The Man from Earth

  • Directors: Richard Schenkman
  • Producers: Emerson Bixby Eric D Wilkinson Richard Schenkman
  • Writers: Jerome Bixby
  • Genres: Drama, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: David Lee Smith, John Billingsley, Tony Todd

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 unexpected farewell party: Harry (John Billingsley, a biologist); Edith (Ellen Crawford, a fellow professor and devout Christian); Dan (Tony Todd, an anthropologist); and Sandy (Annika Peterson), a historian who is in love with John. Edith spots in John’s belongings next to his truck an unknown Van Gogh painting of John’s with the note “To my friend, Jacques Borne” on the back written in French. Once inside, his friends persistently ask John why he is leaving.

Another friend, Art Jenkins (William Katt), an archeologist, and his student Linda Murphy (Alexis Thorpe), arrive and John’s friends continue to pressure him for the reason for his departure. John poses the question, “What if a man, from the Upper Paleolithic survived until the present day?” They assume that John is working on a science fiction story and play along with the discussion. As the film progresses, John slowly reveals that he is the “caveman” under discussion when he mentions that he was given a chance to sail with Christopher Columbus in the 15th century. The revelation starts off with John’s recollection of the terrain of prehistoric Earth and John’s origins, which happens to be roughly 14,000 years ago. John reveals that he was once Jacques Borne, a friend of Van Gogh’s, and he is now “moving on” since some people have noticed his lack of aging.

As each of John’s friends leave, John apologizes to Harry and Edith, while Art and Linda leave without many parting words. When it is Dan’s turn to say goodbye, it is hinted that Dan believes John’s story. After everyone but Dr. Gruber and Sandy has left, Dr. Gruber overhears John relating to Sandy some of the other pseudonyms he has used over the years. One used over 60 years ago was the name of Gruber’s father, a chemistry professor from Harvard, who had left the family. Gruber, shocked and over-excited, suffers a heart attack and dies. After Gruber’s body is taken away, the movie ends with Sandy walking towards John (sitting in his truck); at the last minute he changes his mind to spend some part of his life with her.

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