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Illustrated Man, The

Entry updated 24 January 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1968). SKM Productions/Warner-Seven Arts. Directed by Jack Smight. Written by Howard B Kreitsek, based on The Illustrated Man (coll 1951) by Ray Bradbury. Cast includes Claire Bloom, Robert Drivas, Don Dubbins, Jason Evers and Rod Steiger. 103 minutes. Colour.

Ray Bradbury's idea of a man (here Steiger) whose various tattoos each represent a different tale did not completely work as an afterthought framework to link the stories of his collection, and it is even less successful in the film, which Bradbury himself hated. The stories are "The Long Rains" (astronauts lost on Venus), "The Veldt" and "The Last Night of the World"; only "The Veldt" (Virtual-Reality nursery animals come to life and are used by future children to dispose of parents) is anything other than limp and literal-minded. The same actors appear in each episode; apparently Smight, the director, was aiming at an atmosphere of downbeat enigma and malign destiny, with Steiger, the tattooed man, as a constantly reincarnated loser. Another Bradbury anthology film is Vel'd (1987). [PN/JB]


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