Timestalkers

Tagged: Film

Made-for-tv film (1987). Newland/Raynor Productions for CBS-TV. Directed by Michael Schultz. Produced by Charles W Fries, Richard Maynard and John Newland. Screenplay by Brian Clemens, based on the unpublished novel The Tintype by Ray Brown. Cast includes John Considine, William Devane, Lauren Hutton and Klaus Kinski. 100 minutes. Colour.

After his wife and children die in an automobile accident, history professor Scott McKenzie (Devane) distracts himself with his interest in Old American West memorabilia. A trunk of such items bought at auction proves to contain an undoubtedly hundred-year-old tintype photograph of a cowboy with a modern .357 Magnum handgun. Reasoning that Time Travel may be involved, McKenzie writes a paper on the subject; the mysterious Georgia Crawford (Hutton) approaches him and claims interest in such theories. They visit the Californian town where the photograph was taken, and she secretly uses a Time Machine to visit the 1880s. McKenzie witnesses her return; she admits that she is from the twenty-sixth century and is searching for her contemporary Dr Joseph Cole (Kinski), who is the cowboy in the tintype. McKenzie's speculations have eventually led to the development of time travel; Cole is trying to change history by altering events in 1886. Georgia and McKenzie travel to that year; a chase through time ensues, and it emerges that Cole plans to kill Georgia's ancestor Matthew Crawford (Considine) and erase her bloodline from history – in particular her father, a Scientist who with Cole had developed the time-travel technology but opposed its dangerous use. After further complications McKenzie saves the day by killing Cole in a shoot-out. Before she returns to the future, Georgia provides his earlier self with the information and means to prevent his family's death in 1986.

Possibly intended as a pilot for a never-made Television series, Time Stalkers is a reasonably successful film despite the occasionally visible budgetary limitations of television. [GSt/DRL]

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