theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
David Bowie’s relationship to cinema and acting was characteristically complex and knotty even before he started: He famously had to change his name from Davy Jones because there was already a British actor with that name making major waves in music as part of the mega-hit TV manufactured band, the Monkees.
For an artist who transformed rock and roll music to great acclaim and financial rewards, David Bowie’s work as an actor never matched the notoriety and success of his recordings and concerts. But Bowie accomplished a feat that eluded Elvis and many other pantheon rockers who attempted to crossover from rock stardom to films and starred in a movie that has endured as a legitimate work of art: Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 sci-fi masterwork, “The Man Who Fell To Earth.” (The other contender for that distinction is Mick Jagger, whose “Performance” is ranked as a masterwork of British and cinema and was co-directed by Roeg, with the late Donald Cammell.)
As Variety’s Alex Romanelli noted upon the Criterion Collection BluRay release of “Earth” in 2005, the film was almost completely dismissed when originally released, but three decades later it was easy to see its astounding virtues as a groundbreaking, if unorthodox sci-fi film and to deem Roeg’s telling of the tale of a forlorn space-traveller as “timeless.” It also was enduring for Bowie himself, who used the source material of the novel…
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The Nazis assigned him a number but I wanted the world to know his name.
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