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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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HALL OF FAMEon 8 August 2007
It's not often you find a well-done romance featuring Jack the Ripper. A young Herbert George Wells in 1893 London invites a few close friends to his home for a meal and a look at his latest invention. It's a time machine, and he intends to use to it visit the future, which because of science and man's intelligence he is sure will be a utopia. The police interrupt his evening gathering because Jack the Ripper has struck again and they know he is in the neighborhood. But when his guests leave, one is unaccounted for, and the time machine is missing. It returns empty, having gone to November 5, 1979, where Herbert's friend, Dr. John Leslie Stevenson now known to be Jack, got off. Herbert gathers what money he has, packs a travellling bag, and sets off in pursuit. He cannot let the madman who was his friend infect utopia.

Wells winds up in San Francisco. He meets Amy Robbins (Mary Steenburgen), a bank teller who helps him with some of his strange money, rather likes his curiously old-fashioned suit, and then helps him just get around. The future turns out to be a difficult and confusing place. He and Mary develop feelings for each other and he tracks down Jack, who is in his element. As Jack tells him, "Ninety years ago I was a freak. Now I'm an amateur." The resolution of the plot is final for Jack, but is just a beginning for Herbert and Mary. But Wells is determined to return to his time, just as Mary is reluctant to leave her time. His disallusionment with the future is understandable. In a museum he finds an exhibit about himself with copies of his books he hasn't written yet. "I have to go back," he tells Mary. "I have to destroy this machine. I have all those books to write, whatever they are. Fiction, I hope."

This is a charming movie which is hard to catagorize. Some will call it science fiction. I think it's basically a romantic suspense film, which has a lot of humor built in. The future turns out not to be utopia, and Wells' attempt to deal with things is touching and ironic.

Malcom McDowell, an actor I have a lot of respect for, turns in a first-class performance as the shy, earnest and brave Wells. Mary Steenburgen just about matches him as Amy, a woman who also is shy but who values independence and is not about to simply settle for the title "spouse."

This movie works on a lot of levels. You might not fall in love with it, but you'd have to be both hard-hearted and humorless not to at least like it.

I thought the DVD transfer is just fine.
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on 11 June 2012
This is a superb film with a great cast that strangely doesn`t seem available to buy at a reasonable price. Having paid £20 for the dvd though it was well worth it as there is a really good audio commentary including Malcolm McDowell. 5 stars for sure. Well recommended.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 August 2015
Unremembered classic if ever I saw one, the story itself may not have held up so well were it not for the acting of Malcolm McDowell in the role of the protagonist, HG Wells, and the performer playing the antagonist, Jack The Ripper, which is superb but it is still a good one (adapted from a novel of the same name I believe).

The story sees HG Wells cast in the role of an actual time traveller, as opposed to merely recounting the adventures of one in his novel of the same name, the craft is similar to that of the novel and the meeting of victorian gentlemen at which he discusses his discovery similar to the opening stages of the novel or the first screen adaptation of the book. However, unbeknownst to the assembled gents one of their number is the notorious victorian villain responsible for the Whitechapel murders of prostitutes, none other than Jack The Ripper. When discovered "Jack" makes an escape to the future in HG's time machine with HG following to apprehend him.

The usual staples of time travel fiction are all featured here, the expectations of each of the future are tested, with HG's optimistic scientism, feminism and socialism tested, the Ripper's blood lust and depravity some what vindicated. HG naively thinks he can somehow compel the Ripper to turn himself in or that he can be reasoned with while the Ripper moves from targeting random women to a love interest recently discovered by HG himself, setting the stage for a final confrontation between the two.

No matter how silly or absurd the premise for the story may be, let alone the pairing of a fictionalised sci fi author-come-character with an actual gruesome murderer (questions of taste abound maybe) as a fan of time travel and steam punk themes and HG Well's writing, aswell as some of the actors and cinema from this time, I can recommend this feature.
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on 7 October 2010
When H.G Wells(Malcolm Mcdowell) is showing his amazing new invention to his closest friends, little does he know that one of his companions, physician John Leslie Stevenson(David Warner), is in fact notorious serial killer Jack The Ripper. Wells inadvertently gives Stevenson access to time travel, and when the police come round in pursuit of The Ripper, he has travelled forward in time, using Well's time machine. Wells sets off in pursuit, and finds himself in 1970's San Fransisco. What he finds there shatters his dreams of a Utopian future, but on the other hand Jack The Ripper finds the modern world very much to his liking, moving around unnoticed like a venomous Chameleon. Wells is going to have to use all his ingenuity to stop the monster he has unleashed in the 20th century.
This is a marvellous film. Director Nicholas Meyer pitches the tone perfectly, as it merges fantasy and reality seamlessly. It also is a genre busting film, being a romantic comedy, a fantasy and science fiction all in one. The three central performances are beyond criticism, Mcdowell terrific as the Victorian gentleman who is both awed and frightened as to what the world has become, Warner is perfect as The Ripper, a mixture of mannered threats and sly cunning. Last but not least, Mary Steenburgen is terrific as Wells' feisty love interest Amy Robbins.
Despite the gruesome theme running through the film, there is a great sense of humour running through the film, with Wells struggling to come to terms with Twentieth century America. There's a great joke involving Mcdonalds, and there's a very funny scene where Wells' who thinks he's quite the ladies man, suddenly becomes rather shy when Amy comes onto him.
Nice extras on the disc too, including a commentary by director Meyer and Mcdowell. One thing that should be mentioned. Although it states on the sleeve that this is a Region 1 release, it might be well worth your while asking the seller you are buying this from whether the disc is multi-region as mine played perfectly on my Region 2 playing DVD machine.
An excellent release all round. Don't miss out on purchasing it. 5 out of 5
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2008
My interest was sparked by McDowell rating this highly in the Guardian - in part doubtless influenced by him meeting his future wife on the movie.

He's right to be proud of it - an excellent film, a great cast, great looking design, a fine score, excellent direction, a witty sense of humour and with a warm embracing of the 1960 Time Machine and Jack the Ripper mythology. I always find Mcdowell to be excellent, be it in a Lindsay Anderson film or an episode of Monk and he doesn't disappoint here. With David warner as the other lead it's a fantastic cast.

Highly recommended, my only disappointment was not watching it on a cinema screen where the time travel sequence must have looked magnificent.
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on 11 April 2015
A TIMELESS FANTASY - with Jack the Ripper being persued into the 'present day'. A really entertaining thriller, with touches of humour as HG Wells try's to come to terms with our modern way of life.
But what really raises this movie above the level of usual thrillers, and what will stay in your mind long after the film is over, is the romance which develops between Wells and the bank's employee played to affecting PERFECTION by Mary Steenburgen. This could not have been better or more convincing, and it is her performance which is prominent in my mind even now days after seeing the movie. It's not all 'chocolates and roses' though - remember it is a movie about a Victorian murderer and there are some fairly disturbing scenes. How will it all end? The movie keeps you in suspense right up to the final minutes!
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on 5 August 2016
A great film. Somehow it has slipped into obscurity, and I have only seen it once before, when it was aired on TV many years ago. The writing, acting and direction are superb, as is the quicky plot, in which H. G. Wells actually did invent the time machine that he described in his book. I'm glad that it has been released on DVD.
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on 14 March 2013
I love this film and could not find it in the high street, so I was so pleased to see it on Amazon...I just had to buy it. The special effects are still not bad (although clumsy by today's standards), but the storyline and acting are of the highest quality and the premise is certainly unique. A gem and happy to add it to my growing collection of sci-fi classics that just don't seem to get made any more. Unless there's CGI all over the place or noisy sound tracks giving you splitting headaches, Hollywood are just not interested in backing films with decent scripts or plots. I may be getting a little too nostalgic but films like the original Time Machine or The Day The Earth Stood Still will still be attracting new fans long after more up-to-date garbage have long since faded away. Thank goodness Amazon can provide DVDs that the high street chains have given up on. Enjoy.
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on 24 March 2014
First off this is a Spanish version of the film. I must say I didn't realise this, but the seller has included clear instructions on what to do. Basically nearly all films come in different languages, so in this case you just choose English and away you go, so don't be put off, you'll still be able to enjoy this film. And this is definately a film to enjoy, great story, lovely charatcter acting and a fascinating twist on the HG Wells calssic, the time machine, to include a solution to the end of the reign of Jack the Ripper. I can't recommend this film enough its up there with Murder by Decree as a historical thriller come mystery, come thumping good yarn of a film. A+++
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on 7 March 2012
I have been looking for this DVD for a long time,as it is one of the rare ones around. After watching this on TV some years ago I remembered how good it was,so decided to get the DVD. After extensive search I was delighted when it appeared on Amazon when I quickly placed my order.
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