Monday, December 4, 2023

Multiple Brunhildas will have to wait

...because Mrs. RWP and I watched the 1980 film Somewhere In Time the other night on the freevee (formerly IMDb) movie channel and I need to discuss something with you.

It starred Christopher Reeve (fresh from his 1978 success as Superman) and Jane Seymour (born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg and still more than a decade away from being selected for the title role in the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman).

Somewhere In Time is the unlikely story (warning; spoiler ahead) of a handsome young playwright who manages to travel back in time from 1980 to 1912 in order to pursue a romance with a beautiful and talented actress. This unlikely scenario requires complete concentration and self-hypnosis on the part of the playwright, who divests himself of all modern inventions, clothing, and accoutrements in order to achieve his not-to-be-denied desire, except, oddly enough, the cassette-tape player that plays his self-hypnosis spiel over and over. Lo and behold, wonder of wonders, he succeeds. The audience is required to suspend disbelief and go with the flow. After an all too brief but highly amorous night spent in each other's arms, the young playwright is snatched from his lover's presence and hurled back to the present (1980} when he finds a 1979 Lincoln-head penny in a pocket of his turn-of-the-century suit.

Okay, I get that it is pure fantasy and I understand how the spell was broken by the presence of a coin from the future. What I don't understand, however, and this is what I wanted to discuss with you, is why a music box playing "Eighteenth Variation on 'Rhapsody on a Theme By Paganini', Opus 43" by Sergei Rachmaninoff (and repeated by a full orchestra at several emotionally-charged moments) did not rip Mr. Reeve from Ms.Seymour's presence long before the offending penny showed up. The reason for my suspension of my suspension of disbelief in this particular instance is that Mr. Rachmaninoff did not compose that piece of music until 1934, which, unless I am sadly mistaken, was 22 years after 1912.

Do you agree or disagree? Please tell me in a comment and give reasons.

Footnote. That music by Rachmaninoff has been included in weddings all over America in the decades since the film because Somewhere In Time has been loved by so many impressionable young and not-so-young brides-to-be.

We will get to multiple Brunhildas eventually unless we are distracted by Field Of Dreams or Purple Rose Of Cairo or Big Fish or....

12 comments:

  1. Don't look to the cinema for historically accurate renditions. Accept its lack of continuity and enjoy the fantasy. Two currently spring to mind, by reputation, anyway - 'Oppenheimer' and 'Napoleon.'

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    1. That is certainly good advice, and everyone should follow it when watching, say, JFK, the 1991 film about the Kennedy assassination written and directed by Oliver Stone. It bears no resemblance to the findings of the Warren Commission. Thank you, Janice.

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  2. I'm not going to agree or disagree, but the sheer joyous construction and pedantry of this post is hilarious.

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    1. A true pedant would have also included the fact that Jane Seymour was Henry VIII's third wife. Not the same Jane Seymour, but still. The construction of the post is due mainly to things I was taught by Mr. D.P. Morris, my English teacher back at Mansfield (Texas) High School, from which I graduated in 1958. He would have expected me to be able to diagram all of the sentences. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, if you enjoyed the post. I can't really tell. Thank you, Tasker.

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    2. Especially the phrase "suspension of my suspension of disbelief".

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  3. OK I am all for suspending disbelief but this particular movie, despite the obvious charm of its players (RIP Christopher Reeve), has never done it for me. It's too outlandish and I simply cannot ... although, perhaps I am cherry-picking because I will watch The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney on repeat, if for no other reason than the tender tear-jerking ending, of which I never tire. But anyway, the best thing to come out of Somewhere In Time is the theme song, which is lovely. The Rachmaninoff 13th variation is one of the most rapturous pieces of music ever written and nice for that movie, but I admit I never thought about when it was written vis-à-vis the time the movie was set in. I just love to hear it whenever I hear it. But then, I was watching a much-fictionalized movie recently about the life of Elisabeth, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary (b. 1837 d. 1898), and in one scene where she was dancing with a handsome gent not her husband, a troubador off to the side started crooning Help Me Make It Through the Night, which was written by Kris Kristofferson in 1970. It was quirky and interesting to hear that ditty in that setting, so I guess these creative cinematic devices serve their purpose. (BTW they also had Elisabeth jumping off the prow of a ship to her death at the age of 40, which in fact she was assassinated in Geneva, Switzerland, at the age of 60.) At any rate, that's entertainment! xoxo

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    1. Hollywood makes all kinds of changes. Family sizes, for example, are different from the original source material in Fiddler On The Roof, The Sound Of Music, Little Women, I Remember Mama. The list is endless. Thank you, Jenny.

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  4. The moment you said "why a music box playing......"
    I knew the music wasn't written yet.
    I second Tasker and I love his line "sheer joyous construction and pedantry" It pretty much encapsulates every post you make

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    1. I think 'pedantry' is not usually meant as a compliment, bu I acceptwith pleasure your comment as well as Tasker's in the spirit in which they both seem to have been offered. Thank you, kylie.

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  5. First I must state that time travel is impossible because now is time. Back then are memories and the future is hope. After saying that, I can suspend belief to enjoy a story. If I am entertained that is all I ask.

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    1. I agree with you, Emma, that time travel is impossible. I like very much your statement that the past is memories and the future is hope. I too can suspend disbelief when the story calls for it.

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