time in the film.
  • Scene of Wonder: When Richard first mind-travels back to the 1910s era. He steps out into the hotel lounge and is stunned by the sight of The Edwardian Era crowd.
  • The '70s: The 1972 scenes.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Richard and Elise.
  • Something We Forgot: Richard apparently didn't check his pockets.
  • Stable Time Loop: The watch.
    • The portrait of Elise that Richard falls in love with also works something like this: after he's travelled back in time and she's falling in love with him, the reason she looks so happy and beautiful in the photograph is because she sees him while it's being taken.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Richard and Elise. They're reunited in the afterlife, however.
  • Time Travel
  • Time-Travel Romance
  • Throw It In!: In-universe. Elise gets lost in her lines in the play, during a scene discussing love; she instead begins daydreaming about finding her (Elise's) real true love. Unfortunately the effect is more awkward and stilted than romantic, at least for anyone who is not Richard. The other actress looks uncomfortable, and Elise's manager is none too thrilled.
  • Your Universe or Mine?
  • You Already Changed the Past: This is discovered before going back, not after, resulting in Vuja De.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: