The Illustrated Man Film Details
Overview: In 1930s, a psychotic drifter who’s after the mystery woman who covered his whole body in illustrations that foresee distant future shows three of them (The Veldt, The Long Rain and The Last Night of the World) to a mesmerized travel
Tagline: Don’t dare stare at the illustrated man.
Review: To me, this is nearly the most underrated weird movie ever (and I say “weird movie” because it’s hard to put into one of those subcategories). I’ve heard it said that audiences don’t respond too well to most “anthology films” (though that’s funny, because you always hear that audiences have such a bad attention span – I certainly do – and what kind of movie takes LESS of an attention span than THAT kind?). Of course, The Illustrated Man is an anthology film that doesn’t even move in a straight line, like most others (Tales From The Crypt and so on). Instead of being three stories linked by one other, it’s three stories linked by TWO others (Carl and Willie in the woods and Carl and Felicia in the house). So both of those things could go against it, though they shouldn’t. (In some ways, it’s almost the “2001” of that kind of movie, as far as being hard to “digest.”) No one could make a tiny line sound incredibly significant like Rod Steiger, or be intimidating, or physically threatening, in such a BELIEVABLE way, and this film is full of those moments. And also, he goes from WARNING Robert Drivas about the illustrations, to ENJOYING the effect they’re having on him. Drivas (in a helpless voice, because the pictures are “holding” him there) : What makes you think you can keep me here? / Steiger (smiling in an absolutely evil way) : What makes you think you can go? And of course, Claire Bloom was perfectly believable as the mysterious artist who seduces Carl into accepting what she does (when he seems surprised only after being HALF-COVERED with the pictures, you BELIEVE it). And Robert Drivas, whom I know from very few other things, was great as Willie, and as “Williams” in “The Long Rain.” (Don Dubbins, who was in that story only, was also very good. He played another stranded spaceman in a Twlight Zone episode, and a trapped miner in a Kung Fu episode, oddly enough.) I only have a few complaints, and unfortunately, one isn’t so small. “The Veldt”, which is the longest of the three stories (though shorter than the “links,” themselves), gets genuinely depressing in places. The original story was about the bad side of automation for one family, and had a “shock” kind of ending, but the film version was about an all-out “crumbling” marriage and “dysfunctional” family, and didn’t completely go with the rest of the film. Also, at the very end of the movie (and this is my only partial spoiler), you see a character with his eye “closed over” like a boxer’s (among other things), which is about the only gruesomeness in the whole film, and doesn’t quite belong either. One reason I know how underrated it is, is how little effect it’s had on “pop culture” – you don’t (as far as I know) hear it referred to in documentaries on tattoos, comedy scenes about them, one-liners about them, serious criticism of them (and now more than ever, a REMOTELY well-known movie, all about THAT subject, WOULD be referred to). Also (though there would be “commercial” reasons for this), I’ve seen the outsides of countless “tattoo parlours”, but I’ve never seen one called “Skin Illustrations.” (You’d think that at least one Bradbury fan / tattoo artist would do that.) The only POSSIBLE, indirect reference I can think of was a “Barney Miller” episode, where an artist hated the word “parlour” and insisted on the word “studio.” Anyway, it’s no joke to say (as I think one person here did) that after knowing this film, in the back of your mind, at least, you might be a little afraid to even say the word “tattoos”. Once you hear Rod Steiger say, “They’re not tattoos, they’re skin illustrations!!”, it really stays with you.
Country: United States
Duration: 103 min
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Also known as: The Illustrated Man,Den illustrerade mannen,El hombre ilustrado,Kuvitettu mies,Den illustrerede mand,Den illustrerte mannen,Der Tätowierte,L’uomo illustrato,Ilustrowany człowiek,Человек в картинках,O stigmatismenos,Uma Sombra Passou por Aqui,L’homme tatoué,いれずみの男,O Homem Tatuado