Vincent Price Is The Last Man On Earth
This beautiful black and white post-apocalyptic film starts out with Vincent Price's alluring voice narrating. He is explaining his daily routine of a lonely search for something which needs killing. We see him leaving his house with a stake, mirrors and garlic which he uses to kill an apparent race of vampires, scattered all over the land. After dark he hurries back in and barricade himself in his house, he knows more than well what is coming and how to protect himself.. he is the last man alive in a world with vampires. One day he accidentally run in to another person, a young woman, who is convinced Price is as dangerous as the actual vampires because he is moving around in daylight seeking to destroy the threat instead of hiding from them. She explains to him that her little group of people are planning to kill him that very night and he should escape to save himself. The woman tries to save Price now that she knows he is not dangerous and helps him when the other people come to kill him. However, there's not many places to run in this desolated world, and he tries desperately to stay alive.
The story based on the novel, I am Legend, written by one my literary heroes, Richard Matheson. And despite Matheson being involved as a co-writer of the script he was unhappy with the end result, one part because he felt Price was miscast as his protagonist and one part because he felt it was poorly directed.
We are so used of seeing Vincent Price as this strong, intimidating and sometimes scary character. In The last man on earth he portrays all that but we also see him vulnerable and breaking down when he is thinking of his wife and everything he has lost. We see flashbacks to a seemingly perfect life, when his daughter and wife shows the first symptoms of the disease which came to turn everyone to a bloodthirsty beast. So for me this is probably the best Vincent Price has ever done, performance wise. He illustrates another side of his usual eerie or sinister persona and shows us the depth he is capable of.
This film is considered to be a predecessor for Night of the Living Dead and even George A. Romero himself has said The Last man on Earth was a kind of a model for his fantastic Zombie-tale.
I adore this version, it is visually stunning in black and white, with beautifully haunting score by composers Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter. And Price, as said, makes a stellar performance as Robert Morgan. The ending is quite tragic but that just adds to the value of the film, so if you want to watch a great adaptation of this classic tale of the Last man on Earth, this is the one.