If you have not seen Somewhere in Time with Chris Reeves and Jane Seymore, you really should. Great romantic movie. It’s based on a Richard Matheson story Bid Time Return. (screen play by him)
Now a spoiler question
The movie beings with an old woman approaching a college age Chris Reeves and she gives him a pocket watch and says “Come back to me” and then she walks away.
Confused because he’s never seen this woman before he keeps the watch and goes about his business. 8 years later he is in an unhappy part of his life and he takes a trip to try and cure his writers block and ends up at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. (MI) There he sees a photo of a beautiful actress from 1912. yadda yadda yadda, this is the old woman and by this point in time, she has passed away. Reeves travels back in time to find her. He starts with ‘period’ clothing and then at the old hotel his sort of hypnotizes himself and he goes back in time. (it’s a movie, work with me) He finds her, they fall in love, but then he pulls a coin out of a special pocket in his suit and it’s a penny from 1978. The spell is broken and he is snapped back to the present. He left the watch there in the past. Jane keeps the watch and will later return it to Reeve.
this is the end of the film
When Reeve returns to the present he is so emotionally and physically drained he dies at the hotel and reunited with Jane in the afterlife.
When was the watch made and how did it enter the story? Is the not the first time? Did something else make him travel back previously and then he left the watch? Or is it just a mistake by Matheson?
No, the watch is a paradox. It has always existed/never existed. No one made it. It’s its own grandpa, so to speak. A zombie watch. It exists on the earth only during the years 1912-1980. I love that paradox, when used properly (and sparingly!).
Assuming you take the movie at face value. if you subscribe to the view that he really didn’t time travel, that it was all a hallucination, it’s not a zombie. it’s also not as interesting a movie!
I haven’t seen the movie since it was new, so I had to reread the wikipedia summary. Now I am confused. I thought in this movie, they communicated through time using letters hidden in an old rolltop desk drawers, and that there were several trips through time. Obviously that wasn’t this movie. Does anyone remember what that movie was?
Just Asking Questions: Yes, I think you nailed the “watch was never created” plot-point of “Somewhere in Time.”
As for your own question: “The Lake House” uses letters that magically time-travel, but I think they were in a curbside mailbox rather than in a desk. I’m intrigued by the question you pose and hope someone comes along to answer it.
In both book and movie, Matheson pays tribute to the writer who had earlier used the “think yourself back in time” idea: Jack Finney. Finney’s “Time and Again” and its sequel “From Time to Time” make clear that the time travel is quite real (and not a dream or hallucination).
Unless I’m misremembering, Kirk’s glasses aren’t paradoxical in that they did have an origin point (whenever they were manufactured).
Or, then again, maybe they are paradoxical in spite of that–because they can never be destroyed (again, unless I’m misremembering; haven’t seen that movie in a long time). They’ll exist inside the ‘get them as gift, then go back in time and get sold, to be later bought as gift’ loop forever.
So the timeline of the glasses would look like a line with a circle at its end; whereas the timeline of the SiT watch would be a circle.
ETA: I would cross that all out if we had the cross-out function. Kirk’s glasses were manufactured (and thus have the line-ending-in-circle timeline) ONLY if the plot of that movie makes clear that time HAS been changed. If, on the other hand, the movie posits that Kirk-and-co. always went back in time and this is the one possible timeline, then the glasses are just like the watch (never having been created and never capable of being destroyed.)
Yes; the method makes so much sense that one can’t help speculating on the possibilities. Being a materialist I see the possibilities as being more along the lines of a mental trip than an actual physical translation, but: still.
Finney’s commentary on how people lived during the time periods covered is very much worth reading (and really enhances his plots, I thought).
I would interpret the movies as that the glasses *are *a paradox, but with a twist. McCoy buys them in an antique shop, broken, given them a new prescription to match what Kirk needs, Kirk breaks them in TWoK, and then sells them in TVH, where they change hands, survive the Eugenics Wars, WWIII, and end up in a 23rd century antique store, where McCoy buys them.
The frames are “zombies”, but the lenses are part of the universe. They can trace their lineage to the original raw materials, but the frames are just “there”. They didn’t come from any raw material. The material in the lenses continues on, because I assume McCoy disposes of the damaged ones, and those atoms remain in the universe until the end of time. But the frames only exist in the universe between the 1980’s and the late 23rd century, not before or after.
The young actress gets the pocketwatch back when.
At some point – let’s say 1950? – somebody breaks it.
This oh-so-embarrassed someone secretly buys a replacement.
A decades-older-and-none-the-wiser woman hands the replacement to Reeve.
Reeve goes back in time and gives the replacement to the young actress back when.
You see where I’m going with this, right? Decades go by, the pocket watch gets smashed, the replacement gets bought – and there was only ever the replacement. The original is the pocketwatch that first got mundanely crafted in 1950, shortly before it was sold with a nod and a wink to someone covering up a mistake.
I unashamedly love this movie. It’s sappy as hell and you have to suspend a lot of disbelief, but Reeves and Seymour are so good together. They were such good friends IRL that Seymour named one of her children after him.
I’ve never been to Mackinac Island, but it’s on my bucket list.
It’s not just a paradox, it’s a pair of watches.
You have two watches that for about 50 years exist at the same time in a entangled state where what you do to one is done to the other. It doesn’t matter which one she gives him since they are identical.
Ah, yes; thanks. I’d forgotten about the lenses (as I mentioned, it’s been a while since I saw the movie).
Another point: a crucial difference, logically, between the STIV glasses and the SiT watch:
In Somewhere in Time, the watch is truly in a loop: Elise gives it to Richard in 1972, and Richard gives it to Elise in 1912. No wiggle room there.*
But in the Star Trek story (in movies II and IV), the glasses are given by McCoy to Kirk in 2286, but NOT given by Kirk to McCoy in 1986. Instead, in 1986 Kirk gives (sells) them to a third character who has no bearing on the plot (namely, the shopkeeper).
*I’m not following the ‘broken/replaced watch’ argument in that other post; guess it’s been a while since I’ve seen that movie (SiT), too.
Oh, okay. I thought maybe there had been a point made in the movie about a replacement.
But you still have a paradox. The watch that Old Elise gives Richard is still the one that he takes back to 1912 and hands to her. Then when that watch breaks in 1950 (in your postulation), a watch containing the same exact atoms is created (and given to Elise as being ‘the’ watch), while the broken version of that watch continues to exist—in some form, even if crushed/dispersed in pieces, etc. The atoms that had made up the watch would still exist.
So you have, from the 1950 creation of the ‘replacement’ watch to the moment in 1972 when Richard travels back to 1912, TWO existing watches composed of the exact same atoms. (After that, presumably, the broken one would continue from 1972 onwards, in some form.)
Not sure what the name of that paradox would be, but it’s got to be one. Of course it’s the same one, essentially, that exists in all time travel stories in which someone or something travels back to a time in which the person or thing already existed (that is, two ‘versions’ of the same person or thing, made up at least in part from the same atoms).
(Actually, come to think of it, that’s also true of stories in which the person or thing goes back before the person was born or the thing was made: the atoms are still being duplicated.)