Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Price's Last Man on Earth still better than ever!

Probably still my favorite adaptation from Richard Matheson's book I AM LEGEND. Matheson didn't think Price worked as Dr. Morgan, but his lumbering thin stature I thought lent itself very nicely, giving Price a virtual undead quality himself. The low angle shots of his celestial figure standing over the pit of burning bodies delivers an iconic image that has transgressed into other films. Even being shot in Italy, the architecture gives you the sense of a familiar city that you may have never seen.  
It's been a long while since I've seen this and frankly every copy I've tried to watch is of terrible quality. A shame really since the film is in public domain. It would be nice to see it treated better. I instead watched it steaming from Netflix and it was the best looking version yet.

There is no fat in this movie at all. It's cuts right to the chase and delivers on back story when needed. Though it would have been nice to flush out a little more bits and pieces. The acting is a bit broad with some of the supporting cast which is too be expected. But scenes where his daughter looses her sight is very creepy to watch. Price gives such a reserved performance you never really get if his character has no clue the impact of what has happening to humanity in the past flashbacks or that he has made himself so detached from society already he is unknowingly in survival mode before anyone has a clue on what to do. The reappearance of his wife knocking, saying "" still brings the chills which brings me to how much of this film was the blueprint for Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD shot four years later. They make a good double feature.

The end, though a little rushed and again could have been flushed out a bit still delivers better than it's predecessors. LAST MAN ON EARTH is still a classic film that has spawned a slew of interpretations and if this was the beginning of the end it's probably pretty close of what we should expect.