The Man Who Fell To Earth Blu-ray Review
‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ touches down on Region B locked UK Blu-ray with a generally very good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The colours of the New Mexico locations with their deep blue skies and variety of landscape earth tones are quite vibrant, as is David Bowie’s orange/blonde streaked hair. The image is clear of dust, dirt and print damage – although I did spot a couple of instances of neg scratching on individual shots. We are presented with a sharp picture which has a veil of grain throughout reminding us of the movie’s 70’s vintage. One thing that did catch my eye was the occasional ‘kick’ that looked like a dropped frame – and it reminded me of the fact that I’d seen this effect on other Optimum Releasing titles in the past. There’s no ringing due to over sharpening or obvious DNR effects to cause offence, so Nic Roeg’s Sci-Fi oddity has been treated with a modicum of respect for its Blu-ray release.
The audio on ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ comes in an LPCM 2.0 mix which presents us with clear dialogue and fairly solid music tracks. There’s no age related hiss, snap, crackle or pop to offend the ears. While a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix would have been nice to bring it up to date, there are no obvious occasions where surround sound would have added to the sonic presentation so what we have is something that remains faithful to the original mix. As this is mainly a dialogue led piece, it's good that there is no optical sound boom so the focus has been on keeping it crisp and intelligible throughout. John Phillips' score comes across with some depth to the wide range (and odd choice) of music tracks while there is an ethereal quality to the atmospheric underscoring.There’s not much more to say about it. A good, workman like soundtrack.
Booklet - A 24pp A6 booklet features extracts from Walter Tevis' original novel together with some stills from the film.
Interviews (SD, 112 mins total) - Here we have a set of interviews with a rather laid back Director Nic Roeg, Cinematographer Tony Richmond, Writer Paul Mayersberg and Actress Candy Clark who provide us with some background information to the production – although attempts to dig up something really interesting are thwarted by fading memories and the fact that it was shot over 35 years ago. As per other Optimum titles, the questions are shown as title cards between each response.
There is also a 4 minute audio interview from 1984 with author Walter Tevis, conducted by Don Swaim, that focuses on his background and the book upon which the movie is based.
Watching the Alien (SD, 24 mins) - This featurette is linked by Executive Producer Si Litvinoff and gives a decent background to the production via interviews with cast and crew. We get some insight into the problems faced in getting the film off the ground, Roeg’s relationship with Candy Clark and their memories of working with David Bowie.
Trailer (SD, 2 mins) -The trailer focuses on Bowie’s first big screen appearance (Phenomenon of our time) with a strident classical music track.
Nic Roeg’s 1970’s Sci-fi classic oddity ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ splashes down on UK Region B locked Blu-ray with a generally good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The picture is sharp, colours are vibrant and the transfer reflects well the stylish camerawork as well as the New Mexico locations. The LPCM 2.0 audio track gives us crisp, clear dialogue and a fair amount of depth to the rather strange mix of music – from Cole Porter to 60’s pop. A brace of interviews with cast and crew (sans Bowie), a production featurette and a period theatrical trailer together with a 24pp booklet of extracts from Walter Tevis original book make up the Extras. As a movie, it’s an interesting but uncomfortable tale of an alien (David Bowie) who comes to Earth in search of the secret of water to save his dying planet but gets more than he bargained for. Director Roeg succeeds admirably in communicating his theme of alienation.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £15.99
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