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The Last Man on Earth (1964)

Public Domain Movie: The Last Man on Earth (1964) Vincent Price Stars

Directed by Ubaldo Ragona

The Last Man on Earth is based on the Richard Matheson novel, I am Legend. Vincent Price stars as Dr. Robert Morgan who is, as the title suggests, the last man on earth. Last man he may be, but Dr Morgan is not completely alone on the planet. He shares it with hoards of hungry vampires that are all out for his blood; so he has to stay home at night and spends his evenings listening to records and nursing a glass of wine while the vampires try and break into the house, gatecrash his party and try to get a free drink out of him. 

Morgan is reasonably safe from the blood thirsty vampires though. He has turned his home into a fortress with mirrors on the doors, boards on the windows, and garlic on both.

During the daylight hours the vampires sleep and Morgan goes hunting—armed with a bag of wooden stakes and a mallet. When Morgan starts knock-knock-knocking on wood it's bad luck for the vampires on the receiving end.

The vampires in The Last Man on Earth are unusually slow-moving for blood-suckers and appear to have all the get up and go of the average zombie. This is just one of many ways The Last Man on Earth differs from the majority of vampire movies and it may be a little hard some viewers to get used to such unconventional vampires.

The movie begins by showing the viewer scenes of empty city streets where bodies lie sprawled in the sun. Then the camera zooms in through a window and finds Morgan sleeping. His alarm clock wakes him up and  last man on earth begins his daily routine—checking the garlic hasn't lost its smell, that the boards remain in place over the windows, the mirrors are intact, and the generator in the garage has enough fuel. To add a little extra variety to his routine he turns on his lathe and knocks out a few wooden stakes ready to distribute amongst the vampire population later in the day.

Towards the middle of the movie there is a flash-back sequence that serves to explain to the viewer the reasons behind Morgan's and indeed the planet's present situation, and what became of his family.

Later still there is a sequence where Morgan finds a dog that also appears to have escaped being infected with the vampire-creating virus. Then, towards the end of the movie, it seems that Morgan might not be entirely alone after all because he encounters a young woman swinging her arms as she enjoys a stroll in the noon-day sun.

Those viewers, who have already read Matheson's classic story cannot fail to notice The Last Man on Earth doesn't follow the original storyline very closely. It is still a good movie in its own right though, and well worth watching.

CAST

Vincent Price                     ...       Dr. Robert Morgan
 Franca Bettoia                  ...               Ruth Collins
 Emma Danieli                ...       Virginia Morgan
 Giacomo Rossi-Stuart    ...          Ben Cortman
 Umberto Raho         ...        Dr. Mercer
 Christi Courtland     ...  Kathy Morgan
 Antonio Corevi       ...        Governor
       Ettore Ribotta ... TV Reporter

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