A psychiatrist, living in Vienna, enters a torrid relationship with a married woman. When she ends up in the hospital from an overdose, an inspector becomes set on discovering the demise of their affair.
Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. He starts a high technology company to get the billions of dollars he needs to build a return spacecraft, and meets Mary-Lou, a girl who falls in love with him. He does not count on the greed and ruthlessness of business here on Earth, however.Written by
Gene Volovich <email@example.com>
While filming at an old Aztec burial ground in the New Mexico desert, the production had to deal with a boisterous "Hells' Angels" motorcycle gang camping nearby. See more »
The blanks that Newton and Mary-Lou fire at each other for fun, don't seem to have any effect. In reality, blanks can cause serious injury, especially when fired at such close range. (In the making of the film, they probably used a special theatre gun, which doesn't emit anything at all. Or the gun was unloaded and the sound and smoke were added later. Anyway, in the story, it's a real gun loaded with blanks.) See more »
Oh, come on, Tommy. Don't go now. Give us another chance.
You won't find anyone else like me, you know. You won't find anyone who'd do for you like I've done for you.
See more »
In the original U.S. theatrical release, the "Hello Mary Lou" sequence with the gun was missing. It was restored when the movie was broadcast on pay cable. See more »
Devil's On the Loose
Written by John Phillips
Song is used as the "Nathan Bryce" theme when his character is first introduced on a college campus. See more »
Loving the alien
I like Nicolas Roeg's films although I don't claim to always "get" or enjoy every minute of them. They're always fantastically shot in a crisp, realistic style, he often pushes back the boundaries, particularly with the censors, and they frequently have scenes which stick long in the memory. However, they often seem to have just as many longueurs, with off-beat characters and non-linear narratives. Maybe I'm the problem...
Anyway David Bowie here plays a part which seemed to haunt him for years to come, in the aftermath of the film alone, he used images from the movie for two of his album covers, a 12-inch single sleeve while it also seems to inspire tracks on his "Station To Station", "Low" and "Scary Monsters" albums not to mention the famous "Ashes To Ashes" video. Bowie was at an artistic peak musically although off stage he was hopelessly hooked on cocaine, in fact just watch the contemporary BBC Arena documentary on him, "Cracked Actor" and he looks here as if he's just walked on-set from there. So can he act then...?
Well if there was one part he was born to play, it was this one, the alien misfit who conquers the world, but to be honest, while he certainly has a presence, you wouldn't say he was extended much. Looks great though.
The film stop-starts its way on his space invader odyssey, as he leaves his family life on Mars (or wherever it is) to start inventing items which quickly become society's new fashion must-haves. He picks up, (or rather she does him) an adoring if simplistic hotel chambermaid and garners a back-up team to make him a vast fortune, his target being to amass enough funds to build a spaceship to take him back home. But something happens on his way to heaven as unsurprisingly, he's abducted by government officials, where he's subjected to excruciating tests which wouldn't be out of place in an animal cruelty lab. Resistance however is futile and the mysterious Mr Newton by the end is a washed-up drunk, still resigning himself to his earth bound fate. In one of the film's most telling lines, he forgives his captor-torturer, as he admits his own race would gave treated a visiting earthling in the exact same way.
There's solid back-up to Bowie's central role with a variety of convincingly portrayed stock characters. Roeg pushes the permissive button pretty far here with more than a smattering of nudity in the sex scenes, not ignoring the fact that males frequently get naked too when being intimate.
I would still say there were too many scenes which for me played like Bowie's own cut-up method for lyrics at around this time, by which I mean I found them puzzling, strange and unconnected. And why no Bowie soundtrack?
Still, an interesting if confounding movie, as strangely addictive in its way as television is to Newton.
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