Somewhere in Time

Feb 14, 2011
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The sad passing of Christopher Reeve prompted me to watch one of my favorite films- the time travel/romance "Somewhere in Time", which was set in the summer of 1912.
For some reason MANY "Somewhere in Time" fans are also avid titanic buffs, and vise verse...
I have heard rumor that there are MANY similarities between "Somewhere in Time" and the James cameron Titanic film. I can only think of the year(1912), and the ending (meeting in heaven in a blinding white light).
Any other similarities?

regards


tarn Stephanos
 
May 12, 2005
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Hi, Tarn:

The passing of Christopher Reeve is sad for all of us who were fans of Superman (I was a kid then and thought he was God!). But as a fan of Somewhere in Time, which may have the most romantic score of any film ever, it is doubly sad.

I was attracted to Somewhere in Time because of the period setting and clothes but have since fallen in love with everything about it. The "Making of SIT," the documentary that’s on the new DVD, is about as powerful as the movie itself.

I can think of a few other similarities between SIT and Titanic. First of all, there’s the love affair between two VERY different types (you can’t get more disparate than a 1912 gal and a 1979 guy!). In SIT, Richard Collier enters a whole new world when he goes back in time but Jack Dawson in a sense does as well and the feeling that the viewer gets in watching both pictures is that THEY are going back in time. I remember feeling just as amazed as Reeve’s character was when he emerges from the elevator in the Grand Hotel and sees all those people in the foyer dressed to the nines in hats and umbrellas and monocles. I got the same impression when Jack and Rose explored the ship with all those wonderfully replicated interiors and costumed people behind them on deck.

Other similarities are that neither Richard nor Jack fit in at all in their new environment and that they make a few enemies while there. Both are also adducted and locked away in an effort to keep them from pursuing the women they love.

Ultimately, both die — Jack literally but Richard also disappears and is taken for dead. Both Kate Winslet’s Rose and Jane Seymour’s Elise are forced to go on without their men. Both live to be very old but die with glorious memories and, if I’m not mistaken, they both die with their music boxes playing.

Regards,
Randy
 
Apr 11, 2001
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My favorite movie since its release in 1980, the website for devotees of the film has this tribute to Reeve, and to the similarities in Titanic the movie and Somewhere in Time. The organization INSITE holds its annual convention at the Grand Hotel every year the last weekend in October.
http://www.somewhereintime.tv/newsite/article_titanicconnection.htm
and a comparison here http://www.somewhereintime.tv/newsite/article_titanicfamiliar.htm
The entire website has many wonderful tributes to Chris, and you can leave a message of condolence.
 
Feb 14, 2011
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What was the beautiful classic music piece that was the reoccouring music number in "Somewhere in time"?

There is a scene when Chris Reeve's character heard the music on a record, he froze, and said 'thats the most beautiful music in the whole world"
(or somthing to that affect)


regards


tarn Stephanos
 
Apr 11, 2001
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The soundtrack by MCA is still easily found in any record store, is never out of stock, and according to salesclerks is one of the best-selling movie soundtracks ever. I checked Strawberries today- it was there, as well as Walmart's. The DVD and VHS format film was too, for 11.99. Not bad for a film released in 1980. John Barry composed the tracks, except for the Rhapsody- he of Raise the Titanic fame. Jane Seymour asked him to write it especially for her. She was married at his Long Island home (hubby #2). She released her book, How to Live a Romantic Life not long after. The story of Elise McKenna is based on the life of Edwardian box office sweetheart, Maude Adams-Charlie Frohman's protegee-he of Lusitania disaster. Fascinating stuff.http://www.bookmice.net/darkchilde/maude/adams.html
 
Feb 14, 2011
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I read a recent interview with Jane Seymore, and she said she and Chris became such good friends, she named her son after Chris, and Chris was his godfather....
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Hi, Shelley!

Please don't regard me as a chronic nit-picker. I worked as a professional classical musician for 30 years.

The correct title is Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 - 18th Variation.

The Paganini theme Rachmaninoff used is from the A-minor solo violin caprice (24 Caprices). That piece, combined with Rachmaninoff's original counter-theme and generous sprinklings of the Dies Irae -- the ancient Latin chant for the dead, to which Rachmaninoff seemed almost addicted -- add up to one nifty, razzle-dazzle piece of music, of which the lovely 18th Variation is just a small part.

Best wishes!

Roy
 

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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John Barry composed the tracks, except for the Rhapsody- he of Raise the Titanic fame.

John Barry wrote the music for Raise the Titanic?

I always thought that the music for the two movies sort of "sounded alike" . . .

Jim
 
Apr 11, 2001
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John Barry was a close personal friend of Jane Seymour. Jane was actually married (the second time) at his estate, so she wanted him to do the score from the beginning. Yes, the waltz sequence from Raise the Titanic when Pitt is walking through the diningroom(so haunting and memorable) as water is dripping off the walls, is very reminiscent of Somewhere in Time. Both fabulous scores are available on tape and CD. The Somewhere in Time score is always in record stores and is still, 24 years later, a top-requested favorite. The new remastered CD from MCA is particularly good.
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Barry's Raise the Titanic music was the most memorable part of that wretched film for me. That and Alec Guinness's short walk-on as a survivor.

The part of Somewhere in Time that reminds me the most of RTT is where Chris Reeves is trying to hypnotize himself back to 1912 and wakes up to the sound of horse-drawn carriages -- something you'd hear as a matter of course if you were a guest at Grand Hotel (since it doesn't allow motor vehicles).

BTW, both the Titanic and "Molly" Brown rate a mention in Matheson's original novel, along with the "very Queen Mary." And if you'd like to see the hotel where he first set the story, watch the film "Some Like It Hot" -- it's the Hotel del Coronado down in San Diego, subbing for the fictitious Florida "Seminole-Ritz."
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Matheson wanted Mahler's Symphony #10 and #2 originally for the Somewhere in Time script but was overruled by the director and Seymour. Yes, Bid Time Return is easily available in paperback and in a special 1991 collector's edition along with What Dreams May Come. The novel surpasses the film. The Grand was used instead of the Hotel Del Coronado because the airplane noise, sight lines and modern life was too hard to avoid at "The Del" , and the story was set in the 1890's instead of 1912. The Del is supposed to be the place Wallis Simpson first saw Edward VIII, -and it's haunted by the ghost of Kate Morgan!
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Hi, Shelley!

>Matheson wanted Mahler's Symphony #10 and #2 originally for the Somewhere in Time script but was overruled...

Yeah, I seem to remember Matheson peppering his novel with lots of musical references. Trouble is, what works in an author's head may not necessarily be what connects with a large general film audience. But I'll give your suggestion a try. I've performed Mahler #2 live and I have a recording of the two authentic movements from #10 (I suspect RM wanted to use #2 for the film's ending?)

>Yes, Bid Time Return is easily available in paperback and in a special 1991 collector's edition along with What Dreams May Come.

We had just mounted a stunning production of Gluck's Orfee et Euridice at Seattle Opera before the film version of WDMC was released, so I didn't have any trouble spotting where that one had its origins.

>The novel surpasses the film.

I'd agree -- but I do like the film's more fully developed ending. And the scene where Seymour and Reeve give Plummer the slip for a beautiful private afternoon together is virtually a little ballet sequence that could have been inspired by some American Victorian/Edwardian painting. Visual poetry.

>...modern life was too hard to avoid at "The Del"

I was also happy not to have my associations with Lemmon, Curtis and Monroe getting in the way.

>...and the story was set in the 1890's instead of 1912.

I was struck by the 1912 update as well. I suspect that was done to bring the past into line with the film's updated "present day." Curious coincidence it also happened to be the Year of the Titanic. (Has it ever occurred to you that Bernard Shaw's play "Pygmalion" -- and with it, "My Fair Lady" -- is set over a six- to seven-month period in 1912 and GBS doesn't mention the Titanic disaster even once??)

>The Del is supposed to be the place Wallis Simpson first saw Edward VIII...

My family is loosely related to the Simpsons and so, by the technicality of marriage, even more loosely to Wallis. I suppose that's a little bit better than having a family of nothing but horse thieves.

Roy
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Yes indeed- The Resurrection Symphony complete with church bells. Pretty spectacular. The Del was also supposed to be the inspiration for the City of Oz in Frank Baum's books. Legend has it he was inspired by the architecture and when looking down at his filing cabinet labels, saw the letters O-Z and decided Oz was just the ticket for the land of fantasy. Fans of Somewhere in Time enjoy a weekend every October during the last weekend of the month. I was delighted to meet all of the stars, technical people and Richard Matheson there. And I confess to standing under that tree for a long time hoping a Richard Collier would come by and say "Is it you?"I expect this is my favorite film with The Age of Innocence coming in a close second! The INSITE website is beautiful and the quarterly is well worth the subscription. I am a Baltimore gal and often passed Wallis' Biddle Street home, humble beginnings for the woman who was almost Queen. It's good to have infamous relatives.
 
Feb 24, 2004
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>Yes indeed- The Resurrection Symphony complete with church bells. Pretty spectacular.

Wowwee!! Of course, that would have dictated a different musical structure for the entire movie. I don't know how much, if any, of Barry's music would have survived. I've often wondered how Kubrick's "2001" would have fared with posterity if he'd gone with Alex North's wonderful (but "conventional") original scoring. Or if Hitchcock had been brave enough to use Benny Herrmann's shocking "Torn Curtain" score with its screaming flutes...
 
Apr 11, 2001
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I am always amazed to find so many Titanic historians are musically trained and like trains as well as ships. I expect if we all got together in one room, we'd nearly have a symphony orchestra. We should take a poll to see which instruments we all play. If Cameron does a prequel or a sequel maybe we can work on the score! Screaming flutes- now there's an audio.
 
May 12, 2005
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Roy wrote: (Has it ever occurred to you that Bernard Shaw's play "Pygmalion" -- and with it, "My Fair Lady" -- is set over a six- to seven-month period in 1912 and GBS doesn't mention the Titanic disaster even once??)

Hi, Roy. May I interject a theory about that? Shaw had been involved in a controversial debate with Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle and others which took place in the editorial pages of the London Daily News and Leader throughout May 1912. Shaw made some savvy yet rather ill-timed criticisms of the "British heroes" in the Titanic disaster, pointing the finger quite rightly at the London media for whipping the public up into a species of euphoric mourning and adulation of the men lost on Titanic. However, his stinging wit had the effect of seeming to insult and even assault Captain Smith and his officers. He also made a joke at the expense of Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon) which was seen by many as an attack on her. Conan-Doyle and others defended Lucile, out of chivalry if nothing else, but Shaw never apologized.

So, in a nutshell, Shaw had had enough of Titanic when he set out to write Pymalion in 1913-14. I have never understood why he chose a 1912 action date, however.

As an aside let me say that the comments Shaw made about Lucile were calculated as he had a long-running professional dislike of her, mainly due to the overwhelming publicity she attracted for her stage costuming, which often distracted attention from the play itself. He made the remark to a reporter in 1911 that he was tired of seeing the dresses of leading ladies advertised more than the productions and had "no intention of lining the dainty pockets of Lady Duff Gordon." Nor was she ever commissioned to dress any of his plays. Consequently, when Mrs. Patrick Campbell, the star of Pymalion (and Shaw’s lover), asked for Lucile, she got Mme. Handley-Seymour, a lesser-known court dressmaker, instead.

But Lucile had the last word in a way. When Sir Cecil Beaton costumed the film version of Pymalion — My Fair Lady, of course — in 1964 he modeled many of the gowns, especially those in the famous Ascot scenes, on Lucile designs he had admired as a youth. In fact the dress Audrey Hepburn wears in the scene of the big ball was based on Lucile’s opening act gown for Lily Elsie in The Merry Widow in 1907. Shaw would not have approved!

By the way, Shelley is being very modest in these posts, since she was quite a close friend of Richard Matheson at one time. If anybody knows the inside scoop on Somewhere in Time, it’s this lady.
 
May 12, 2005
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It has occurred to me that I don't know how to spell "Pygmalion!" And also, I think I am mistaken about Shaw's writing it in 1913-14 - I now recall that he was working on the concept of that play for some years, probably earlier than 1910. It was likely in 1912 that he wrote the first draft; again I could be wrong!
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Still, it wasn’t produced till April 1914. I recall from a biography of Mrs. Pat that old Shaw was outraged when her introductory line "Not bloody likely" became the top-selling thing about the play. People turned out in droves to see the elegant star playing a foul-mouthed flower girl.
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Hi, Randy!

Thanks for your post! I've read a few of Shaw's remarks on Titanic, but I never realized he also got into it with Lucile DG. Great stuff!

It may be that I got the 1912 date from the My Fair Lady script. I notice now that my copy of Pygmalion doesn't specify any time frame, other than presumably "contemporary." This is complicated because there are two slightly different versions floating around out there. The Pascal film of the 30s updated it to that period with no real harm being done -- and it also gave us the familiar My Fair Lady ending, which I'm sure Shaw detested. The old boy was supposedly present on the set, so I'm guessing they either beat him into submission, or they sneaked it by him when he wasn't around.

Didn't the original production of Pygmalion take place in Germany?

Cecil Beaton also designed the costumes (but not the sets) for the MFL stage production. I remember the Ascot scene always got a big round of applause, with its stunning black-white-and-gray color scheme. The gowns weren't as ornate as those he designed for the later film version, but they were eye-popping all the same. And of course, Professor Higgins' brown tweeds in the midst of all this stuck out like a sore thumb.

Roy
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Yes, My Fair Lady opens on "a cold March night" in 1912 (and to judge from weather reports that year, "cold" meant really COLD). Pygmalion opens in an unspecified year amid "torrents of summer rain." Evidently, Shaw was willing to deal with rain on stage, but Lerner and Loewe weren't. '-)

Now, here's another interesting Titanic tie-in. The stage director of the original MFL Broadway production was Moss Hart, who was a discovery of Renee (Mrs. Henry B.) Harris. Check out his autobiography, "Act One."