by Sue Carroll / Souvenir Special
DAVID BOWIE, “the man who grabbed music by the scruff of the neck and dragged it into a new era” has become David Bowie, the actor. “I’ve always been an actor,” he announced, talking about his part in the film, The Man Who Fell To Earth. “I feel a lot of sympathy with Newton, the character I play.”
Newton is, in fact, the leading role in the film. He’s a character described as someone “who is intensely creative, like no-one else on earth.” A fitting part then, for David Bowie, who takes on the role of this mysterious and complex personality. The story begins when Newton appears in the office of a New York attorney (we’re not told why) and persuades him to abandon his entire practice in order to represent a single client – Newton himself.
Despite Newton’s frail appearance, the lawyer predicts that his apparent scientific knowledge will revolutionise the nation’s system of communication and lead to the largest corporation in the USA being formed.
His prediction proves correct and as Newton’s business grows so does his personal fortune.
Meanwhile, he falls in love with Mary Lou (Candy Clarke) a simple, sensuous woman. Yet although she is a deeply understanding and caring person, she too instinctively avoids asking any questions about his origin.
Success follows success and Newton is ready to begin another, more ambitious project. One in which he will gamble his entire world-wide enterprises and launch his own space programme.
But even to Mary Lou, to whom Newton talks of a wife and family far away, he remains elusive, admitting no more than that he loves them both. But while the wealth that Newton amasses brings him love and admiration, it also brings him increasing opposition. Soon a theory evolves that this strange tycoon is an alien, perhaps even an emissary from another world. And as Newton’s Space programme increases so does the growing persistence of those people who oppose his operation into space.
Finally, before the blast-off Mary Lou fights desperately to keep him for herself, for she alone realises that he is deserting her to go back to his wife.
She needn’t have worried. Minutes before blast off, Newton is kidnapped and his lawyer murdered. His opponents have wreaked their vengeance. Newton is their prisoner and to prove their theory they carry out experiments on him which indicate a strange physical flaw that is not human. Newton realises that he can learn to live with this, for he alone can reach above and beyond those who diminish him. And so we too are left with the dilemma – was he “The Man Who Fell To Earth…?”