Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Omega Man (1971)

Starring Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash, Paul Koslo, Eric Laneuville
Directed by Boris Sagal
(actor & director credits courtesy

On a future Earth where a deadly plague has killed most of the population, a scientist who's survived faces nightly attacks from half-dead plague victims he hunts during the day.

An adaptation of Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend, the film takes liberties with the text and I've heard Matheson was not fond of it, but it's a very entertaining movie, with Heston perfect as the cynical hero who participates in a war of ideologies with Zerbe as the leader of the zombie-like nightstalkers.  I think it's paced a little better than the previous adaptation of the story, 1964's The Last Man On Earth, with Vincent Price, dispensing with that film's lengthy flashback sequence, incorporating some well-staged bits of action, and introducing Cash into the story much earlier.  Russell Metty's clever use of shadow in his photography and Ron Grainer's eccentric score add to the uniqueness of the film, which is wisely built around Heston and his ever reliable machismo.

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