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Time After Time (1979) is a delightful fantasy adventure based on the historical “what if?” premise that Time Machine author H.G. Wells (Malcolm McDowell) actually invented a time machine, and used it to journey to modern-day San Francisco in pursuit of the murderous Jack the Ripper (David Warner). Today this might be called “high-concept” but in the capable hands of screenwriter/director Nicholas Meyer the film is much more: a social commentary, thriller, period piece, romance and character comedy.
Meyer had previously authored the Sherlock Holmes-meets-Sigmund Freud bestseller The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (adapted into a film) and would cowrite and direct the best Star Trek movies. The director, a highly literate admirer of classical and film music, sought out Miklós Rózsa for a full-bodied romantic score of the kind Rózsa had written for decades but was seldom in-demand by the 1970s. The result was arguably Rózsa’s last great work, a stirring, symphonic gem that delighted critics and moviegoers in its authentic evocation of Hollywood’s Golden Age (even kicking off with the traditional Warner Bros. logo music composed by Max Steiner). More than being underscoring per se, the “retro” soundtrack plays an essential role in evoking the point-of-view of a Victorian man adrift in the modern world.
Time After Time has been available on an LP and CD (from Fifth Continent) but that was a re-recording conducted in 1979 by Rózsa in London. FSM presents, for the first time, the original soundtrack performance conducted by Rózsa in Burbank with a larger orchestra (as well as more music than the re-recording). With the original Dan Wallin recording remixed from the 16-track masters by Mike Matessino, the stereo sound quality is top-drawer.
FSM’s CD package features a new essay by Nicholas Meyer, reflecting on his work on the film and friendship with Rózsa, plus detailed liner notes by Jeff Bond and Frank K. DeWald. Thirty years later, one of Rózsa’s greatest works is available in definitive form.