TIME AFTER TIME (1979). By Nicholas Meyer, who also wrote it from a story by Karl Alexander and Steve Hayes. A more-than-promising debut for Meyer, this is a fantasy in which a time-machine transports from Victorian England to modern San Francisco Jack the Ripper (David Warner) with H.G.
Wells (Malcolm McDowell) in pursuit. It is clever, colorful, suspenseful, imaginative and intelligent, and has the additional virtue of not underlining those qualities , not talking down to the audience, and keeping about it a classy mix of culture and pop culture. Fast-moving, it gets down to the meat right away, cleanly and like a Boys Own story. It has human and clever dimensions -- Wells' broken glasses; references to death camps; the church as a closed refuge -- and humorous ones -- like McDowell doing a Tati number trying to catch a cab. San Francisco is an excellent choice of a city where odd dressing will catch the eye less than in other places. That same trick was later used in "Star Trek 4" which Meyer co-wrote. The movie is funny as well as warm.It uses time contrasts to satirize several aspects of modern life. The acting is first-rate, with the British actors cast against type , and Mary Steenburgen (at this writing McDowell's ex-wife) lending a big helping hand, not afraid of playing a kind of blithering ninny. Yet her love affair with Wells is nicely integrated. The time-machine is super-campy.One of the very best time-travel movies. (Edwin Jahiel)