Little did I know that revisiting a favorite film from childhood could illicit an odd dream involving Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, a leopard-print bikini and a stripper pole. The movie in question is the 1980 classic, “Somewhere in Time.” Skillfully mixing two great genres – time travel and romance – playwright Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve, “Superman”) as he falls in love with a young woman’s portrait (Jane Seymour, the aforementioned “Dr. Quinn”) and travels 70 years into the past to find her.
In the midst of both a bout of writers’ block and a break-up, Collier takes some time off to clear his head and stays at Michigan’s own Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, where he falls for Seymour’s portrait and begins his quest to discover anything he can about her. His research uncovers that she was once a popular stage actress in the early 20th century before dropping out of the public eye and dying a recluse.
Collier’s rabid hunt soon turns to obsession when he begins discussing the possibility of time travel with one of his old college professors. The teacher tells the former student that once, many years ago, he thought he had traveled through time merely by suggesting to his mind that his surroundings had changed to the desired year. Though it was brief, he has no doubt this powerful suggestion propelled his body through hundreds of years. Collier must simply convince himself that the year is 1912.
After emptying his hotel room of all modern amenities and dressing in a period suit, Collier sets his mind to the turn of the century in hopes of uniting with the woman of his dreams. Through self-hypnosis he wills himself to 1912 and into the arms of Seymour’s Elise McKenna. But the only obstacle that Richard Collier faces isn’t just the constraint of time – there’s also McKenna’s manager (Christopher Plummer, “The Sound of Music”).
“Somewhere in Time” may have been unsuccessful at the box office, but it has since become a cult classic, even spurring an annual convention at The Grand Hotel for die-hard fans. Not unlike the Rocky Horror phenomenon, fans can dress like their favorite characters and reenact scenes on the island they were originally filmed. Those devotees might have something else to look forward to – this brilliant melodrama, the perfect fodder for a film turned musical, is finally in talks for a Broadway treatment.