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The Last Man On Earth (1964)

The Last Man On Earth (1964)

Well that was depressing.

This is the movie that I Am Legend (2007) was based upon, and if you've seen that one you pretty much know what this one's all about. Only it's in black and white, and stars the legendary Vincent Price instead of (the equally legendary) Will Smith, as Dr. Robert Morgan - the last man alive. In the newer movie his name is Robert Neville.

It builds on some some not very future-proof theories as to the source and working of the plague that rid the world of life and turned the world population into zombies vampires. They make sense of it in the movie, though it doesn't sound much like the sense of today.

The dystopian world is realistic though, and even if the zombie vampire threat is never all that intense, they do manage to keep it eerie and airy, like the steps the last man treads above.

The world looks convincing, and both narrative and flashbacks do their part, but the acting has a tinge of old to it, forced and awkward. No doubt this is all due to dated vocabularies, expectations, emotional responses and all that. Time may stand still in the movie, but not in the real world. In a sense, the contrast adds to the eeriness, painting a picture of a world that no longer is, as well as one that never was.

We follow Robert Morgan as he does his bid in cleaning up the world, and surviving, though the focus in finding a cure is lost in lack of time. He does cure one girl though, before the mutated close in on him and kill him. And so... the last man of Earth is gone.

I'll admit it was a bit slow, which is probably to be expected from a fifty year-old movie, but you start living into the world of the movie as it moves onward, matching the pace, and when it's all over... it's like a nail in the coffin. They bring you in slowly - into this outdated dystopia, and you don't realize the lid's going on until it's all over and everything is black. It doesn't compare to the new in terms of intensity, but the atmosphere and build-up's stood time well.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Check out the IMDB page for Vincent Price's list of merits if you haven't btw. Though he starred in many a low-budget film, he managed an impressive 200 titles, and kept acting until the day he died - 82 years old. I think I've seen him in other titles before this one...


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