Like sands in the hourglass, so are the movies of our lives (#SFWApro)

A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT (1970) is an animated TV version that captures more of Twain’s vision and story than any other adaptation I’ve seen. This Sir Boss (voice of Orson Bean) really does set out to educate and improve the people as well as import tech (modern tech as Hank’s a 20th century man—instead of a rescue on bicycles, it’s a rescue by motorcycle), and we get scenes such as the destruction of Merlin’s tower, Hank freeing a blocked-up spring, the quest with Alisande (though as noted in the previous post, her behavior is so odd that scene made no sense to me) and the final battle—though we substitute Merlin’s scheming for the Catholic Church and this being kid-friendly, nobody gets killed (there’s also an ending scene where Hank discovers a picture of Arthur on a motorcycle is in the encyclopedia!). Despite the technology updates, remarkably faithful. “I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a pipe so much!”
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE (1931) has radio engineer Will Rogers hurled back from the 1930s to the Arthurian era for a story that’s neither faithful to Twain’s spirit (this Yankee has little interest in the people beyond selling them modern goods) or to his plot, with details such as Morgan (Myrna Loy in the young, Bad Girl phase of her career) falling for Sir Boss and Clarence being his descendant (when Hank realizes this, he’s at pains to avoid changing history in ways that would kill him off). Unremarkable (even before getting to It Was All A Dream …) and Rogers’ on-screen persona is much more shy and awkward than I imagined (I’ve never seen him before). “Am I in my right mind—and if I am, canst thou tellest me where I am?”
TIMESTALKERS (1987) has Old West buff William Devane and time-traveling historian Lauren Hutton join forces to stop Klaus Kinski from changing history by assassinating Hutton’s ancestor (I will mention here that any time a character in the past a time travel movie is presented as a mysterious, incredibly wise adviser to someone, I assume he’s another time-traveler—though in this case, he’s not). Written by Brian Clemons (a writer of the British Avengers series), this has several touches I like and is quite entertaining. “I can’t break the rules but I sure can bend them.”
THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT (2012) is a better remake than I expected, as a modern-day Mad Science experiment yanks the USS Eldridge into the present, leaving the sole survivor of the crew teaming up with the granddaughter he never knew he had to get the ship back home before either time falls apart or sinister Gina Holden eliminates them both as a loose end. The man-on-the-run plot is stock, and this in some ways is like a SyFy Freak Weather or Giant Monster film (with the Eldridge as the monster, teleporting everywhere and destroying stuff). Better than Philadelphia Experiment II, though. Malcolm McDowell plays a scientist and Michael Paré (star of the original) is a hit-man.“You must remember these two words—ivory gate.”
209007_1020_AQUEST FOR LOVE (1971) is based on the same John Wyndham novel as Random Quest, in which a physicist’s (Tom Bell) experiment thrusts him into a parallel world where he’s a celebrated writer, married to Joan Collins (all rights to image belong with current holder). Unfortunately his counterpart is a drunk and a womanizing douchebag, so despite falling in love with Collins at first sight, Bell has to struggle to win her. And then it turns out she’s terminally ill (I suspect Love Story from the previous year influenced this adaptation, given Collins stays beautiful even as she’s dying)—after her death can Bell find her counterpart in our world before she dies of the same fatal condition?
This devotes more time to the divergence than I remembered, and I like the little details (Leslie Howard’s still alive, Everest hasn’t been conquered). However it also cops out by having Bell’s douche of a counterpart comatose in “our” world so he can’t cause any trouble. Ultimately it’s a love story, and I like it (though if you want something non-melodramatic, this ain’t for you) despite the perennial assumption that the Collins in our world will be the same person as her counterpart. “I just want you to know that if the time we’ve had together is all there’s going to be, it’s enough.”


Filed under Movies, Now and Then We Time Travel

9 responses to “Like sands in the hourglass, so are the movies of our lives (#SFWApro)

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