Public Domain Movie: The Last Woman on Earth (1960)

The Last Woman on Earth: Review

Directed by Roger Corman and with a runtime of 71 minutes, The Last Woman on Earth is quite an entertaining film and uses a few interesting camera angles too. It’s not spooky and there are no axe-murderers of slashers so this it is pretty safe to say that the film does not follow the traditional vein of most horror movies.

So, what’s it about? Well, let’s start at the beginning. Successful American businessman, Harold Gern, is on vacation in Puerto Rico. He has recently married and has his wife, Evelyn, with him.
In the very first scene the viewer finds Mr Gern at a cockfight and his wife looks suitably bored by the whole thing. Either Gern has not noticed this fact or he just doesn’t care. The latter seems the more likely because he seems to be an extremely self-centered man. Another thing worth mentioning about Gern is the fact that he smokes a pipe and looks pretty damn ridiculous with it hanging out of his mouth.

Gern has been having a few legal problems and so has arranged for his Lawyer, Martin Joyce, to meet him at the cockfight. So it is rather apparent that the vacation is all about him, him, him: his business, his choice of entertainment and his show all that way. Evelyn just seems to be along for the ride. After the Cockfight Evelyn returns, alone, to the hotel, and Gern heads for the casino, taking Joyce with him.

The following morning Gern takes Evelyn on a boat trip and being the kind of swell guy he is, he takes Joyce along for the ride so that he can mix a little business with pleasure and talk shop on the tropical seas. Evelyn manages to get the men’s mind off business for long enough for the three of them to go scuba diving. After a slight accident with a harpoon gun the party of three resurface only to find that they can’t breath, and so they have to keep breathing from their oxygen tanks for a little longer. They climb back onboard their boat and find Manuel, who has been minding the it, dead on the deck. They also find that it is impossible to strike any matches. It is then pretty obvious that there is no oxygen in the air.

By the time the trio arrive back on land the oxygen has returned and they can breathe normally. They also find a whole lot of dead people and it looks pretty much as if they are the last three people left alive, making Evelyn the last woman on earth. One woman. Two men. It is not a situation that breeds harmony. Especially not for the guy who is the last piggy in the middle on earth.

The Last Woman on Earth does have horror elements. It also has sci-fi elements. It’s entertaining at times, and even amusing, but rather sad at the end. No explanation is provided as to why everyone died, or what killed them; but that is not what the film is about, it’s about how the last three people on earth manage to get on together in such terrible circumstances.

Additional Information

Director: Roger Corman

Cast

Betsy Jones-Moreland … Evelyn Gern
Antony Carbone … Harold Gern
Robert Towne … Martin Joyce

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