1. Film (1984). Delphi Productions II/Columbia. Directed by John Carpenter. Written by Bruce A Evans, Raynold Gideon (and Dean Riesner, uncredited). Cast includes Karen Allen, Jeff Bridges, Richard Jaeckel and Charles Martin Smith. 115 minutes. Colour.
Carpenter ventured into Spielberg territory in this sweet – possibly saccharine – story of a wide-eyed innocent arriving from space. The Starman (Bridges), first seen as a ball of light, exactly recreates himself in the image of young Jenny's dead husband, kidnaps Jenny (Allen) in the nicest possible way, learns about human customs, is pursued by government forces who want to study or kill him, raises a deer and Jenny (separately) from the dead like an affably dopy Christ, impregnates Jenny, and leaves again. Most of Starman is a protracted chase sequence across the USA, and, though it has rewarding moments and touching performances from its leads, it is too long and slight. The subtext (What would happen to Christ if He came again? We'd crucify Him) is serious enough, but evoked only playfully. The novelization is Starman (1984) by Alan Dean Foster.
2. Columbia Television produced a spin-off 22-episode television series, also called Starman, which ran one season 1986-1987. This dealt in a stereotyped manner with the return to Earth, 11 years later, of the Starman (now played by Robert Hays), his reconciliation with his son, his seemingly endless search for Jenny and an equally protracted search for him by a federal agent. [PN]
see also: Cinema.
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