Pin It
Favorite

DVD Review 

by KEVIN TAYLOR & r & & r & The Man Who Fell To Earth & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & he genius of this 1976 science fiction movie is that it contains a lot more gin than ray guns, plenty of angst and ennui and absolutely no jumps to hyperdrive.





Glam rocker David Bowie, fresh off his Diamond Dogs tour, plays the title character as the ultimate illegal alien -- he's not here to eat us like popcorn or share galactic wisdom, he's just here to make some money to help his family back home.





His planet is becoming an arid wasteland and Bowie, known as Thomas Jerome Newton on Earth, uses his extraterrestrial intelligence to take out several patents on inventions that make him the reclusive billionaire owner of World Enterprises. The global powerhouse is creating a space program, drawing the frowning attention of the government.





Bowie is one of the delights of the film. He's an ethereal presence, his nearly translucent skin topped with a shock of hennaed hair. He falls directly to Earth, plunging into a lake. No spacecraft is ever seen.





And much of the film explores his loneliness and confusion. Newton, who seems content to watch multiple televisions and drink more and more gin, is manipulated by the motel maid who sees him as a ticket out of her two-grain-elevator town and by the randy, over-inquisitive researcher (Rip Torn) he hired to create rocket fuel.





Performances by Buck Henry as the patent attorney who launches Newton's business empire, Candy Clark as the desperate Mary Lou and Torn as the college prof who bangs his coeds are spectacular. The color on the Criterion Collection DVD is restored to its original brilliance and the cut is director Nicholas Roeg's original 140 minutes. The DVD extras include fond reminiscences by Torn and Clark and a frank behind-the-scenes appraisal by screenwriter Paul Mayersburg.





Directed by Roeg (Walkabout) from the novel by William Tevis (The Hustler), The Man Who Fell To Earth is full of the wretched excess of the 1970s -- the full frontal nudity is a hoot -- and it moves at a lugubrious pace but still is beautifully filmed and acted.





And it ends with a bit of quiet dialogue that is far more potent than the usual bombast that concludes most sci-fi films.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Robo-Reporter
  • Robo-Reporter

    Can robots take over local sports coverage?
    • May 20, 2015
  • Dude, Where's My Bike?
  • Dude, Where's My Bike?

    A new tool to protect your bicycle; plus, finding a new police ombudsman
    • May 20, 2015
  • The Contenders
  • The Contenders

    Candidates have filed to run for office in Spokane. Here's what's at stake
    • May 20, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Spokane Firefighters Memorial Project

Spokane Firefighters Memorial Project @ Bank of America Financial Center

Mon., May 25, 4 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • This Old House

    If it could talk, it could tell stories of three generations, along with a lot of griping from neighbors
    • Apr 29, 2015
  • On a Roll

    Just-announced reforms do little to safeguard Spokane against the danger of oil trains
    • May 6, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Comment


Briefs


Publisher's Note


marijuana


education


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation