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|The Man from Earth|
The Man from Earth theatrical poster.
|Directed by||Richard Schenkman|
|Produced by||Emerson Bixby, Eric D. Wilkinson, Richard Schenkman|
|Written by||Jerome Bixby|
|Starring||David Lee Smith
|Music by||Mark Hinton Stewart|
|Distributed by||Anchor Bay Entertainment,
|Running time||89 minutes|
The Man from Earth is a 2007 science fiction film written by Jerome Bixby and directed by Richard Schenkman. The film stars David Lee Smith as John Oldman, the protagonist of the story. The screenplay for this movie was conceived by Jerome Bixby in the early 1960s and was completed on his death bed in April 1998, making it his final piece of work. The movie gained recognition in part for being widely distributed through Internet peer-to-peer networks and its producer publicly thanked users of these networks for this. The film was later adapted by Schenkman into a stage play of the same name.
The plot focuses on John Oldman, a departing university professor who claims to be a Cro-Magnon (or Magdalenian caveman) who has somehow survived for over 14,000 years. The only setting is in and around Oldman's house during his farewell party, with the plot advancing through intellectual arguments between Oldman and his fellow faculty members. The movie is composed almost entirely of dialogue.
The movie begins with Professor John Oldman (David Lee Smith) packing his belongings onto his truck, preparing to move to a new home. His colleagues show up to give him an impromptu farewell party: Harry (John Billingsley), a biologist; Edith (Ellen Crawford), an art history professor and devout Christian; Dan (Tony Todd), an anthropologist; Sandy (Annika Peterson), a historian who is in love with John; Dr. Will Gruber (Richard Riehle), a psychiatrist; Art (William Katt), an archaeologist; and his student Linda (Alexis Thorpe).
As John's colleagues continue to pressure him for the reason for his departure, John slowly, and somewhat reluctantly, reveals that he is a prehistoric "caveman" who has lived for more than 14 millennia and that he relocates every 10 years to keep others from realizing that he does not age. He begins his story under the guise of a possible science-fiction story, but he eventually stops speaking in hypotheticals and begins answering questions from a first-person perspective. His colleagues refuse to believe his story. John continues his tale, stating that he was once a Sumerian for 2000 years, then a Babylonian under Hammurabi, then a disciple of Gautama Buddha. He claims to have known Christopher Columbus, Van Gogh (from which he apparently owns a painting as a gift from the artist himself), and other famous historical figures.
During the course of the conversation, John's colleagues question his story according to their specialties. For instance, Harry, the biologist, discusses the possibility of a human living for so long. Art, the archaeologist, questions John about events in prehistory; he exclaims that John's answers, though correct, could have come from any textbook, to which John points out the nature of knowledge, as he can only put his memories together with modern science after he learnt the new ideas with the rest of humanity.
The discussion turns to the topic of religion. John mentions that he is not a follower of a particular religion; though he does not necessarily believe in an omnipotent God, he does not discount the possibility of such a being's existence. John then reluctantly reveals that in trying to bring Buddha's teachings to the west, he became the inspiration for the Jesus story and "the one called Jesus". After this shocking revelation, emotions in the room run high. Edith begins crying, and Gruber sternly demands that John end his tale and give closure by admitting it was all a hoax, threatening him with the possibility of locking him up for observation. John apologizes to everyone and tells them that it was all just a story.
John's friends begin to leave. John apologizes to Harry and Edith, while Art and Linda depart without many parting words. When it is Dan's turn to say goodbye, his words hint that he believes John's story. After everyone but Dr. Gruber and Sandy has left, Dr. Gruber overhears John and Sandy's conversation, which suggests that the story was true after all. John mentions some of the pun pseudonyms he had used over the years, such as John Paley (as in Paleolithic) and John Savage. He also mentions another pseudonym, used over sixty years ago while a chemistry professor at Harvard: John Thomas Partee (as in John T. Party of Boston). This was the name of Gruber's father; upon hearing this, Gruber, shocked and over-excited at the sight of his ageless father, suffers a heart attack and dies. After Gruber's body is taken away, Sandy notes that John seems especially struck by his death. John promises to come back for his son's funeral. Sandy realizes that it is the first time he has seen one of his grown children die. John wordlessly gets in his truck and drives away, as though to leave forever. Then he stops and looks at Sandy, apparently deciding to spend some time with her. The movie ends with Sandy getting into the truck.
The story is Jerome Bixby's last work, which he completed on his deathbed in April 1998. Bixby dictated the last of his screenplay to his son, screenwriter Emerson Bixby. After Jerome Bixby's death the script was given to Richard Schenkman to direct on a $54,000 budget.
In order of appearance:
- David Lee Smith as John Oldman
- Tony Todd as Dan
- John Billingsley as Harry
- Ellen Crawford as Edith
- Annika Peterson as Sandy
- William Katt as Art Jenkins
- Alexis Thorpe as Linda Murphy
- Richard Riehle as Dr. Will Gruber
- Robbie Bryan as Police Officer
Distribution and Publicity 
The film screened at the San Diego Comic-Con Film Festival in July 2007, and premiered theatrically in Hemet, California and Pitman, New Jersey in October 2007. It was released on DVD in North America by Anchor Bay Entertainment on November 13, 2007 and became available for digital rental and sale at iTunes on September 22, 2009. It won the grand prize for Best Screenplay and first place for Best Feature at the Rhode Island Film Festival in August 2007.
Festivals and awards 
The film has been nominated for and won numerous awards.
- 2007 – WINNER – 1st place – Best Screenplay - Rhode Island International Film Festival
- 2007 – WINNER – Grand Prize - Best Screenplay - Rhode Island International Film Festival
- 2008 – WINNER – Best Film – Montevideo Fantastic Film Festival of Uruguay
- 2008 – WINNER – Audience Choice Award Montevideo Fantastic Film Festival of Uruguay
- 2008 – WINNER – Best Director - Fantaspoa – International Fantastic Film Festival of Porto Alegre, Brazil
- 2008 – WINNER – 2ND place – Best Screenplay - Rio de Janeiro International Fantastic Film Festival (RioFan)
- 2008 – WINNER – Audience Award: Best Screenplay Film – Fixion-Sars Horror & Fantastic Film Festival of Santiago, Chile
- 2008 – WINNER – Jury Award: Best Screenplay – Fixion-Sars Horror & Fantastic Film Festival of Santiago, Chile
- 2008 – WINNER – Best SCI-FI Screenplay - International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival, Phoenix, AZ
- 2008 – WINNER – Best Screenplay - Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre – Int'l Independent Horror, Fantasy & Bizarre, Argentina
- 2007 – Official Selection - Another Hole in the Head SF IndieFest
- 2007 – Official Selection – San Diego ComicCon International Film Festival
- 2008 – Official Selection – Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival
- 2008 – Official Selection (Opening Night Screenplay) – Down Beach Film Festival, Atlantic City, NJ
- 2008 – Official Selection – Otrocine Fantastic Film Festival of Bogota
- 2008 – Official Selection – FilmColumbia – Festival of Film in Chatham, NY
- 2008 – Official Selection - Festival de Cine Fantástico (Fantastic Film Festival of Malaga) (FANCINE)
- 2008 – Official Selection - Festival Cinema de Salvador
- 2008 – Official Selection - Mostra Curta Fantástico of São Paulo, Brazil
- 2007 – Saturn Award nominee - Best DVD Release - The Man From Earth
- 2008 – WINNER – DVD Critics Award – Best Non-Theatrical Movie
All music performed by Mark Hinton Stewart.
- "7th Symphony - 2nd Movement" - Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
- Lyrics by Richard Schenkman
- Music by Mark Hinton Stewart
- Performed by Mark Hinton Stewart and Chantelle Duncan
- Copyright - BDI Music LTD.
Publicity through filesharing 
Producer Eric D. Wilkinson, has publicly thanked users of BitTorrent who have distributed the movie without express permission, saying that it has lifted the profile of this product far beyond the financier's expectations, while encouraging fans to purchase the DVD or donate.
See also 
- "The 2000 Year Old Man" — a 1961 Mel Brooks/Carl Reiner comedy skit with both cave man jokes and ancient history jokes. The title character has lived to the present by not aging.
- All Men are Mortal — a 1946 novel by Simone de Beauvoir. It tells of a man born in 1279 A.D. who is cursed to wander the Earth without aging.
- The Boat of a Million Years - a 1989 novel by Poul Anderson. It follows a group of ten immortals from the ancient past to the semi-distant future.
- "The Gnarly Man" — a 1939 short story by L. Sprague de Camp about a cave man (in this case a Neanderthal, not a Cro Magnon), who makes it to modern times by failing to age, after being struck by lightning. The story ends with the main character "Clarence" tearing apart a laboratory of a scientist who wants to vivisect him. In The Man from Earth, John Oldman says he's stayed away from laboratories "for fear of going in and not coming out."
- "Grotto of the Dancing Deer" — a 1980 short story on a similar theme to the movie.
- "Time Enough for Love" - a 1973 book by Robert Heinlein about a man born in 1912 who lives for 4000 years.
- Highlander — a 1986 film about a Scotsman born in 1518 who, once he finds he does not age, must keep moving to avoid persecution and must fight with other immortals.
- "The Immortal" — a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, published in 1949. The story tells about a character who mistakenly achieves immortality and then, weary of a long life, writes an account of his experiences.
- "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" - a Saturday Night Live skit, from the mid-1990s. "Phil Hartman" portrayed the character of Keyrock, a neanderthal who was frozen during the Ice Age, thus preserving his body well enough for scientists to thaw him out in 1988. He subsequently attended law school.
- "Last Supper" — a 1997 Outer Limits episode which features a woman from Medieval Spain who survived into the present day after being the sole survivor after everyone in her village died from the Black Plague. She is subjected to brutal medical experiments by the US military to test her endurance and healing ability. The doctor who conducted the experiments injects lab rats with samples of her blood that has extended their lifespan so that even twenty years later they are still living.
- "Long Live Walter Jameson" — a 1960 Twilight Zone episode by Charles Beaumont, about a man more than 2000 years old, who has not aged due to an encounter with an alchemist. He teaches very realistic history classes.
- "Encino Man" - a 1992 fantasy comedy film about a caveman found by two teenagers frozen in a block of ice in Encino, Los Angeles, California.
- "Queen of the Nile" — a 1964 Twilight Zone episode about an Egyptian queen (implied to be Cleopatra) who has learned the secret of immortality by stealing youth from others (something Professor Oldman is accused randomly of doing in the Bixby film, but this is never established or suggested by any other plot elements.)
- "Requiem for Methuselah" — a 1969 Star Trek episode also written by Jerome Bixby, with the same central idea that he later developed into The Man from Earth. "Mr. Flint" is 6000 years old and has lived through all of recorded history, but otherwise the story is quite different.
- New Amsterdam — a short-lived 2008 television show about a Dutch soldier granted immortality in 1642 by Native American magic. He works as a homicide detective in modern day New York City, and has had many careers, many wives, and many children over the centuries.
- She: A History of Adventure — an 1886 novel by H. Rider Haggard about an ageless woman who rules a lost African kingdom, discovered by explorers.
- The Wandering Jew — a series of old legends about a Jewish man who is made immortal in the time of Jesus and cursed to wander the Earth until his second coming.
- The Makropulos Affair — a play written by Karel Čapek
- Fernandez, Jay A. (2007-07-25). "A sci-fi writer's final words are brought to life". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
- Man From Earth "The Man From Earth (About)". Retrieved 2008-04-09.
- Movie producer from Newfield releases sci-fi film November 1, 2007 by Senitra Horbrook at Gloucester County Times.
- ""Jerome Bixby's The Man from Earth" on DVD Nov. 13". StarTrek.com / CBS Studios, Inc. 2007-10-26. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
- The Man from Earth MySpace Blogs
- The Man from Earth official website, top left
- "Producer Thanks Pirates For Stealing His Film". TorrentFreak. 2007-11-13. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- "Piracy isn’t THAT bad and they know it » Releaselog". RLSLOG.net. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- Robert Wilfred Franson (2009-02-17). "The Gnarly Man - L. Sprague de Camp". Troynovant.com. Retrieved 2012-03-24.