Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Mimsy Review: The Man Who Fell to Earth

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, June 7, 1999

When Mr. Newton came into my life, my old life went straight out the window.

Special features

Cast Information2

Woman marries illegal alien—from outer space—without realizing it. Tragedy ensues.

RecommendationPossible Rental
DirectorNicolas Roeg
Movie Rating5
Transfer Quality7
Overall Rating5
  • Letterbox

The quality of the images is a bit iffy. It is hard to tell if this is because the director deliberately went for poor quality in areas, because it was a cheap production, or because the transfer was from a poor original.

The story itself is quite simple: an alien travels to earth, tries to fit in and make money, and then wants to return home. But the execution may or may not be linear. The story is hard to follow and some things are just never explained. Sometimes there are flashbacks to his home planet; sometimes, he either imagines, or we see, his family waiting for him, and perhaps sick from lack of water.

“Mr. Newton” (David Bowie) is from a desert planet with a water shortage. In some way, he is traveling to earth to alleviate that shortage. By bringing water home? By paving the way for his people to come to Earth? His family is portrayed always wearing diving suits, complete with water tanks on their backs, to recycle their water completely, ala Dune.

The corporation he creates, World Enterprises, also recycles, taking careful effort to recycle all waste products. Perhaps this is because Newton’s own world was destroyed through environmental waste? Or simply from habit, because that’s what they have to do on his home planet?

It also has some good gratuitous sex scenes with coeds and professors. You can’t have a good science fiction show in the seventies without sex.

The direction is choppy. The camera jumps from scene to scene, scenes themselves seem cut before they’re done.

There are only six chapters, making it easy to fit all chapters on one screen, but difficult to pinpoint scenes.

I am glad that I saw this movie, but I’m not sure that I’d want to recommend it. If you’re a Bowie fan, you should probably see it. If you like weird seventies science fiction shows, you should definitely see it.

Recommendation: Possible Rental

DirectorNicolas Roeg
ActorsDavid Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark
Spoken languageEnglish
Special FeatureCast Information
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If you enjoyed The Man Who Fell to Earth…

If you enjoy Rip Torn, you might also be interested in Men in Black.