The Man Who Fell to Earth
dedication: For Jamie who knows Anthea better than I
Pan, London, 1976 (© 1963)
The blurb on the back:
Why did Newton need half a billion dollars quickly?
The book: A classic sci-fi novel by the author of The Hustler, in which an alien arrives on Earth and tries to start a space programme to take water back to his home planet. This edition comes with an iconic painting of Bowie by George Underwood.
The film: Directed in typically fractured style by Nicholas Roeg (who clearly liked the style and/or hipness of rock stars, since he also worked with Mick Jagger in Performance and Art Garfunkel in Bad Timing). It took the somewhat slim novel into fantastic realms of myth and fairy tale.
The role: Bowie plays the alien, Thomas Jerome Newton, and he's suitably blank and impenetrable.
The co-stars: Rip Torn, of Larry Sanders fame, and Candy Clark, later in the wonderful Q - The Winged Serpent, but here giving the performance of her career as the very epitome of poor white trash.
Most memorable image: Bowie in full-frontal nudity (flaccid, unfortunately) waving a gun around to the sounds of Ricky Nelson's 'Hello, Mary Lou'.
Star rating from the Radio Times Guide to Films:
Star rating from the Blockbuster Guide to Movies and Videos:
Star rating from the Virgin Film Guide:
Bowie was nominated as Best Actor in the Evening News British Film Awards, alongside John Alderton for It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet, Michael Caine for The Man Who Would Be King, Kenneth More for The Slipper and the Rose, Peter Sellers for The Return of the Pink Panther and Robert Shaw for Jaws.
DAVID BOWIE'S FILM CAREER IN BOOKS