JULY / AUG 2012: BY PATTI GARDNER
What if we were not bound by the constraints of time? What if traveling between centuries was as effortless as traveling between different time zones? What if going to sleep in one time period and waking up in another was not only doable, but probable? What if one could find the greatest love they have ever known in a time period other than the one in which they have lived the majority of their days? Would any of you be up for that? I would… without question. To me, the idea of time travel is among the most romantic notions ever, and when a story of this kind of love (a love not bound by time) is brought to life by Tyrone Power and Ann Blyth, it is even more romantic and beautiful.
In I’ll Never Forget You, from 1951, American physicist Peter Standish (Tyrone Power) has been doing atomic research at a laboratory in England. Although firmly established in the 20th century, the somewhat reclusive Dr. Standish, who doesn’t do much socially, lives in an 18th-century home left to him by a distant relative. With the exception of electricity and plumbing, the house is virtually as it was in 1784, and Peter likes it that way.
Through the diary of his long-dead ancestor (also Peter Standish) he discovers that at one point in his life, his namesake claimed to be from the future and maintained he could foretell history. A few days after making that insane-sounding declaration, the man was normal again and went on to marry and have a family. Dr. Standish comes to believe he was the man from the future and he and the 18th-century Peter exchanged places for a time. He tells his friend Roger (Michael Rennie) that he is going back to the 18th century. Roger thinks Peter is being fanciful and even suggests that the house isn’t good for him.
After being hit by a bolt of lightning, however, Peter does go back in time. On the very date the 18th-century Peter Standish arrived in England, current-day Peter is transported there. From the beginning, everyone thinks he is odd, since he knows things that haven’t happened yet, and when he begins to speak of people as though they were dead, everyone begins to fear him. Eventually, he makes the claim in the diary, that he is from the future, a claim which finds Peter sentenced to an asylum.
Though he knows from the diary that Peter will marry Kate, current day Peter falls in love with Helen (Ann Blyth). Though Helen is engaged to another man, she falls in love with Peter as well and, while others think he is crazy, Helen completely believes that he is from the future.
Despite their deep and abiding love for each other, the centuries-different lovers know that Peter will one day have to return to the future and therefore that they are destined to part, but Helen assures him that their love will be for always… not in her time or his time… but in God’s time. How God brings these two back into each others’ lives will play out in the balance of the film.
I’ll Never Forget You is an amazingly romantic film, with a completely fascinating storyline. As one who has long-loved the idea of time travel, I was into this movie from minute one. The love of Helen and Peter is beautiful and timeless. Blyth is stunning, and Power is incredibly handsome; the acting of both is quite good. The filming is lovely as well; all scenes in the past are in color, while present day events are black and white. All these things combine for a lovely chick flick. If you are a fan of time-travel romances, you will definitely not want to miss it. And maybe after watching it, like me, you will wish that time travel was as common as any other kind of travel. ■