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Tuesday May 28th 2024

Time After Time | 1979

Time After Time film location: The palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco
Time After Time location: looking for Jack the Ripper: Palace of Fine Arts, Lyon Street, San Francisco | Photograph: iStockphoto / elf0724

This clever little conceit has author HG Wells (Malcolm McDowell) using his time machine to follow Jack the Ripper (David Warner) to the 1970s, where the killer seems far more at home than the prim Victorian writer.

Victorian ‘London’ was, of course, recreated in the studio, but Wells’ journey is not only through time but space.

With his remarkable invention shipped to the USA as part of an exhibition celebrating the writer, Wells’ jaunt catapults him across the Atlantic to San Francisco, where the museum in which he materialises is a conflation of two locations.

The exterior is the California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive in Golden Gate Park. In truth, you’re unlikely to find much about HG Wells here, but there is a natural history museum, planetarium, aquarium, and stunning 4-story living rainforest housed in a 90-foot diameter glass dome.

The HG Wells exhibition was built in the studio, but the museum lobby (where Wells takes Amy to prove his story) is the Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street at 10th Street, in Oakland over the bridge from San Francisco.

Back in San Francisco itself, the ‘Chartered Bank of London’, where Wells gets directions from Amy Robbins (Mary Steenburgen), is the Merchants Exchange Building, 465 California Street at Montgomery Street in the Financial District.

Time After Time location: Hyatt Regency, Embarcadero, San Francisco
Time After Time location: HG Wells tracks Jack the Ripper to his hotel: Hyatt Regency, Embarcadero, San Francisco

With this information, Wells is able to track Jack a couple of blocks east to his room at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, 5 Embarcadero Center. Wells gets to chase the killer in the hotel’s vertigo-inducing glass lobby elevators, which you’re bound to recognise from screen appearances in The Towering Inferno and Mel BrooksHigh Anxiety.

At the top of the Hyatt, the revolving restaurant to which Amy takes Wells to lunch, was the Equinox – which finally closed its doors in 2010.

There's the inevitable trip over the Golden Gate Bridge, to the Redwood forests of Muir Woods, northern California.

Amy's place is a couple of blocks away from its supposed address (‘2340 Francisco Street’), at 3350 Baker Street, just south of North Point Street, in the Marina District.

The house is directly opposite the Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon Street, between Jefferson and Bay Streets.

Bernard Maybeck's plaster fantasy, set in a small park on the eastern border of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is a major location for the rest of the movie. It was built initially as a temporary structure for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1916, but proved so popular that it was retained after the exhibition closed.

During the late 60s, the original wood and plaster structure was recreated in concrete, preserving it to feature as a backdrop to films such as Alfred Hitchcock classic Vertigo and Michael Bay’s The Rock.