The Man Who Fell to Earth appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not great, the image seemed mostly positive.
Sharpness usually worked well. Some intentional softness appeared due to photographic techniques, but the rest of the image offered generally appealing delineation. Some shots appeared a little on the soft side for no obvious design reasons, though.
Jagged edges and moirť effects created no concerns, and I also detected no signs of edge enhancement. Print flaws failed to materialize here.
Colors looked mostly good. The film took on a somewhat yellow tint that limited the range of hues, but the disc reproduced them with reasonable clarity. Black levels were deep and rich, while shadow detail looked clean and clear. This was a primarily positive presentation.
The DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack of Earth worked well for a movie from the mid-Seventies, as the audio showed good spread and imaging. For the most part, the sound tended toward a general sense of ambience, but some more distinct examples occurred, and those were nicely delineated. Localization and placement seemed natural and accurate, and the elements combined well.
Audio quality appeared erratic but generally solid. Speech sometimes seemed a little thin and hollow, and I also noticed some minor vocal bleeding to the sides at times. However, dialogue generally remained acceptably natural, and I noticed no issues related to intelligibility or edginess.
Music sounded fairly clear and distinctive, as the various musical elements appeared reasonably smooth. Effects occasionally sounded a little shrill, but they usually seemed acceptably natural and accurate.
Bass response remained fairly tight and offered a good presence as a whole. The soundtrack of Earth did nothing terribly spectacular, but I thought it sounded above average for a film from this time period.
How does the 2017 Blu-ray compare to the Criterion Blu-ray release? Audio seemed similar, if not identical, so I detected no obvious differences between the Criterionís PCM stereo mix and this oneís DTS-HD MA track.
On the other hand, visuals seemed a little weaker with the 2017 Blu-ray. With that yellow orientation, colors appeared less natural, and sharpness came across as slightly less concise.
Donít take these changes to indicate a big drop from the Criterion, and honestly, if Iíd never seen the prior Blu-ray, Iíd probably feel more satisfied with this one. Overall, itís a pleasing release, but I think the Criterion Blu-ray presented a stronger image.
The 2017 Blu-ray duplicates almost none of the Criterionís extras. Under Interviews, we get two hours, 46 minutes, and one second of material from eight participants: actor Candy Clark (27:47), writer Paul Mayersberg (31:51), cinematographer Tony Richmond (21:48), director Nicolas Roeg (33:28), costume designer May Routh (14:44), still photographer David James (8:38), fan/filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson (11:20) and producer Michael Deeley (16:26).
Across these, we learn about how various participants came to the project, aspects of their participation, reflections on various cast/crew, production details, and perspectives on the final film.
Inevitably, the quality of these chats varies. To my surprise, Roeg becomes probably the least interesting of the crew, mainly because he tends to ramble and doesnít give us a lot of particularly compelling details. Taylor-Johnsonís interview also feels like little more than generic praise for the film.
Clarkís discussion works pretty well, though, and I like Routhís view of the filmís costumes Ė she gives us a good perspective on the challenges she confronted. The others have their merits as well, so overall, this collection of interviews adds useful material.
The Lost Soundtracks runs 16 minutes, 44 seconds and presents notes from Deeley, arranger/composer/conductor Paul Buckmaster, and author Chris Campion. As implied by the title, they look at various musical concepts intended for the film but not used. ďLostĒ becomes a reasonable overview.
From 1977, we get a French TV interview with David Bowie. In this eight-minute, 20-second piece, Bowie discusses the film and his plans for the future.
Because the clip includes a long snippet from the movie and because the interviewer constantly translates questions and answers into French, we donít get a ton of content here. Still, itís good to see Bowie from the period not long after the filmís release, so this becomes a decent archival segment.
In addition to a trailer, we get materials not housed on the Blu-ray. Four postcards show shots from the movie, and a foldout poster offers an image created for this release.
A reproduction of the filmís press book features credits, ads and reviews. Finally, a 72-page booklet offers photos, essays and archival materials. All of these components add to the package.
The set also includes a DVD copy of the film. One disc includes the movie while another platter provides the same extras as the Blu-ray.
Anyone who wants an evening with a light and easy film should skip The Man Who Fell to Earth. A complicated work, Earth presents an intriguing experience that falters at times but generally seems compelling and interesting. The Blu-ray offers generally good picture and audio along with a fairly informative set of supplements. I prefer the Criterion Blu-ray of Earth, but if you canít find that out-of-print release for a reasonable price, this 2017 disc works well enough.
To rate this film visit the Special Edition review of THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH