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The Illustrated Man

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This Ray Bradbury adaptation is a well-intentioned but deeply flawed affair. The biggest problem with The Illustrated Man is that it forgoes the sense of wonder that infuses Bradbury's work. Instead, screenwriter/producer Howard Kreitsek and director Jack Smight go for a psychological, message-conscious approach that often steamrolls over the subtleties of the material in an attempt to make it feel 'serious.' As a result, "The Veldt" and "The Last Night On Earth" feel more like lectures than stories (they also suffer because their twist endings are telegraphed long before they get a chance to unfold). The best of the stories is "The Long Rain," where the psychological approach fits the introspective tone of the story. The film's framing device is frequently more interesting that the stories it surrounds: it benefits from a compelling sense of mystery and committed performances by Rod Steiger, Robert Drivas and Claire Bloom (all of whom also figure prominently in the stories). Unfortunately, the framing device fizzles out with a lame 'open ending' likely to leave most viewers scratching their heads. In short, The Illustrated Man is a misfire that is likely to disappoint viewers who expect it to live up to its heady ambitions. Donald Guarisco, All Movie Guide