I never had the opportunity to see The Man Who Fell to Earth in a theatre, and the existing video versions were pretty murky when it came to the shadowy dark scenes. This movie is very unusual and requires some patience to settle into its pacing, but once you do, you’re in for a ride. But with those murky scenes before, you’d get kicked right out of the story and wonder what the heck was going on.
No longer. This Blu-ray transfer is excellent. My only complaint is that the color saturation seems a bit washed out. Some of the stills in the extra features have the saturation you’d expect. But this is a minor quibble. Maybe David Bowie’s orange hair would get all blown out in full saturation.
That brings me to David Bowie, who is really quite wonderful in the film. Enigmatic, androgynous yet masculine, and very other-worldly. When the film came out in 1976, David Bowie was star with a sexually and gender-transgressive public persona. He had some very big hits, and yet you really couldn’t quite peg what kind of music he was making. Nowadays his music is part of the rock canon, but in the ’70s he was his own genre. He was truly original.
This was his film acting debut, and he’s really good! Very compelling, and totally convincing. You never have what you might expect, a cringe moment where see the rock star instead of the character.
Maybe it helps that his character is totally bizarre anyway. But he’s right there in character, in the reality of the moment always.
This Blu-ray is worth getting, most definitely. [Edit: Since writing this post, the movie has been released on Amazon Prime, too.]
The Man Who Fell to Earth, starring David Bowie, on Blu-ray