The Man Who Fell to Earth – Limited Collector’s Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
January 16, 2017 by Dennis Amith
Nicolas Roeg’s “The Man Who Fell to Earth” may be one of the notable films in the filmmaker’s wonderful oeuvre, but the film also features the debut of David Bowie, as an actor. A sci-fi cult classic that many fans love and appreciate for the film’s surreal tone, cineaste will no doubt love this Lionsgate 2017 40th Anniversary Blu-ray release. It’s the definitive Blu-ray version of “The Man Who Fell to Earth – Limited Collector’s Edition” that I highly recommend!
TITLE: The Man Who Fell to Earth – Limited Collector’s Edition
FILM RELEASE: 1976
DURATION: 139 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (2:35:1), English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
COMPANY: Studio Canal/Lionsgate
RELEASE DATE: January 24, 2017
From a novel by Walter Tevis
Directed by Nicolas Roeg
Screenplay by Paul Mayersberg
Produced by Michael Deeley, Barry Spikings
Executive Producer: Si Litvinoff
Associate Producer: John Peverall
Music by John Pillips, Stomu Yamashita
Cinematography by Anthony B. Richmond
Edited by Graeme Clifford
Production Design by Brian Eatwell
Set Decoration by Simon Wakefield
Costume Design by May Routh
David Bowie as Thomas Jerome Newton
Rip Torn as Nathan Bryce
Candy Clark as Mary-Lou
Buck Henry as Oliver Farnsworth
Bernie Casey as Peters
Jackson D. Kane as Professor Canutti
Rick Riccardo as Trevor
Tony Mascia as Arthur
Linda hutton as Elaine
Hilary Holland as Jill
Adrienne Larussa as Helen
Thomas Jerome Newton (David Bowie) is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth from a distant planet on a mission to take water back to his home planet.
Filmmaker Nicolas Roeg captured the attention of cineaste with his 1971 film “Walk About” and he would follow up the success with his 1973 film “Don’t Look Now”.
Having established himself in the industry, Nicolas Roeg and screenwriter Paul Mayersberg (“Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence”, “Croupier”, “The Last Samurai”) would work on “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, an adaptation of Walter Tevis’ 1963 novel of the same name.
The film would star musician David Bowie (in his first film as an actor), Rip Torn (“Men in Black” films, “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”, “Marie Antoinette”), Candy Clark (“American Graffiti”, “Zodiac”, “Blue Thunder”), Buck Henry (“Eating Raoul”, “The Player”) and Bernie Casey (“Under Siege”, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, “Never Say Never Again”).
To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the film, “The Man Who Fell to Earth” will be released in a Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack courtesy of Lionsgate.
The film begins with a humanoid alien named Thomas Newton (portrayed by David Bowie), sent to Earth in order to bring water to his home planet which is dying due to a significant drought.
But because his planet’s technology, he is able to amass a lot of money through patenting groundbreaking technologies for inventions on Earth and becomes the head of the technology-based conglomerate, World Enterprises Corporation.
He hires the well-known patent attorney, Oliver Farnsworth (portrayed by Buck Henry) and hopes he can make more money and amass enough wealth to construct his own space vehicle to ship water back to his home planet.
When Newton revisits New Mexieco, he collapses in the elevator in front of elevator operator, Mary-Lou (portrayed by Candy Clark).
Despite Newton being married, Mary-Lou would have a relationship with Newton and introduces him to popular customs on Earth such as going to church, drinking alcohol and enjoying the pleasures of sex.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to Dr. Nathan Bryce (portrayed by Rip Torn), a college professor who tends to have sex with many of his female students.
A womaniser, Nathan grows bored with his job and decides that he will work for World Enterprises as a fuel technician. But through working with Newton, he starts to become suspicious of him that he installs a hidden X-Ray camera.
And when he takes a picture of Newton with his specialized X-Ray camera, Nathan finds out that Newton is not human but an alien. And sure enough, what happens when the U.S. government finds out that Newton is an alien?
“The Man Who Fell to Earth” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio). This film features the new 4K restoration by Deluxe London. The 4K scan of the original negative and followed by a full 4K workflow with the approval of cinematographer Anthony Richmond.
The picture quality features a good amount of grain and this new restoration, I do not see any problems with dust, debris or scratches throughout the film, which is a major plus and definitely better than the 2008 Criterion Collection Blu-ray release.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Man Who Fell to Earth” is presented in English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. The film features crystal clear dialogue and music which sounds crisp and clear through the front channels.
Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.
“The Man Who Fell to Earth” comes with the following special features:
- Interviews – (2:46:01) Featuring interviews with Candy Clark, writer Paul Mayersberg, Cinematographer Tony Richmond, Director Nicolas Roeg, costume designer May Routh, stills phtoographer David James, writer/director and movie fan Sam Taylor-Johnson and producer Michael Deeley.
- The Lost Soundtracks of the Man Who Fell to Earth – (16:43) A featurette that goes into why David Bowie didn’t do the soundtrack for the film and how Paul Buckmaster became the composer. And also the lost music for the film.
- David Bowie Interview – French TV 1977 – (8:20) A TV interview from 1977 on French television with David Bowie.
- Trailer – (2:18) The theatrical trailer for “The Man Who Fell to Earth”.
- Deleted Scenes – (5:31) Featuring ten deleted scenes (without the post-production CG).
“The Man Who Fell to Earth” comes with a slipcover, DVD and UltraViolet code. Also, the Limited Collectors edition comes with a 72-page bound book, press booklet, four art cards and a mini poster.
With last year’s passing of David Bowie, the release of the 40th Anniversary of “The Man Who Fell to Earth” on Blu-ray will be welcomed by Bowie fans, as the film would be his first film appearance.
And for fans of the film, the 2017 release of “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, they get a film that has received a 4K restoration and a limited edition wiht plenty of swag and newer special features that blows the once-definitive Criterion Collection 2008 Blu-ray release of the cult sci-fi favorite.
A loose adaptation of the original 1963 novel by Walter Tevis, “The Man Who Fell to Earth” may have not been the easiest film to shoot. From disagreements to the film’s musical soundtrack and according to Bowie, he was stoned during the making of the film but his feelings of alienation made his role of playing an alien in a new world, work to his advantage.
But this was a time of David Bowie, the androgynous musician, who years earlier, captivated music fans with his 1969 hit, “Space Oddity” paired with “Walkabout” and “Don’t Look Now” director Nicolas Roeg.
There is no doubt the film was ahead of its time and a storyline that probably relevant even in today’s modern world with its story being a satire of corporate greed and the self-destruction of a person through sex and alcohol.
It was no doubt a much different sci-fi film when compared to the big budget, sci-fi hit of that same year, Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.
When I first watched this film, I remember being amazed by David Bowie’s rookie performance but was also surprised by the sheer amount of sex and to see the comparison of the lives of Newton and Nathan play off each other.
But aside from its take on modern society with the film’s characters, no doubt a satirical look at the corruption of society, but I also liked Bowie’s performance for the sake of showcasing his alienation of living among humans and slowly being corrupted courtesy of the people he surrounds himself with.
As for the 2017 Blu-ray release of this film, this is the definitive version to own. As magnificent as the Criterion Collection’s 2008 Blu-ray release of “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, the picture quality receiving a 4K restoration is a major plus. And all the interviews from the 2008 Blu-ray release is included, plus newer interviews.
But the biggest attraction to this 40th Anniversary Limited Edition set is the 72-page booklet, essay/articles are also included plus a poster and four postcards. There is no doubt that Lionsgate went all out with this Blu-ray release and surpassing the 2008 Criterion Collection Blu-ray release, which you will hardly ever hear that ever happening. But this Lionsgate release is awesome and is the definitive version to own!
Overall, Nicolas Roeg’s “The Man Who Fell to Earth” may be one of the notable films in the filmmaker’s wonderful oeuvre, but the film also features the debut of David Bowie, as an actor. A sci-fi cult classic that many fans love and appreciate for the film’s surreal tone, cineaste will no doubt love this Lionsgate 2017 40th Anniversary Blu-ray release. It’s the definitive Blu-ray version of “The Man Who Fell to Earth – Limited Collector’s Edition” that I highly recommend!
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