Jerome Bixby’s “The Man from Earth”

By |2019-05-25T14:42:48-08:00May 10th, 2010|

The Man from Earth was the last work of the late writer Jerome Bixby, directed by Richard Schenkman, and stars David Lee Smith as Professor John Oldman.

The film begins with John Oldman packing all his things into his truck when colleagues suddenly come over against his wishes. They confront him for leaving so abruptly, and ask his reasons for moving away. Barely addressing their questions, he acts skittish while continuing to pack before they convince him to elaborate on his reasons.

Inviting them in his home, he offers them conversation for the modest farewell party. John asks them,”What if a man from the Upper Paleolithic had survived until the present day?” which piques the interest of his friends. John nonchalantly mentions that he’s the caveman that he was implying. He then starts sharing stories throughout his life which raises more questions from his colleagues. The debate gradually becomes more heated; his friends using their expertise in each of their respective fields to try to disprove John.

The production for this film is more along the lines of a theatre rather than a traditional movie; it takes place entirely on one location. A lot of the focus are on John’s monologues on his past life and interactions with his colleagues instead of flashback scenes. The acting and the strong writing really shows, immersing the viewer into each of John’s stories.

There’s absolutely no reliance on special effects or action. There’s the emotionally and intellectually charged debate between friends that completely engrosses the viewers, and it works beautifully. Any fan of science fiction and theatre should watch this endearing film.

(Movie on Amazon)