Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH


THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964). Director: Sidney Salkan [Ubaldo Ragona].

This Italian production is the first film adaptation of Richard Matheson's excellent novel I Am Legend. Vincent Price stars as Robert Morgan, who seems to be the last human left alive in a world over-run with blood-drinking vampires. The movie is fairly faithful to the novel, and at least takes place in the United States. [Of course in the book the man's last name was Neville, and he wasn't a scientist; the movie also simplifies the business with "living" vampires vs. dead vampires.]. Franca Bettoia gives a vivid portrait of a woman, Ruth, that Morgan encounters late in the picture. Perhaps the best scene has Morgan's wife coming back from her grave. The Last Man on Earth is moody and atmospheric, Price isn't at all bad, but the picture isn't very well directed and isn't nearly intense enough to be fully effective. Comes close, though.

Verdict: Just misses. **1/2.

3 comments:

Matthew Bradley said...

Glad to see you're continuing your analysis of I AM LEGEND on page and screen, William. (I also found and enjoyed your earlier post on THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE.) Your assessment of THE LAST MAN ON EARTH is very fair, although Richard felt that Price--as good as he was in their other collaborations--was miscast. I've never understood why every version makes Morgan/Neville a scientist, especially when his self-education on the scientific aspects of vampirism was such a dramatic part of the novel.

Posted my "snapshot" on Marvel comics from 1976 yesterday, so I hope you check it out if you haven't already. Of course, back when they were coming out, I didn't realize they were of the Bronze Age...but nostalgia being what it is, I'll still take them over Gold or Silver any day! :-)

William said...

Thank you for your comments, Matthew. No, Price was not someone I would have cast in the role, but at least he wasn't -- fine actor that he was -- as bad as he could have been, LOL.

Read your Marvel Snapshots and left a comment as well. I'm re-reading a lot of Bronze age stuff now; brings back lots of memories.

The Last Man on Earth Movie said...

Great Movie !! Robert Morgan is the last man on earth. After everyone else dies off from a weird vampire virus (or becomes a weird vampire), he is left as the only human to try and stop the vampire menace.