The Last Man On Earth

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THE LAST MAN ON EARTH—-first version of science-fiction writer Richard Matheson’s 1954 book “I Am Legend”, shot over in Italy, released in 1964.  There is a sole survivor of a planet-wide plague.  Those who were infected have become blood-hungry zombies, and they make the loners life more miserable than it was already.  At least he stays busy.

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You’re freaks, all of you! All of you, freaks, mutations!”scene-from-the-last-man-on-earth-1964

Directed by Ubaldo Ragona & Sidney Salkow, running a brief 86 minutes, it has a great premise, and there are some eerie sequences, but for the most part it’s jumpy, poorly dubbed and cheesy-looking and Vincent Price doesn’t make a very convincing hero. Matheson co-wrote the script, under a pseudonym, but was unhappy with the result, citing the direction and the miscast Price.

The 1971 remake, The Omega Man was not exactly Shakespeare, but Charlton Heston made a more believable zombie-zapping hardcase.  Chuck’s take on the Price version: “…incredibly botched, totally unfrightening, ill-acted, sloppily written and photographed.”  They finally did it up right in 2007, with Will Smith, using the original title and a big-scale production.

With Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart.

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