Monday, 2 February 2015

The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976)

The Man Who Fell to Earth is a 1976 British science fiction film directed by Nicolas Roeg. The film is based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis, about an extraterrestrial who crash lands on Earth seeking a way to ship water to his planet, which is suffering from a severe drought. The film maintains a strong cult following for its use of surreal imagery and its performances by David Bowie (in his first starring film role) and vivacious Candy Clark.

Bowie, who was heavily abusing cocaine at the time of production, admitted later that he was in a fragile state of mind when filming was underway, going so far as to state in 1983 that "I'm so pleased I made that [film], but I didn't really know what was being made at all". He said of his performance:

I just threw my real self into that movie as I was at that time. It was the first thing I'd ever done. I was virtually ignorant of the established procedure [of making movies], so I was going a lot on instinct, and my instinct was pretty dissipated. I just learned the lines for that day and did them the way I was feeling. It wasn't that far off. I actually was feeling as alienated as that character was. It was a pretty natural performance. ... a good exhibition of somebody literally falling apart in front of you. I was totally insecure with about 10 grams [of cocaine] a day in me. I was stoned out of my mind from beginning to end.

Bowie and director Roeg had a good relationship on set. Bowie recalled in 1992 that "we got on rather well. I think I was fulfilling what he needed from me for that role. I wasn't disrupting ... I wasn't disrupted. In fact, I was very eager to please. And amazingly enough, I was able to carry out everything I was asked to do. I was quite willing to stay up as long as anybody."

Erm… that’ll be the coke then, Mr. Bowie.

Bowie being roused from a drugs binge 
before hair & sunglasses were added for filming 

Clip Synopsis
Humanoid alien Thomas Jerome Newton (aka Bowie) gets xenosexual with his favourite Candy treat by ripping off his nipples, eyebrows, fingernails and any other sticky-out bits including his nasal septum to her evident hysterical distress. It doesn’t take long before she’s after a bit of action-man shaped genital bump (it is David Bowie after all) only for it to go horribly wrong in a bit of a misunderstanding about application of KY jelly. Newton then starts remembering his presciently Tellytubby-esque alien family & feels a bit guilty as he reflects on his departure from them in a large piece of yellow toast in the desert. I have tried emulating this scene by ripping off my own nipples whilst keeping a straight face & I advise you get some nipple adhesive in advance from B&Q in order to put them back on again. I found I was also able to make women piss themselves with this technique, but it was through derisory laughter rather than fear. I had much more success with manufacturing a giant yellow triangular transport out of paper mache & Wheetabix boxes but sadly got pulled on the A617 just as I was achieving a good escape velocity. Should've gone to work on an egg.

Once again, the Google robots have been at work and slaughtered my creative endeavour by deleting my montage, so you are left with a meagre trailer. This of course makes my clip synopsis above look like the rantings of a mad man. Ah well, we live in a bland world where only the prescribed movies, music, and literature are allowed, purely for the sake of profit. Sod the fact I could have recorded this on a VCR in 1976, stuck the tape together physically myself expertly with latex glue, and be able to upload it that way. Now technology is a hindrance. The music that accompanied the original clip was a 1972 track called Black Snake by a prog- rock band called Atomic Rooster, from the album In Hearing of Atomic Rooster. That at least is available on Youtube. See any absurdities there?

North Utsire

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