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A wonderful comment on humanities futility. One of Rod Steiger's greatest performances.
Science fiction often doesn't age well. It's like Wall St.--most speculators get burned. Bradbury's writings hold up, but this film interpretation feels very dated. It suffers from some artistic pretensions that were common to '60s auteur cinema--hammy acting, overdone expressionist camera angles, heavy-handed scoring. But what makes this laughably unwatchable at times is the cruddy night filter, a low budget expedient that also marred contemporaneous Star Trek episodes. It's such a weird and useless effect, especially in campfire scenes when it would be far more evocative to shoot it almost completely dark with some flickering flame highlights. Literature and cinema are different forms, and one seldom translates well to the other. This is a sensitive and earnest attempt, but it hits its share of sour notes, partly perhaps due to low budget, but it also suffers from stylistically intrusive touches of self-indulgence. Probably 2 stars if not for halo effect of the source material.
Not great by todays standards, and probably not considered great by the standards of when it was filmed. However, it has a unique script which is still interesting today. Also, Rod Steiger was one of the most believable bad guys in film history
Rod Steiger is as wonderful as always, an interesting tale of how a mans tattoos tell tales of a woman from the future and the past, which take him to these places following her imprint on his tattoos. Does that make any sense! Enjoyable period piece.
one of the most confusing films ive seen, it was enjoyable enough though. still dont really know what it was all about
This is a weak adaptation of Bradbury's book. Part of the issue is that Robert Drivas is not much of an actor. Steiger can be great when he's engaged with the material, but he doesn't seem very engaged here. He's in lazy overacting mode. Not as terrible as he can be (see "The Amityville Horror"), but not good. That basically leaves Claire Bloom, who is fine, but she can't carry this on her own. The film ends up mostly doing justice to the atmosphere of Bradbury's work, but the slow, listless pace and underwritten plots in individual stories make it a tough slog.
The Illustrated Man: A Memory of Time
The Illustrated Man breaks from typical sci-fi/fantasy, which tends towards the space opera and sword-and-sorcery genres, and instead tries to play with its audience's imagination. Unfortunately, it just ends up confusing them. The movie wants its audience to realize that the trappings of the modern world, symbolized by tattoos and the power of the past, are not the source of happiness, rather it is our connections with other people; however, the movie is so confusing and convoluted, that, despite some good (albeit slightly too intense) performance by the actors, rather than challenging your impression of reality the movie just irritates you. If you're looking for something decent and entertaining, watch something else.
Part of what makes the movie difficult to understand is it is divided into three futuristic stories that are printed on the body of the Illustrated Man, a character named Carl (played with an annoying macho intensity by (Rod Steiger). When Carl first meets Richard (Robert Drivas), he acts hostile and aggressive, showing his naked, tattooed upper body and expressing his anger at those tattoos-which were made by Felicia (Claire Bloom), a women Carl once loved. Every tattoo explains part of Carl's past, but it isn't until the end of the movie that Felicia explains the tattoos' magic purpose: "Each person who tries to see beyond his own time must face questions to which there cannot yet be proven answers."
Through each story you can see that the movie is playing with you all time, but rather than being profound, it just gets confusing. For example, the movie never explains when Carl and Felicia have kids together; they just get kids. He also hates his tattoos, considering them a curse, but at the same time he loves them, like an addiction. And when he tries to get away from Felicia and stop getting tattoos, she seduces him, and he gives himself to her, but they don't rally explain what, other than Felicia being sexy, that keeps him there.
This film is really good about not getting too extreme with technology, even though it is all about the future. But the screenplay was poorly done, and the actors expressions of their feelings get too dramatic. It is an stressful movie with too many plot holes. One example of this is when Felicia and Him are supposed to be in a space ship trying to put their children to bed: again, when do they have kids? When did they fall in love? The movie never tells us.
The movie is an adaptation of Ray Bradbury's story of the same name. While I haven't read the book, it seems like a good story. But this movie isn't a very good one.
On his way to California to look for work, Willie(Robert Drivas) encounters Carl(Rod Steiger), another wanderer, who is covered head to foot in tattoos, or as he puts it, 'skin illustrations.' He is looking for Felicia(Claire Bloom), the artist whose work he is currently demonstrating, and if he has his way, it will not be a happy reunion.
To be honest, "The Illustrated Man" is an odd movie. Which is all fine and good when discussing a science fiction/fantasy movie like this one, made at a time when tattoos were much less common than today.(It was also at a time when people did a lot of drugs.) Also indicative or cliched of the time is how each of the vignettes is a generational conflict taken to its logical extreme. But perhaps most odd and why it never fully works as well as it should are the intense and unwavering performances from Rod Steiger who was here at the end of his brief run as Hollywood leading man.
This is a classic. The naysayers need to list their IQs. That would explain the low rating.
I love this film and would love to know where the campfire scenes were filmed.