Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I wanted to watch something to commemorate Richard Matheson's 86th birthday and chose this film under the mistaken impression it had not resurfaced since Warner Home Video's laserdisc release. I subsequently found out that it was also available not only on DVD but on Blu-ray AND via Netflix, and that the DVD and Blu-ray editions contain an alternate ending that sounds more satisfying than the one director Vincent Ward used. Different things conspired to prevent me from writing about this film at the time I watched it, and over the last few days. Suffice to say, it's better than I remembered, being well-acted by its principals (Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Anabella Sciorra and Max von Sydow), visually imaginative and lush, and written with real spiritual and philosophic depth, but it suffers from tacking a pat, sell-out happy ending onto a far more complex premise. My appreciation of the overall effort may also have been hampered by viewing it on laserdisc under less than optimal conditions.

Viewed on Warner Home Video laserdisc.


  1. It's been a while since I watched this (on the now-defunct HD DVD format), but I recall thinking that the alternate ending was too talky and even less satisfying than the theatrical ending.

    This is a movie that I appreciate for the visuals, but I found the script pretty dopey, personally. I much prefer Ward's earlier Map of the Human Heart.

  2. Agreement again Tim. I found myself wanting there a resoultion WORTHY of all that had preceded it and found myself wanting. The film lacked that needed resolution. This film shares so very much in themes, allegory and approach with POWELL & PRESSBURGER'S A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH that it's amazing the many elements in common. Do you agree?