MovieChat Forums > The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) Discussion > Anyone else see parallels to Howard Hugh...

Anyone else see parallels to Howard Hughes ?


I just saw this last night and really need to probably see it again, but I started seeing some interesting parallels/coincidences with Howard Hughes and recurring themes from other movies. I'm not saying this is what the entire movie necessarily revolves around but it's one of the layers. It also reminded me a tiny bit of Inherent Vice with the mind control guys trying to take over the companies/$$.

Like Newton, Howard Hughes was an eccentric intelligent Billionaire and insatiable appetite for making money. Hughes was involved in various industries from Drill bits, aviation, TV, Casinos to Hollywood movies. Spent his remaining days held up in The Desert Inn hotel in Vegas. Newton spent the later part of the movie in a Desert Hotel/"inn". More obvious he was involved in Aviation and TWICE in the movie they show Hughes own TWA airline planes taking off. I don't think that's a coincidence.

Both were exploited and manipulated by the government/industry powers that be. Both might have been under mind control at the time. Both may have been betrayed by insiders/friends. Both had substance abuse problems later on. Hughes was a womanizer (the professor was too..and Newton was able to see what was happening in his mind.)

Skimming through the second time I think the whole Mary Lou grabbing his bags and disorientating him on the elevator were intentional/planned. She was to seduce and corrupt him and probably being paid or coerced. They way she grabbed his bags and darted off seemed very unusual. I might have been dozing off the first time around and not noticed.

Distantly related companies...self developing film-Newton, Movies-Hughes. Both were involved in Energy/power companies. Interestingly it's said Hughes was bisexual and we see the new camera being used to take pictures of people naked in bed (easy to use for blackmail), though this isn't part of this movie plot(see The Big Sleep).

Newton himself says he's interested in "Energy Transference". Hughes drills for oil to transform into energy, and further indirectly into flight. Both spend great sums to have enough money to build flying machines. More on this later.

Hughes was brilliant/genius and was into clean living til later on when he was hooked on pain killers (he too fell to earth in a plane once..or more?..causing his injuries/pain). Bowie only drank water until the woman in the hotel corrupted him with Gin and he drinks more and more from then on. He's also obsessively watching TVs. At first I merely thought of this as taking in information to learn from, but TV is a form of mind/emotion control/manipulation. He also seems to have been under a spell from the Professors hidden contraptions...one a heat camera I think. The other not sure..some sort of radio device controlled by a remote control symbolic of being under mind control. We later see more traumatic/aggressive methods in the labs. We see a halo photo developed from the film of the heat camera hidden in the vent.

The desert scenes were filmed near Roswell, NM and White Sands. Scenes of alleged UFO crash/military ops/Nuclear fission research and God knows what else.

Also interestingly Newton is watching "The Third Man" on one of the TVs. A movie about a wealthy business man who fakes his death. Newton is hiding out in a Desert for much of the movie, but even more interesting if you think David Bowie (rather David Jones) faked his death. After all David Bowie is a character/alter. He was cremated and wanted no Funeral and no witnesses to cremation. He has a small isle somewhere in Indonesia area...prob near where his ashes are scattered in Bali. There's a lot of interesting clues in his recent videos on Blackstar that hint at this, as well as the song titles. David Bowie is dead...but David Jones may be living out his days sipping margaritas on the beach...or Gin as it were. Dead or alive it makes for interesting connections/discussion. See also CNN interview with Doppelganger Jack Steven after his death. There is all this Lazarus stuff too, I can't get into. Connections everywhere.

There are other connections too with all the Ziggy Stardust references. Mary lou calling out Tom, Tom, Tom, Can you hear me (ground control to Maj Tom)....see also The Who's "Tommy can you hear me". Maybe nothing, but found it funny.

On a completely different note. I saw an interview with David Bowie about this movie and he corrected the host who said she (Mary Lou) finds out he's an alien, Bowie interrupts that "It's not necessarily true he's an alien from outer space". That makes me wonder if it's just allegorical, which it certainly is on one level, but also seems he really is an alien. He could just be trying to prevent any spoiler. He could also be alluding to Newton being possessed by an immortal Spirit. A spirit inhabiting a body(s). That might explain some other things as well. We see in the love scenes that Newton doesn't age while Mary Lou does quite a bit and keeps flashing back and forth like travelling in time, reliving similar events.

see 4:48 mark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzrPleq2eRs


I'd love to hear others thoughts. I haven't read anything else mentioning Hughes and he was in my head after watching Inherent Vice about 5 times and I see parallels.


Also did anyone else catch the Esoteric symbolism? Besides the Movie poster with the upside down triangle and circle. We see it again when the film closes and bowie puts his head down. The camera freezes on the Triangle shape of his hat top, within the circular brim.

I noticed another cool shot. When he gets to the hotel to check in ...we see a photo booth like building on the left with "free ice cold water" and on the right is a package store (booze shop). Just as we are about to see him go from water to gin.

I'm not at home, but I recall a blue flashing siren light on one end of the lake...was there a red one on the other side?

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I'll give Mary Lou the doubt. I think she was genuine.

Howard Hughes does offer parallels. He lived in hotels etc and was used as a milch cow. However his seclusion was partly voluntary... another similarity was his interest in aeronautics (several billionaires are big into space stuff just now a big parallel. Branson notably.)

Newton may have chosen the desert because it reminded him of home but note how he went to live near a lake.

The hat shot at the end is very reminscent of the alchemist in the Holy Mountain.
--
It's not "Sci-Fi", it's "SF"!

"Calvinism is a very liberal religious ethos." - Truekiwijoker

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I'll give Mary Lou the doubt. I think she was genuine.

Possibly. I think she did love him, so may be wrong. She does however get him on the path to drinking.

I noticed another TWA reference in the movie on a street sign/building sign.

I think he moves around because he doesn't age, like everyone else and needs to keep private, so people don't know he's immortal or alien or whatever he actually is.

I did also consider the desert being like home, but he also left for lack of water, so the lake makes more sense (also he flashes back to the past when he was there...possibly more than once). You'd think he'd choose somewhere with even more water.

In fact, now that I think of it that hut he's in with Bryce in the desert in the latter half is a bit reminiscent of the alien family scenes. I'm now thinking he is seeing into the very distant past on Earth at this location. His wife/family are dead, as he left them behind to get water. He's still sad/pining for them and perhaps doesn't know they are dead. Since they are immortal (or at least seem to live for 100s or 1000s or years) he is still trying to return and find his wife/family who have long since disappeared for good. Bowie says the movie is a love story and that Newton isn't necessarily from another planet (it's assumed) and this makes sense now...but still open to other interpretations. He could be a time traveler too. At least telepathically.

The hat shot at the end is very reminscent of the alchemist in the Holy Mountain.

I've seen the scene, but not the movie. I did see El Topo recently though.

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I think Mary Lou was bought later on or made an offer she couldn't refuse. She was the only human to really care about Newton but as an alky they became co-dependent.

You are right to mention the time thing. He does have a kind of psychometry which allows him to see through time to some extent.
--
It's not "Sci-Fi", it's "SF"!

"Calvinism is a very liberal religious ethos." - Truekiwijoker

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It wasn't just any lake. It was the same lake from the "crash" scene. Either he wanted to recover his ship. Or it was a vortex for his time travel (ley line?), or something significant. It may be where his family was from originally after the lake dried up.


I still haven't seen Holy Mountain. Been meaning to.

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Yes I was thinking of Howard Hughes. your points are mainly right on

~~the coins in the jar are for charity,~~
~~the coins in the tray are for sharing~~

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