The Last Man on Earth

1964

Action / Drama / Horror / Sci-Fi

46
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 72%
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 16

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 30, -0001 at 12:00 AM

Cast

Vincent Price as Dr. Robert Morgan
1080p.BLU
1.23 GB
1920*800
English
Not Rated
23.976 fps
1 hr 26 min
P/S 3/18

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by henri sauvage 7 / 10

An under-appreciated classic

This one seems to be less well known than others in Vincent Price's filmography -- possibly because the title makes it sound more like a romantic comedy.

In this first filmed version of Richard Matheson's superb short novel "I Am Legend", though, Price really shines in one of the best performances of his career. Far superior to its 1971 remake "The Omega Man" -- as if we needed yet another "Charlton Heston vs. the subhuman hordes" outing after "Khartoum" and "55 Days In Peking" -- the script follows Matheson's book almost scene-for-scene, but then, I think the author always wrote with one eye on the movie or TV rights.

Morgan (Vincent Price) is the only survivor of a worldwide plague that kills its victims, only to resurrect them as zombie vampires. (His own immunity was conferred by the bite of a vampire bat infected with a weaker version of the virus, when he was doing research in South America.) By day, he systematically searches out the plague victims and destroys them in the traditional Van Helsing manner, retreating to his fortified house when darkness falls and the vampires come out to play. Worst of all, his best friend Ben -- now a vampire -- is part of the crowd that nightly besieges his house, thirsting for his blood.

Unlike "The Omega Man", very little of this film is devoted to Morgan's one-man war against the vampires, who as others have noted have a kind of "Night Of The Living Dead" ambiance, minus the gore. Instead it focuses on his utter isolation, both physical and spiritual, his mission as an exterminating angel the only purpose now left to his life.

A large part of the movie is taken up by a flashback to three years previous, to the beginning of the plague, as his friend Ben arrives at a birthday party for Morgan's daughter bearing an armful of presents. Against the background of the children's shouts and laughter the adults worriedly discuss the appearance of a new virus. The world then proceeds to fall apart in a quietly terrifying re-enactment of the Black Death, complete with National Guard "bring out your dead" units and a 24/7 immolation pit for the anonymous, canvas-wrapped corpses. Morgan's wife and daughter succumb to the virus in a sequence that is quite stunning in its low-key, almost clinical lack of the standard histrionics.

The black-and-white cinematography is as stark and minimalistic as the story (and, admittedly, the budget). The exterior scenes set in a deserted Los Angeles -- well, actually Rome, shot in the early morning -- are often quite effective in mirroring his internal desolation. Cast and crew alike do an excellent job with the material, despite the monetary constraints. Unlike so many in our current "bash you over the head" school of film-making, the real horror of the situation is allowed to speak eloquently for itself.

If you're expecting the high camp of one of Price's Roger Corman flicks, you'll probably be bored stiff by this movie. If instead you're looking for a surprisingly good adaptation of a great story, you can't do much better than "Last Man On Earth".

Reviewed by barnabyrudge 6 / 10

Worthwhile adaptation of Richard Matheson's cult sci-fi/horror novel.

Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend was an innovative, genre-defining masterpiece – a book which rejuvenated horror and science fiction writing of the time, and made popular and exciting the (then) relatively new idea of post-apocalyptic fiction. This Italian dramatisation of the book is a worthwhile film, with an enthralling performance by Vincent Price as the lone survivor of a worldwide pandemic. Price seems an improbable candidate for the role – when reading the book, he's not at all the kind of actor you'd envisage if you had to cast for the character. And yet Price really holds this film together, delivering a subtle and intelligent interpretation in one of the high-points of his long and illustrious career. That's not to say The Last Man On Earth doesn't have its negatives; it isn't perfect by a long shot. But it is a commendable attempt to film Matheson's prescient futuristic story.

Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) believes he is the last remaining human on Earth. A virulent plague has wiped out mankind, leaving millions dead. Some of the dead have been reanimated as vampires. They stalk the streets at night and sleep through the day. Morgan spends the daylight hours hunting and destroying them, taking their staked corpses to a nearby pit where he burns their remains. Morgan's life has become a long and tedious cycle – by day he kills his sleeping enemies; scavenges for supplies of food, drink and garlic; and repairs his house. By night he barricades himself in while the vampires taunt him from outside and occasionally try to smash their way in. Then one day Morgan discovers a woman (Franca Bettoia) walking in broad daylight, apparently unaffected by the sunlight, apparently not a vampire, apparently a 'normal' human being like himself. But when he discovers that she is, in fact, one of a number of plague-sufferers who have managed to create a serum which controls the vampirism to a certain degree, he is devastated. He realises that the vampires are not the freaks any more – they are the "norm". Morgan himself is the freak, the last remaining example of a bygone legend called "man".

The Last Man On Earth is filmed in a subdued black-and-white hue which enhances its atmosphere of hopelessness and isolation. As mentioned, Price gives a strong performance as the lone vampire-killer who has somehow survived longer than nature intended him to. It's a little disappointing that the vampire characters are shown to be so slow and clumsy and, frankly, stupid-looking. In the book they were more nimble and physical and posed a greater threat to Morgan's safety. Here, he is able to single-handedly shove whole gangs of them away from his car or doorstep without much difficulty. They don't come across as formidable adversaries, and this loses the film some potential suspense. Also, Bettoia's character is sadly under-developed. Her appearance in the story has huge implications to the plot and to Morgan's eventual fate, yet she has barely any screen time and isn't built up properly at all. Nonetheless The Last Man On Earth stands as a worthwhile adaptation of a significant and thought-provoking sci-fi book. For its despairing atmosphere, not to mention Price's tour-de-force performance, it should be sought out and seen at least once.

Reviewed by Whizzer-2 8 / 10

A Cult Classic!

Richard Matheson's seminal sci-fi horror novel, "I Am Legend", published in 1954, is first and foremost, a character study, and any film producer must come to terms with that, if there is to be a successful adaptation from print to screen. The novel was adapted to screen in 1964 as "The Last Man On Earth"; producer Sidney Salkow, hampered by a tiny budget, intuitively did the best he could and came close to pulling it off! What Salkow did was convey the novel's mood, tone, atmosphere and plot in primitive fashion, crudely capturing the gist of the novel - that of one man, Robert Neville's confrontation with a horrendous existential dilemma - to be, himself, that is; or not to be, a plague- induced vampiric shell. While "TLMOE" was not entirely successful in translation, especially in the ending - co-scripter Matheson ultimately distanced himself from the final product - it nevertheless, clearly outshines a later, technically superior 1971 remake, "The Omega Man" in the aforementioned aspects. "The Omega Man", taken on it's own, is an interesting, entertaining film; but when referenced against the novel, falls flat on it's face. (Matheson himself stated that that film and his novel are two completely different animals.) In contrast, "TLMOE" fares much better when referenced: it shows that Morgan's (Neville's) battle is more with reactions within himself than with the vampires as a physical threat per se, as it becomes obvious that the vampires are slow-moving, dull-minded individually, and disorganized as a group, each instinctively and savagely interested only in HIS blood. Besides the perpetually nightmarish nuisance of the vampires, who have a collectively demoralizing effect on him, Morgan (Neville) must fight against the horror generated by the desolation and doom of a post-apocalyptic world, against the loneliness of being the last human on earth and against the agony of tragically losing his wife and daughter to the plague. In the final analysis, "The Last Man On Earth" could be likened to a series of crude, but brilliant brush-strokes of feeling-tones. As such it fully deserves cult-classic status.

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