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Man Who Fell to Earth, The: Comparison (Anchor Bay vs. Criterion Collection) 
Written by: on February 21st, 2007

Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1976
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Writer: Paul Mayersberg
Cast: David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark, Buck Henry, Bernie Casey, Jackson D. Kane, Rick Riccardo, Tony Mascia

DVD released: 2003 2005
Approximate running time: 138m14s 138m33s
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR NR
Sound: DTS, Dolby Digital Surround EX, Dolby Surround 2.0 English Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Anchor Bay Criterion Collection
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.98 $39.95

Anchor Bay’s Region 1 DVD

Criterion Collection Region 1 DVD

Anchor Bay’s Region 1 DVD

Criterion Collection Region 1 DVD

Anchor Bay’s Region 1 DVD

Criterion Collection Region 1 DVD

The Film :

An alien named Thomas Jerome Newton (David Bowie) ends up on Earth while searching the solar system for water for his dying planet. Unable to return to his planet because his spaceship was destroyed when it crashed on Earth he invents several things which will help him raise the money he needs to make a new spaceship. Along the way he falls in love with a girl named Mary-Lou and becomes a reclusive millionaire.


Both releases present The Man Who Fell to Earth in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Both releases were most likely sourced from the same materials and yet the Criterion release looks more colorful and ever just slightly more detailed.


Anchor Bay’s release comes with three audio options DTS, Dolby Digital Surround EX and Dolby Surround 2.0 Stereo. All three mixes are in English. The Criterion release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English. Both releases are free of any distortion or sound defects. You can’t go wrong with any of the four audio mixes and both releases have included the original stereo mix.


Extras for the Anchor Bay release include the films original trailer, T.V. spots, talent bios, poster & still gallery, the original screenplay in DVD-Rom format and a twenty four minute featurette titled “Watching the Alien” which includes interviews with most of the cast & crew. Extras for the Criterion release include three teaser trailers, three trailers, a T.V. Spot. Also include with this release is a section titled “Galleries” which is broken down into four separate sections “David James’s Photographs”, “Nicolas Roeg’s Photographs”, “Si Litvinoff’s Snapshots” and “Nicolas Roeg Poster Gallery”. All four galleries are filled with a wealth of stills and posters. Other extras include a section titled “Production and Costume Design” and this is broken up into three areas “Brian Eatwell”, “May Routh” and “Sketches”. Clips from the film and sketches and other artwork are show in the background while Brian Eatwell and May Routh talk via audio interviews. Three video interviews have been included the first with screenwriter Paul Mayersberg (26 minutes), the second with author Walter Tevis which is an audio interview broken up into four sections and the last interview is with Rip Torn and Candy Clark (25 minutes). Print extras include the complete novel for “The Man Who Fell to Earth” and a twenty eight page booklet with essays about the film. The main extra for this release is an auio commentary with director Nicolas Roeg and actors David Bowie and Buck Henry.


When Anchor Bay released The Man Who Fell to Earth a few years ago I never dreamed that anyone who release another more definitive version of this film on DVD. The Criterion release is a stunning achievement which fully uses the DVD format by covering every detail one could possible want to known about the film and best of all the film has never looked or sounded better.

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