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The Man from Earth

Science Fiction of the Mind

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How rare a thing; a thinking man’s sci-fi both stimulating and satisfying. Penned by Jerome Bixby known for such works as The Lost Missile, It, The Terror From Beyond Space, and some of the classic episodes of the original Star Trek and The Twilight Zone this, his last script, serves as a fitting testament to his talent.

The Man from Earth, directed by Richard Schenkman, is simplicity itself, harking back, ironically as it is, to the fantastic tales told around fires since time began.

John (David Lee Smith) is a college professor who has announced his unexpected departure from his position to a group of friends. Pressed for an explanation he reveals the truth to them: he is 14,000 years old. And from there things just get interesting. This is what’s called an ‘Elevator Script,’ meaning it’s confined to one location; in this case an isolated cabin. It is very talky, so if you need a good car chase or shoot-out every forty-five seconds to keep your interest, well best give this little flick a pass.

For my tastes, however, which are on the cerebral side, it is a feast. And boy did I enjoy gorging myself! It is amazing what a cast of solid actors can do when given a solid script. Smith is joined by John Billingsley, Tony Todd, Ellen Crawford, Annika Peterson, William Katt, Alexis Thorpe and Richard Riehle.

No Ewoks, no face-huggers, no laser blasts, just a rich and thought provoking film. Well, well worth a watch.

Editor’s Update: In trolling the Internet for a clip of The Man from Earth, I happened upon the one below. Additional digging revealed that by August 21, 2014, the Kickstarter campaign was successful. They attained their goal. There will be a Man From Earth: The Series by Richard Schenkman and Eric D. Wilkinson.

It is clear that our reviewer Ernest Kearney isn’t the only fan of this clever Indie science fiction film, which is available for streaming or on DVD. Take a look:

 

The Man From Earth: “Science Fiction of the Mind”
Released: (2007)
Anchor Bay Entertainment

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An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, Among the Vipers was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist three times in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. After a wild and misspent youth, which lasted well into middle age, Kearney has settled down and is focusing on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. Ernest's stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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