Entertainment Magazine

Film Review: The Last Man on Earth

Posted on the 10 August 2013 by Donnambr @_mrs_b
About The Last Man on Earth (1964) The Last Man on Earth Screen legend Vincent Price stars in this, the first, and finest, adaptation of Richard Matheson’s classic horror/sci-fi novel I Am Legend. After a plague wipes out the human race, Dr. Robert Morgan (Price) struggles with loneliness – and his sanity as the monotony of the unending days broken only by his daily hunts for vampires! One day on his solitary travels he runs across another human: is she a mirage, or real? This existential masterpiece ratchets up the tension, and keeps it up, until the last thrilling frame.

Starring: Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli

Directed by: Ubaldo Ragona

Runtime: 86 minutes

Studio: Legend Films

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Review: The Last Man on Earth

Long before Will Smith was wandering a desolate city in I Am Legend, Vincent Price was faced with the same bout of danger and loneliness in this sixties adaptation of Richard Matheson’s book. Dr Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the sole survivor of a plague that has seemingly wiped out the entire human race. By day Morgan heads out into the silent city to gather supplies, but by night he barricades himself in his home from the hordes of undead vampires that roam around once the sun has set. The undead are the infected humans who cannot bear sunlight, garlic or their own reflections, all weaknesses that Morgan has to exploit and use to his advantage.

Morgan’s is a lonely existence and as time goes on the monotony and solitude of his life begins to tell. Through flashbacks we gain an insight into better times for him when his wife and daughter were alive and he was very much a family man. Morgan has hypothesized that his survival is the result of being bitten by a vampire bat while in Panama but there seems to be no cure for the infected. His days are devoted to killing the vampires with stakes and taking their bodies to an eerie pit to be burned. Every day is the same but one day Morgan discovers that he may not be alone after all.

While I Am Legend benefited from a big budget, The Last Man on Earth is far more limited but remains an effective work. Considered influential with George A. Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead that followed within five years, this is also regarded as a highly faithful adaptation of Matheson’s novel with the author working on the screenplay. The ending befits the overall mood in this post-apocalyptic world and may be unsatisfying to some. Price does a good job carrying the film almost single-handed and while the film is lacking the traditional blood and gore of undead horror films it is still a landmark piece.

The Last Man on Earth is a very good early effort at a zombie movie. Matheson’s classic storyline is brought vividly to life and conveyed well through a decent central performance from Vincent Price. While inferior to zombie films that would follow and the modern adaptation, I Am Legend, this is still a must-see piece of film history.

Verdict: 4/5

(Film source: reviewer’s own copy)

Film Review: The Last Man on Earth

About the Author:

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I now live in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.

David M. Brown – who has written 814 posts on Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave.


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