Back in the day when movies were made for television this turned up as a feature of the week. While it’s budget is on the low end and it’s special effects leave something to be desired there is much to enjoy here.
First off it’s about time travel and that alone causes interest. Most of us enjoy the fantasy and what ifs of traveling across time. Turning up in the leading role is an actor I have always taken a shine to. William Devane. This probably stems from my love of one of the seventies great revenge flicks where he played the lead, Rolling Thunder.
The last thing that clinches the deal for me is our villain. It’s the legendary Klaus Kinski. It’s impossible not to be drawn into a film where Kinski is involved. Sure he’s made a lot of lesser films over the years but his persona on screen is dynamite. Especially when he’s not dubbed by another voice as is so often the case.
The hook to capture our interest is a good one. Devane stars as a university professor who has a love of the old west and it’s history. At an auction he buys a trunk full of artifacts including an old photograph of 3 dead men propped up in coffins for their final photo. The picture dates to 1886 and it’s an original. The problem is that the man in the corner of the picture is brandishing a firearm. It’s not an old colt but a .357 Magnum. That’s impossible unless we have “a mystery in history” as Devane calls it. The man in the picture is of course Mr. Kinski.
Before he knows it, Devane is pulled into the mystery by another time traveler. The beautiful Lauren Hutton. She is tracking Kinski and the trail leads her to Devane and another western historian played by Forrest Tucker in his final role.
The film jumps back and forth from the wild west to Devane’s era as well as a jump to 2586 where we see the cause of Kinski’s fleeing through time. If you are like me and love to see Kinski throw a tantrum, not to worry as he loses his cool arguing over the time machine with fellow scientist John Considine. For the real thing, check Kinski losing his cool on set with Werner Herzog while filming Fitzcarraldo.
Character actor Tracey Walter turns up here as one of Kinski’s victims in the old west. Walter seems to turn up in practically every fifth film made over the last thirty odd years.
I found this one on youtube if you are so inclined. It’s family friendly and one could do worse. Fans of Devane and Kinski should be thankful.