The Illustrated Man
Screenplay: Howard B Kreitsek
Release: Warner Archive
Fun fact, I watched this movie because it is referenced in an episode of Criminal Minds. I am grateful that they did, but I am still upset that Reid quoted an incorrect running time for Solaris.
Rod Steiger plays the tattoo-covered title role in this fascinating vision of doom and danger based on the classic short story collection by futurist Ray Bradbury. Robert Drivas portrays a good-natured drifter who can’t tear his eyes away from Steiger’s freakish illustrations. And Claire Bloom is the mysterious seductress who created the “art” that curses its bearer – and comes to life in a nightmarish trio of tales.
Two spoiled children turn playtime into slay time (from The Veldt). Shipwrecked astronauts wander across a planet cursed by The Long Rain. And loving parents choose their children’s fate when the end nears (from The Last Night of the World). Every one of The Illustrated Man’s pictures tell a story. And every story ends in terror.
I hate soft focus cinematography. I don’t like hating things but when it comes to soft focus I will accept it. I need to find a way beyond that issue. The connecting scenes exist in soft focus with flighty late 60s muzak.
The film hits and misses, which is a shame, but there is something special to be said about a film from the 60s and how much time Steiger would have to spend, being illustrated. There is an interesting special feature about how the makeup effects team completed the arduous processes. The design and artistry of the tattoos is really beautiful.
While the film is enjoyable as a sci-fi classic it is certainly not the best option. If your attention starts to slip you will quickly lose your places as the film jumps around. It is worth a shot, but with other, recent, Warner Archive sci-fi flicks released I expect I would watch The Green Slime sooner.
- Tattooed Steiger
Director: 8 – Cinematography: 4 – Edit: 9 – Parity: 1 – Main performance: 8 – Else performance: 3 – Score: 7 – Sound: 6 – Story: 10 – Script: 5 – Effects: 6 – Design: 8 – Costumes: 6 – Keeps interest: 8 – Lasting: 10