The Man from Earth
Richard Schenkman, Eric D. Wilkinson, Emerson Bixby (executive), Mark Pellington (executive) for Falling Sky Entertainment
directed by Richard Schenkman
starring David Lee Smith, Tony Todd, John Billingsley, Ellen Crawford, Annika Peterson, William Katt, Alexis Thorpe, Richard Riehle, Steven Littles, Chase Sprague, Robbie Bryan
written by Jerome Bixby, music by Mark Hinton Stewart
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Actually, university professor John Oldman (David Lee Smith) wanted to
skip town quietly, and burn all bridges before anybody might notice ...
but his colleagues, all top learned men and women - the best thinker of
the group Dan (Tony Todd), Sandy (Annika Peterson) who also happens to be
John's girlfriend, chief cynic Harry (John Billingsley), devout Christian
Edith (Ellen Crawford), professional doubter Art Jenkins (William Katt),
and Art's "favourite" student Linda (Alexis Thorpe) - stop by
for an impromptu good-bye party that's actually also a poorly disguise
ruse to make John tell them why he's leaving town. Well, he tells them, he
has actually been on this world for 14,000 years, has been born a
cro-magnon man, thus has lived through millenia of human history and thus
seen it all. Of course nobody believes him at first, but at least, first
of all Dan, like this sort of intellectual game between men of science,
and it's really fascinating to all how John quickly has an answer to
everything he's asked. Others of course think he's totally off the
rockers, first and foremost Art, who even sees it fitting to call a
psychologist, Dr. Gruber (Richard Riehle). But despite the fact that he
doesn't believe a word of John's story, even Gruber can't find any signs
of (traditional) insanity. Things really get a bit out of hands though
when John claims he has in his lifetime also been Jesus - well, not the
one from the bible, just a bloke who wanted to bring Buddhist teachings to
the Jews, without anything in terms of miracles or him claiming to be son
of God - that only came when the New Testament was put into writing. And
this is where John loses credibility (or more) with his audience - but the
way he tells it it might actually corroborate his claim ...
this movie, written by the man whose first filmed screenplay was the 1958
piece of drive-in sci-fi loveliness It!
The Terror from Beyond Space, could easily have resulted in utter
silliness - but it doesn't thanks to a well-structured and even better
researched story that does manage to outbalance the scientific and even
philosophical with the purely entertaining, but without ever reverting to
spectacle: Quite the contrary, the film manages to stay in John's rather
spartan cabin for almost its entire duration and still get plenty of life
out of it, thanks to a solid yet subtle directorial effort and a strong
That said, the film does ask for an open mind to accept
its premise, but if you can manage that, you'll probably enjoy this very
much, also on an intellectual level.