The Illustrated Man

  • Film
  • Science fiction
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A much maligned film, loosely derived from Ray Bradbury's collection of short stories and spinning out a fascinating triangle relationship which ranges disconcertingly through past, present and future, and in which the three participants never meet on the same time plane. A young hitchhiker (Drivas) encounters a stranger on the road (Steiger) whose skin is covered with fantastic tattoos which foretell the future. They were done, he says, by a witch-woman (Bloom) who disappeared 'back into the future', leaving him to roam the earth like the Wandering Jew in quest of vengeance against the woman who made him an outcast. Fascinated, already falling in love, the young man begins to conjure an image of the witch; and through the Illustrated Man's tattoos, sees three stories from the distant future in which he, the witch and the Illustrated Man play the leading roles, all hingeing obliquely on the betrayal of love, with sometimes one character, sometimes another, becoming the victim. Time suddenly ceases to exist, and the characters are caught in a reenactment of the story of the Garden of Eden (or of Cain and Abel) over a campfire where the Illustrated Man and the young hitchhiker fight a mental/physical battle over their enigmatic, absent Eve. Hesitantly directed by Smight, the script is nevertheless genuinely imaginative, and both settings and performances are admirable.

Release details

Duration: 103 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jack Smight
Screenwriter: Howard B Kreitsek
Cast: Rod Steiger
Claire Bloom
Robert Drivas
Don Dubbins
Jason Evers
Tim Weldon
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