There’s no denying that Nicholas Roeg is a visionary director. He’s a director to wrestle with. Performance, Walkabout, Don’t Look Now, and this guarantee his place. I’m a fan of Don’t Look Now, that’s easily my favorite of his films. He has a great sense of visuals. He began as a cinematographer. He’s visually strong, not surprisingly.
The Man Who Fell to Earth was damaged in its initial release. It makes the uncut version (presented by Criterion) fetishizable. A film like this in the 70’s with a cut version is the sort that gathers a cult following. Hushed tones. There is a lot to see here, themes to figure out. I had never loved this film, and I try.
David Bowie plays Thomas Jerome Newton. He comes to
Roeg’s sense of cinema is wholly his own. It’s a cadence that is wholly unique, and how he cuts, how he tells a story is extraordinarily unique. For that I celebrate his work whole-heartedly. But with this film, I like the edges. I like the ideas, and the moments but not the whole.
There is no
The Criterion collection presents the Blu-Ray in widescreen (2.35:1) and in LPCM 2.0. Roeg is a visual filmmaker, and the 1080 transfer makes this already beautiful film all the more absorbing. The clarity and color just pops. The extras are replicated from the Laserdisc, and the two disc special edition, though not included is the novel, as it was with the DVD release. Here there’s a commentary by Nicholas Roeg, David Bowie and Buck Henry that was also included on the laserdisc (it was recorded in 1992). It’s a great track and everyone says interesting things – everyone here seems to have done some homework, and have great stories to tell about the making of, and the content involved. This is one of the better commentary tracks ever. Screenwriter Paul Mayersberg gets a chance to talk about his work in adapting the novel (26 min.), and he’s fairly interesting, while his source writer Walter Tevis gets a chance to speak in a 1984 audio interview (25 min.), While performers Candy Clark and Rip Torn get their own featurette and speak to the beaten nature of the film upon stateside release (25 min). Torn is considered a hard man to work with, but it’s impossible not to love him. Impossible (at least from a distance). Also included are audio interviews with costume designer May Routh (20 min.) and production designer Brian Eatwell (24 min.), along with a still gallery for Routh’s costume sketches. Six trailers and a TV spot have also been included, along with still galleries for behind-the-scenes photos; production and publicity stills, introduced by set photographer David James (3 min.), and a gallery of posters from Roeg’s films.