In the late 1800s New England, banker William Marlowe and his wife Martha have arranged for their daughter Mary to marry the officious and older Lord Hurley of England. Mary does not want ... See full summary »
C. Aubrey Smith
Peter Standish has just inherited a house on Berkeley Square in London from a distant cousin, although he is unsure why it was given to him. It isn't until he moves in that he discovers a special bond with the house. Upon the discovery of further artifacts of his ancestors who had previously lived there, including a detailed diary, Peter comes to believe that he is destined to walk into the house at 5:30pm on September 3rd to assume the life of one of those ancestors. That man, also named Peter Standish, was an American officer in Washington's army who walked into the house for the first time at the same moment on the same day 149 years earlier in 1784, shortly after the American Revolution. Then, it was the home of Standish's distant cousins, the Pettigrews - Lady Ann and her three offspring Tom, Helen and Kate, who would become Mrs. Standish in an arranged marriage. Peter believes he knows what he should do so as not to change history by the details listed in Standish's diary. ...Written by
S.T. Joshi points to this film as an inspiration for H.P. Lovecraft's novel "The Shadow Out of Time": "Lovecraft saw this film four times in late 1933; its portrayal of a man of the 20th century who somehow merges his personality with that of his 18th-century ancestor was clearly something that fired Lovecraft's imagination, since he had written a story on this very theme himself--the then unpublished "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" (1927)." Lovecraft called the film "the most weirdly perfect embodiment of my own moods and pseudo-memories that I have ever seen--for all my life I have felt as if I might wake up out of this dream of an idiotic Victorian age and insane jazz age into the sane reality of 1760 or 1770 or 1780." Lovecraft noted some conceptual problems in this film's depiction of time travel, and felt that he had "eliminated these flaws in his masterful novella of mind-exchange over time." See more »
In the 18th century, the word Okay (ok) was not used. See more »
This is a very amusing love story with a good dash of humor. Much of the humor centers around the culture clash between Standish and the 18th century family. Standish uses modern terms and slips when he reveals things that happen in the future. The culture clash is a cautionary tale for would be travelers. This film appealed to many women because Leslie Howard was a heart throb for many of them. My mother loved this film and could watch it over and over. She was so disappointed when late in her life it disappeared from the old movies shown on TV.
It is currently not commercially available, but a number of vendors have poor quality CDs or tapes for sale. All of these were probably made from a VHS tape from a TV showing. The tape was deteriorated and possibly copied several times so there is a lot of instability and wiggling of the image. The original broadcast used extreme compression of the video and sound. As a result the noise level rises to become very loud until dialog causes the gain to be cut. As a result the dialog is sometimes very indistinct. The music which was originally soft also rises to match the level of the dialog. Once this is restored by hand, the film is fairly listenable. The complaint of another reviewer about the music being too loud may stem from watching a copy with similarly compressed sound. In addition the broadcast severely cropped the film and did not stabilize the jitter.
This is a film that deserves restoration from the existing prints, but when and if this happens is unknown. Until then buying one of the existing CDs may be the only way to view this fine film.
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