The Last Man on Earth (1964)


When a plague devastates life on Earth, the population dies or becomes a sort of zombie living in the dark. Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the unique healthy survivor on the planet, having a routine life for his own survival: he kills the night creatures along the day and maintains the safety of his house, to be protected along the night. He misses his beloved wife and daughter, consumed by the outbreak, and he fights against his loneliness to maintain mentally sane. When Dr. Morgan finds the contaminated Ruth Collins (Franca Bettoia), he learns that there are other survivors. He uses his blood to heal Ruth and he becomes the last hope on Earth to help the other contaminated survivors. But the order of this new society is scary.

“The Last Man on Earth” is a frightening and dark view of the fate of mankind. In those years, the preoccupation with radiation and biological weapons due to the cold war leaded people to this type of fear and preoccupation; later with AIDS; and presently with the disease in chickens. Fortunately science has developed means to cure or at least avoid epidemic situation, but we do not know how far we might be from such sad end of mankind. Vincent Price has a great performance in this movie, particularly in the beginning of the insanity of his character showed when he sees a photo of his family. The screenplay is very well developed, but the violent conclusion is weird. I always thought that George A. Romero was the creator of the “zombies”, because of his excellent 1968 “Night of Living Dead”. But now I can see that the origin of these creatures was in “The Last Man on Earth”.

When I was a teenager, the remake “The Omega Man” was a very successful film in the movie theaters. I had not had the chance to see the original movie, since “The Last Man on Earth” (and “The Omega Man”) had not been released on VHS or DVD in Brazil. Fortunately a minor Brazilian distributor has just released “The Last Man on Earth” on DVD, giving me the chance to see this great unknown movie