BLINDSIDED BY THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH [1976]

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The sad death of David Bowie prompted me to watch this flick, which coincidently was already on my list of Blindspot films to watch. Somehow I have never seen a movie featuring the great man, but even more bizarre is the fact that I haven’t heard any of his music. Nothing, not one song. I always thought I was a music freak, but seeing all the reactions to Bowie’s death in the blogosphere, I suddenly felt somewhat alienated. The rock I live under is so big that I missed Bowie’s entire career, which is something I plan to change. But first I wanted to watch this flick, as the title had already grabbed my attention months ago, while Roeg was a director whose work I was keen to watch thanks to John who had made a list of his favourite Roeg films.

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Instantly intriguing, Bowie commands your attention from the first scene as Thomas Newton. I can see why this is seen as such an iconic role – he truly inhabited his character Thomas. He displays a natural ability to act – unlike the vast majority of singers/pop stars who decide to take up acting – never quite seeming 100% human, appropriate for the titular character. From what I have read he was also at the height of his cocaine problem when this was made, so his extremely skinny frame adds to the otherworldly nature about his character. He plays the character almost to perfection, a couple of times acting almost scarily out of control, especially with his numerous television sets going at the same time, which I thought was a great touch.

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Despite his slightly awkward social skills, a woman takes a liking to him, and over the course of the film it seems like love is the only human feeling he is capable of, especially during the memorable gun scenes. It feels like a part of Thomas Newton wishes he was human.

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Candy Clark is beautiful in this role, I’m surprised I haven’t seen her elsewhere. Her feelings for Thomas are so strong they almost come out of the screen; this is easily one of the most memorable female characters of film. She also shares great chemistry with David Bowie, which really amplified the intimate scenes. And they weren’t there just to titillate; love (or desire, or sex) is the only way Thomas can feel human. Over the course of the film though he slowly becomes less human, culminating in that memorable scene where he takes a pair of tweezers to his eyes…

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The music (some of which may have been Bowie – I wouldn’t know), the surreal, memorable visions Thomas has, as well as the sweeping photography, all make for a fantastic film.

Rest in peace Mr. Bowie.

21 Comments on “BLINDSIDED BY THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH [1976]

  1. I’m literally in shock you haven’t heard at least one Bowie song by now. Wow. Anyhoo, this one is a blind spot for me, too. I definitely need to fix that. It sounds very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a very down to earth sci-fi film, no gadgets or futuristic stuff, just a really really good story (based on a book I think).

      As for Bowie, I don’t know how I haven’t listened to his stuff yet. I might have heard a few songs of his in a movie or something, but not intentionally. I’m changing that today, thanks youtube! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  2. Wow…. OK, I’m going to have to take you to school when it comes to Bowie. After all, I’m one of his biggest fans as I dedicated an entire month to his body of work in my music blog starting with his first album. Not everything in his catalog is perfect but anything he pretty much did from 1969 to 1983… you can’t go wrong with any of that stuff.

    Now as to your question about the music. Bowie had ideas he wanted to use for the film but it never made the final cut as much of the music you hear is by John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas and Stormu Yamashta. The music that Bowie was to make for that film would eventually be the ideas he would make for the first of 2 albums he made in 1977 in Low. When it comes to Bowie, you have to go to me for these things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow thank you kindly for the introduction! Interesting trivia about the music in the film too – because I didn’t know what Bowie sounded like, I didn’t know if it was him or not!

      I think I’ll start with the first album and make my way through… though he did some ambient stuff with Brian Eno didn’t he? I love ambient stuff.

      And thanks for the link ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • For me, the best place to start as far as Bowie goes is Hunky Dory in terms of studio albums. As for compilations/best of albums, The Best of Bowie, Changesbowie, and Nothing Has Changed are also great records to start with. There is also a compilation called All Saints which is essentially a collection of instrumentals that Bowie did as it features some of the work he did with Brian Eno in the late 70s as it is mostly ambient.

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  3. Pingback: BLINDSIDED BY THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH [1976] | epileptic moondancer | CFY

  4. Pingback: Blindsided by THE HITCH-HIKER | The Matinee | Cinematic Passion & Perspective

  5. I really should add this to my blindspot next year, I too need to listen to more Bowie. I just posted mine too, a very different film from this one but one I’ve been wanting to check out for ages.

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  6. Great post ๐Ÿ™‚ I noticed you credited me for inciting you to start watching some Nicholas Roeg films ๐Ÿ™‚ It is a big tragedy that David Bowie is gone, but his music lives on and through wikipedia and youtube, you can easily acquire knowledge of every song David Bowie has ever sang. David Bowie’s portrayal here was inspired casting and it may even be my personal favorite of all of his performances, though he was also in a British-Japanese drama entitled Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence directed by Nagisa Oshima which is pretty good though it has been a while since I have seen it. As for Candy Clark, she was Oscar-nominated for American Graffiti two years prior to this film. I do not know what she does nowadays though. Anyway, keep up the great work as always ๐Ÿ™‚

    P.S. I responded to your reply on my blog post of my favorite Spielberg films on my site ๐Ÿ™‚ Once again, keep up the great work as always ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. Nice review Jordan. It’s been years since I’ve seen this but I remember enjoying it. I’ve always appreciated Bowie as an actor and his movie and TV appearances have all been great outings.

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  8. Great review Jordan. This is such a strange and mysterious film, but then again, almost everything by Nicholas Roeg is. And definitely the standout Bowie performance for me.
    And you definitely must listen to David Bowie’s music. I was kinda shocked to hear you hadn’t yet

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  9. You’ve made me want to watch this!! I’ve never seen any Bowie films either (not even Labyrinth!!) Lovely tribute Jordy ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

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