THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH Limited Collector’s Edition [Blu-Review]

It’s been just over a year since we lost one of our greatest creative talents. David Bowie is known first and foremost as a musician, however like many shining lights in the art world, his output spawned multiple media. The feature he is perhaps best know for (calm yourselves Labyrinth fans) is the The Man Who Fell to Earth, the thin white Duke being a perfect fit for an alien presence who visits our planet in search of water, but loses himself in a gin and tonic. On the 40th Anniversary of its release, Lionsgate brings a new restoration to Blu-ray.


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 in the midst of a catastrophic drought. Using the advanced technology of his home planet to patent many inventions on Earth, Newton acquires incredible wealth as the head of a technology-based conglomerate (aided by leading patent attorney Oliver Farnsworth Buck Henry, The Graduate) that he intends to use to finance the construction of a space vehicle to ship water back to his planet.

Newton embarks on a relationship with hotel maid Mary-Lou (Candy Clark American Graffiti) and makes progress with the construction of his vehicle but soon finds his true identify at risk via his roguish colleague and confident Dr. Nathan Bryce (Rip Torn Men in Black) who threatens not only his relationship with Mary-Lou, but his freedom and chances of ever returning home.

While the response on initial release was cool, Nicholas Roeg’s 1976 feature has built up a large cult following since its release. It continued the hot streak of ambitious, challenging films that Roeg made in that time, including Don’t Look Now and Walkabout.

At times brooding, others quirky, the plot is slow at times but allows an indulgence of this fish out of water character. It’s unapologetically strange at times. The film primarily serves as a critique of capitalism and greed, while weaving in an exploration of environmentalism, isolation, and acceptance. A slice of sci-fi, unreliant on special effects but with a wonder in the visuals nonetheless. Roeg gives the film a sense of poetry, despite a cold, emotional detachment stemming from the main character. It’s bleak at times, but in its ruminations there is much to ponder and appreciate.

There is much resting on David Bowie’s performance and it’s remarkable how he slinks into the role of Thomas Newton. A distinct creation, a detached observer, wary yet indulgent, so distinctly alien. It’s a role Bowie was born to play, solidifying his transcendent status while constructing a impressive balancing act, creating a mystery within the film, as much as he holds a mirror up to understanding our own culture and human behavior.


According to press release details, the original camera negative was subjected to a 4K scan, restored by Deluxe London, with the approval of cinematographer Anthony Richmond and the blessing of Nicholas Roeg. The resulting transfer is impressive for the most part. A vibrant palette, blues tend to dominate. Detail and contrast is good, on occasion a little softness creeps in, notably in exterior/brighter scenes. These are small quibbles that take little away from a visual treat.

The release is packaged within a slipcase, containing a case for the film and special features, spread over three discs. One disc contains the Blu-ray version of the film, the other two disc are DVDs, one hosting the film, the other the extras. Also enclosed in the slipcase are 5 (lobby) cards depicting scenes from the film, a recreation of the original press book, a 66 page booklet containing images from the film together with an essay, and a small, folded version of the new poster for the film’s re-release. The contents are shown in the image below, and together make for a rather handsome package.


A stellar set of extras are packed into this release, the quality of some of the older footage is a little underwhelming, but the content is both revealing and entertaining.

· David Bowie Interview — French TV 1977: A rather frank, relaxed interview with Bowie reflecting on his transition into film.

· New Interview with Costume Designer May Routh: featuring original costume sketches

· New Interview with Stills Photographer David James: This also includes a number of unseen Behind-the-Scenes Stills

· Nearly three hours of (mostly) new interviews: with filmmaker/fan Sam Taylor-Johnson, producer Michael Deeley, actress Candy Clark, writer Paul Mayersberg, and cinematographer Tony Richmond.

· New “The Lost Soundtracks” Featurette: Featuring Interviews with (arranger/composer) Paul Buckmaster and Author Chris Campion — just over 15 minutes, about compositions for the film, excused/unused material, and the problems with constructing the soundtrack during production.

· Interview with Director Nicolas Roeg: A personal insight into how how he got into the film industry.


The Man Who Fell to Earth remains an enthralling piece of cinema, as well as a testament to the talents of David Bowie. Lionsgate has backed up a solid, remastered transfer with an an impressive package, together with a host of extras to deepen appreciation for a cult classic. Highly recommended.

The Man Who Fell to Earth is available on Lionsgate Blu-ray from January 24th

Get it at Amazon:

The Man Who Fell To Earth –
[Limited Edition Blu-ray]
[Amazon Video]

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