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12:01 PM

Entry updated 16 January 2023. Tagged: Film.

1. Short US film (1991). Chanticleer Films. Directed by Jonathan Heap. Written by Heap and Stephen Tolkin, based on the story "12:01 PM" (December 1973 F&SF) by Richard A Lupoff. Cast includes Jane Alden, Don Amendolia and Kurtwood Smith. 25 minutes. Colour.

A brief Time Loop film in which Myron Castleman (Smith) finds himself constantly reliving the same 59 minutes of his life. His attempts to find an explanation for his predicament are frustrated by the regular resetting of Time and by the initial scepticism of the Scientist Nathan Rosenbluth (Amendolia) who – Castleman learns during one iteration – has predicted just such a possibility, but in the event cannot credit its actuality until he hears a detailed description that includes his own key phrase "Consciousness is an independent variable." Nothing, Rosenbluth unhappily concludes, can be done. Castleman attempts Suicide but merely finds himself back in the unending loop.

2. 12:01 US made-for-tv film (1993). Chanticleer Films, Fox West Pictures, New Line Television. Directed by Jack Sholder. Written by Jonathan Heap and Philip Morton, loosely based on the story "12:01 PM" (December 1973 F&SF) by Richard A Lupoff. Cast includes Martin Landau, Jonathan Silverman, Helen Slater and Nicolas Surovy. 92 minutes. Colour.

A very much looser adaptation than 1 above, this version gives the Time Loop entrapment a more conventional Imaginary Science background and upbeat spin. Barry Thomas (Silverman) is besotted with particle physicist Lisa Fredericks (Slater), is a witness to her being shot dead, and at midnight receives an electric shock which seemingly initiates the loop – now recycling a full day rather than just an hour and embracing the entire world, though only Thomas himself is conscious of this. During successive iterations he works his way closer to Fredericks in hope of saving her, eventually tracing the root cause to a Villain. Fredericks's boss Dr Thadius Moxley (Landau) has been experimenting illegally with her Faster-than-Light particle accelerator – thus somehow initiating the time loop – and arranged her murder because she was becoming aware of his activities. Moxley is ultimately prevented from setting up the loop at the end of a cycle, and the world is saved from endless reiteration. [DRL]

see also: Groundhog Day.


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