2010-10-09 / Top News

‘Somewhere in Time’ Marks 30th Anniversary

By Karen Gould

Filming a scene on the porch of Grand Hotel for the 1979 movie “Somewhere In Time” are from left) director of photography Isidore Mankofsky, director Jeannot Szwarc, cameraman Bill Masten, Bill Erwin portraying bellhop Arthur Biehl, and boom man John Unsinn holding the microphone for actor Christopher Reeve. (Photograph courtesy of the International Network of Somewhere In Time Enthusiasts) Filming a scene on the porch of Grand Hotel for the 1979 movie “Somewhere In Time” are from left) director of photography Isidore Mankofsky, director Jeannot Szwarc, cameraman Bill Masten, Bill Erwin portraying bellhop Arthur Biehl, and boom man John Unsinn holding the microphone for actor Christopher Reeve. (Photograph courtesy of the International Network of Somewhere In Time Enthusiasts) More than 800 movie fans will come to Mackinac Island next week to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the romantic time-travel film, “Somewhere in Time.” Filmed on the Island in 1979, the movie stars Jane Seymour as Elise McKenna and Christopher Reeve, who died in 2004, as Richard Collier. The story is set in 1979 and in 1912. When it was filmed, many Island residents were extras or assisted in the production.

Fans will fill Grand Hotel for the three-day anniversary celebration beginning Friday, October 15, but likely many will be seen around the Island days earlier dressed in period costumes depicted in the movie. They will promenade through Grand Hotel, which has hosted the annual fan gathering for the last 20 years.

“I always tell people this is an opportunity like no other,” said Jo Addie. “This is the closest thing to actual time travel as you will ever get. It's always like time traveling when you go to Mackinac Island. It's one thing to come to Mackinac. It's a wonderfully historic timetravel destination and when you are surrounded by people in period clothing and they all love the film like you do, it is totally like being enveloped in the film you so love.”

Mrs. Addie was an extra in the film and is the president of the fan organization, International Network of Somewhere In Time Enthusiasts (Insite).

The club placed a monument to the film along M-185 on the Island in 1993, publishes a quarterly magazine, and has raised more than $20,000 for spinal cord research in honor of Mr. Reeve, who injured his spinal cord in a horse riding accident.

Those who worked on the film and are scheduled to attend include Sean Hayden, who played young Arthur, producer Stephen Simon, director of photography Isidore Mankofsky, assistant director Bert Bluestein, cameraman Sal Camacho, editor Jeff Gourson, electrician Michael Orefice, and liaison Dan Dewey.

The film's star, Ms. Seymour, will be filming elsewhere during the Island gathering, but is expected to give a video message to fans. She visited Grand Hotel in mid-September with some of her family. Christopher Plummer, who played William Fawcett Robinson, is filming in Sweden and is also unable to attend, said Mrs. Addie.

Bill Shepard, the founder of Insite, will attend.

“He started this, collecting the fans together to herald the film and give it the recognition it deserves,” Mrs. Addie said.

The celebrity panel discussion is the highlight of the event, said Mrs. Addie. The discussion gives people a chance to hear all the great stories and the memories they have of making the film and serves to deepen the fans' appreciation for the movie.

Mr. Mankofsky will give a slide presentation on the film.

A walking tour of movie locations will be conducted by Mr. Dewey, who used to live on the Island. He served as a liaison between the production crew and the Island community.

Scene reenactments bring the making of the film back to life, and are planned at various loca- tions with volunteer guests stepping into roles. The scenes will be filmed, edited, and then shown Saturday evening.

“It's basically a once-in-a-lifetime chance to step into the role and inhabit the character that they so love and to be them for few moments on the exact locations,” said Mrs. Addie. Other fan organizations give fans scripts and they reenact scenes, too, she noted, but not on the exact location. “It adds a really wonderful time-travel element to the experience.”

Fans of the movie, said Mrs. Addie, often share similar key characteristics, including old fashioned values, they believe in true love and commitment, and they are romantic at heart. Many of the fans are at least in their 50s, although some are younger. About 80% of the people attending each year do so for the first time, she said. Fans have come from across the country, Japan, and the United Kingdom. People come as couples and singles and fully 50% of the fans are men, she said, and 95% of the e-mail messages the organization receives from those outside the U.S. are written by men.

The draw to men, she suspects, is that the movie is told from the man's point of view.

“It's Richard's story,” she said. “So men relate to it. I think every man wants to find his Elise, just like every woman wants to find her Richard. I think on that level of finding 'the one,' it is very profound for people.”

The film offers a powerful message of hope, said Mrs. Addie.

“If you have never found the one, it gives you hope you yet will,” she said. “If you have found the one, it makes you realize how special that is with the hope that it will last forever. If you've lost the one you love, it gives you hope that you will find them again.”

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