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Somewhere in Time


A Chicago playwright uses self-hypnosis to find the actress whose vintage portrait hangs in a grand hotel.

Release Year: 1980

Rating: 7.0/10 (10,975 voted)

Critic's Score: 29/100

Jeannot Szwarc

Stars: Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plummer

Young writer Richard Collier is met on the opening night of his first play by an old lady who begs him to "Come back to me". Mystified, he tries to find out about her, and learns that she is a famous stage actress from the early 1900s, Elise McKenna. Becoming more and more obsessed with her, he manages, by self hypnosis, to travel back in time where he meets her. They fall in love, a matching that is not appreciated by her manager. Can their love outlast the immense problems caused by their "time" difference? And can Richard remain in a time that is not his?

Writers: Richard Matheson, Richard Matheson


Christopher Reeve

Richard Collier

Jane Seymour

Elise McKenna

Christopher Plummer

William Fawcett Robinson

Teresa Wright

Laura Roberts

Bill Erwin

Arthur Biehl

George Voskovec

Dr. Gerald Finney

Susan French

Older Elise

John Alvin

Arthur's Father

Eddra Gale


Audrey Bennett

Richard's Date

William H. Macy


(as W.H. Macy)

Laurence Coven


Susan Bugg


Christy Michaels


Ali Marie Matheson


(as Ali Matheson)

Beyond fantasy. Beyond obsession. Beyond time itself… he will find her.


Official Website:
Official site |

Release Date: 3 October 1980

Filming Locations: Chicago, Illinois, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $5,100,000


Technical Specs


Did You Know?


The gazebo built and used in the film now sits next to Fort Mackinac high on a bluff overlooking Marquette Park, on Mackinac Island. It used to reside on the Governor's Estate, but was moved to its new location in the winter of 2006.


When Richard initially goes backstage to look for Elise during the afternoon rehearsal, he passes a hanging bare light bulb. It is a frosted light bulb of modern design (since the '40s) – not the hand-blown clear glass bulb that was in use in 1912.


[first lines]

[various snippets in crowd chatter]

Richard Collier:
I got some news. There was an agent in the house tonight, and he said he thinks this play might be good enough for Broadway.
[cheers from crowd]

Richard Collier:
Fingers crossed, who knows? Come on, let's all have some cake.

User Review

The film affirms that love is an undeniable force which goes beyond us…

Rating: 9/10

Christopher Reeve takes on the role of (Richard Collier) a successful
Chicago playwright who is approached (in May 1972) by a very old woman
(Susan French) who will alter the course of his life eternally…

The thoughtful old lady presses a classic pocket watch, from a past
existence, into his right hand and intensely whispers four haunting
words 'Come back to me,' which will affect him forever…

Eight years have passed and Richard is seeing his work incredibly
sterile, gently afflicted with a case of lesser inspiration… So he
packs his luggage and heads out to an island of enchanting beauty, to
the Grand Hotel on the Straits of Mackinac waterfront…

While waiting for the huge dining hall to open, he tours the grand old
building's museum, and sees a portrait of a lovely woman… He becomes
obsessed about finding the truth behind the old photograph and begins
questioning the people that knew her past… What emerges is a
wonderful woman who is the first American stage actress in 1912 to
create a mystique in the public's eye… She is the same lady who
visited him that night at the premier of one of his plays…

Richard finds himself intrigued… There is so much to hear… People
who knew Elise McKenna when she was young said that she was quick and
bright and full of fun… Strong, willful, not at all the way she was

Seeking help from an old philosophy teacher who had written a book
about 'Travels through time,' Richard attempts to disassociate himself
entirely from the present, move everything out of sight that could
possibly remind him of it, hypnotize his mind, and transport himself
backward into the past, into June 27, 1912, into the life of the
stunningly beautiful and talented Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour).

Nominated for Best Costume Design, the motion picture is a romantic
fantasy that avoids any use of machinery in action… The time travel
theory is completely non-scientific… The film captures the idea of a
fine young man moving back among other time periods, and affirms that
love is an undeniable force which goes beyond us, a force with no limit
to the spiritual power, with no end to the potential of spiritual