The Illustrated Man (1969) – Back To The Future

The Illustrated Man (1969) book ray bradbury mars venus earth stories film movie tattoos

You know the scenario, we’ve all been there. You find yourself a nice tranquil, peaceful spot to relax and reflect on good times when out of the blue your beautiful bliss happy place is interrupted by the old classic, a hobo with a dog on a piece of string. Half drunk, few teeth missing, mix matching clothes and usually angry or slightly insane, mostly both together.

The Illustrated Man (1969) - Rod Steiger Robert Drivas peke

Well this happens to carefree traveler Willie (Robert Drivas) who’s thumbed a lift into the country before he moves on to his next destination. A little swim, bite to eat and a nice cup of coffee whilst he rests up before embarking on his journey.  Well this is where Mr Shouty Weirdo Man appears, who we discover is Carl (Rod Steiger) and he doesn’t have a dog on a piece string but a dog in a bag, a freaky little dog called Peke.

The Illustrated Man (1969) - Rod Steiger Robert Drivas

Not only does he invade your space but he hates your coffee and proceeds to strip off his clothes to reveal he is covered in tattoo’s “They’re not tattoos, they’re skin illustrations! Don’t you ever call them tattoos!!” Carl barks at Willie. Then he begins to tell him that the illustrations are everywhere “and I mean everywhere!” Uuuuggghh…

The Illustrated Man (1969) - tattoos mirror Rod Steiger

Tagline – Don’t dare stare at the illustrated man.

Now Carl is infatuated by Felicia (Claire Bloom) a very saucy seducing siren whom he sometimes refers to as the Witch. She bedazzles him with her sexy charms, winning his trust, he allows her to paint him. This results with a full body image of interconnecting pictures, each representing echos of the future.

The Illustrated Man (1969) - Felicia (Claire Bloom) sexy saucy 2

Let me tell you… don’t you look at those illustrations too long, because they’ll come alive and they’ll tell you stories.” Now you know if someone says that, then you know you gonna have to have a quick sneaky look. Now this looking at the one lonesome blank space on Carl’s back starts up the stories from the future.

The Illustrated Man (1969) - Claire Bloom Rod Steiger

What we get is three different visions of the future, each pretty depressing and each starring and evolve around our three stars, Carl, Willie and Felicia.

They each feature some great set designs looking as if they’ve been robbed left overs from Star Trek or some other science fiction series of the time. They are pretty impressive. Each story is a tale of doom, with death of sorts coming from different angles.

The Illustrated Man (1969) - Claire Bloom Rod Steiger scifi bedThe Illustrated Man (1969) - Future world

Based on science fiction author guru Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man written in 1951. Some of Bradbury’s other classic stories include The Martian Chronicles, I Sing The Body Electric and the awesome Fahrenheit 451 which was made into a film by French director François Truffaut in 1966.

The Illustrated Man (1969) - water boarding on a alien planet

It’s a brilliant concept which I really enjoyed but Rod Steiger’s constant shouting by the river does get a little annoying but hey I read that his body paint work made it to the Guinness Book Of Records for being the most time someone spend in make up, 20 hours. Yep he has every right to be as moody as he wants.

The Illustrated Man (1969) - Future world teleport space pod thing

It’s quite the novelty piece and if you, like me, love a bit of science fiction then I’m sure you will find a lot to love about it. Treat it like 3 episodes of The Outer Limits.

What will happen to these three very different characters? Will Willie be able to make a run for it, escape the old grumpy hobo and finally have a good cup of coffee? Can Carl find the bewitching artistic tease and give her a watercolour pad rather than his naked body to decorate? Tune in to find out.

Thanks for having a look, let me know if you’ve seen it, see it? All the best and keep watching the screen….. Mikey The Wolf

The Illustrated Man (1969) Film poster movie artwork rod steiger

11 thoughts on “The Illustrated Man (1969) – Back To The Future

  1. Seen it but came away thinking not for me overall. Hats off though to Steiger who was always willing to take chances and as you point out go over the top with his anger and hollering. But that’s why I like him so. Maybe I should see it again, been about 10 years.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I would be pretty sure you are best with the one viewing hehe. I enjoyed it but more as a novelty and treated the 3 stories as little episodes from The Outer Limits. Rod Steiger is always a joy and yes like you say always hollering around. My favorite film of his by a million miles has to be Duck, You Sucker aka A Fistful Of Dynamite. Cheers dude

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This sounds wild! I have never even heard of this one. The tattoos coming alive and showing visions of the future sounds very interesting. I like Rod Steiger, so will certainly try and find this and the book.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s quite the novelty piece. Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. I love Rod Steiger but he does shout a lot in this. Viewed as a quirky story with 3 inner short tales, it’s very original. One to look out for on the telly or bargain bin dvd. I can imagine the book being fantastic and I’m sure it will appear in a charity book shop. Thanks

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah it’s definitely a curiosity piece. Very true what you say, it might not be that great but it sure is interesting. I did love the format and what they were going for, however crazy it might be. Cheers Eric.
      PS OH Yes Sir, Claire Bloom is bonkers beautiful!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love it! Your review. “Mr. Shouty Weirdo Man” always shouting “They’re not tattoos! They’re skin illustrations!”
    I haven’t seen this but I think I read the book a long time ago, but if I did, I think I repressed it or something, because I don’t remember. Which means I probably didn’t read it. For such a fan of Bradbury, I have to admit I haven’t read ALL his stuff……..
    “Will Willie escape the grumpy old hobo and finally have a good cup of coffee?” Lol
    I hope so! Gotta see and or read this one day. I love your voice!

    Liked by 1 person

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