So,I AM LEGEND has finally come out, with its big name star and its big budget and its big computer generated special effects, but when the smoke and hype cleared the fact remains that THE LAST MAN ON EARTH with Vincent Price filmed back in the 1960's in black and white with no virtually no budget and no special effects at all is still the best available adaptation of Richard Matheson's classic Horror/SciFi novel. THE LAST MAN ON EARTH is the story of a single human being and his day to day struggle to survive in a world devastated by a plague that has turned all other living creatures into vampires, while at the same time he tries to understand the nature of virus that caused the plague and perhaps bring about a cure. It's far deeper and more complex than the newer film, but like the newer film it deviates from Matheson's novel in its ending by giving its ending a Christian slant.
Matheson disapproved of LAST MAN. He felt that Vincent Price was wrong for the role, that it called for a more rugged man, someone along the lines of Charlton Heston who later did play the role in THE OMEGA MAN which was the second (and extremely dismal) attempt to bring Matheson's novel to the big screen. I'm sure he also disapproved of the ending to OMEGA MAN as well since it made the same mistake that the earlier version had. ****MAJOR SPOILER*** Both LAST MAN and OMEGA MAN end in scenes that blatantly re-enact the crucifixion of Christ. In Heston's case its almost impossible for the modern audience to stifle a laugh considering his past roles in Biblical films and his public persona.The SMITH film version ends in a manner not dissimilar when you think about it. Sure there isn't any actual crucifixion per se but Neville is still offering up his life and his own blood so that the world may live. So this ending isn't merely at odds with the Matheson's book, it simply has nothing at all to do with it.
We may never see a perfect adaptation of this landmark novella which is a brilliant blend of both horror and science fiction. Why? Because Matheson has written an ending that is cinematically unsatisfying--virtually unfilmable. So do yourself a favor and see THE LAST MAN ON EARTH and then read I AM LEGEND then you can decide for yourself. I think you might agree with me.
*** out of **** Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) gets up every morning and marks each day on his current calendar with a little "X". I presume that means to symbolize each day he has successfully lived through. Then, he checks the garlic and mirrors that are placed on his door. If he needs more; then he makes a trip to town/city in his car. He goes for a ride; but not to sightsee. He has important business. Sometimes, he needs gas, sometimes he needs more garlic and another mirror … more
Of the three film adaptations of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, this is definitely my favorite. Last Man treads lightly on the social implications of Matheson's story to concentrate on heartbreaking personal themes, but there's no denying the incalculable influence that both the book and the film have asserted on filmic realizations of vampires and zombies alike. Although the performances of the small cast are of mixed quality, Vincent Price is - as always - … more
Just re-watched this for the first time in many years and it's still incredible. Character-driven, eerie, & one of Vincent Price's best roles! Not only is the film a seminal horror and science fiction film, but it is also an essential film in the history of the vampire and zombie sub-genres. Of all the films based on Richard Matheson's classic novel, this is certainly the best, whether Matheson acknowledges it or not.
I Am Legend receives the silver screen treatment in "Last man on Earth"(1964). For once Vincent Price is actually acting for once (instead of playing himself and hamming up the joint like his Corman/A.I.P. films). The black and white cinematography adds to the films eeriness. Many of the film's elements were later taken and used in Night of the living Dead (1968). I wish this film would one day get the credit it deserves. If you want a good scare and are a huge fan of post-apocalyptic films (such … more
An Italian movie based upon the Richard Matheson novel I am Legend. The film was originally going to be a Hammer Films production but trouble with the censors and financial backing fell through. Was picked up by an Italian production company Matheson wasn't pleased with the changes made to the script and the film's low production values so he gave his screen credit the pseudonym of Logan Swanson.
One of the inspirations for Night of the Living Dead.