Thursday, July 20, 2006

Overlooked Movies: The Omega Man

"It's a spooky feeling to screw Moses." ~Rosalind Cash on her love scenes with Charlton Heston

Robert Neville, a doctor,due to an experimental vaccine, is the only survivor of an apocalyptic war waged with biological weapons. The plague caused by the war has killed everyone else except for a few hundred deformed, nocturnal people calling themselves "The Family". The plague has caused them to become sensitive to light, as well as homicidally psychotic. They believe science and technology to be the cause of the war and their punishment, and Neville, as the last symbol of science, the old world, and a "user of the wheel", must die. Neville, using electricty, machinery, and science attempts to hold them at bay.

Click here to watch the trailer:

The Last Man on Earth is Not Alone
Pray for the last man alive. Because he's not alone.
The World Is Dead. One Survivor. Then The Others. Cralwing In Darkness. The Strangest Sect Of All. *Hunting The Last Man On Earth.*

Fun Trivia
The production company wanted a set that looked like an abandoned metropolitan area, but it was too costly to build. The producer drove through downtown L.A. one weekend and discovered there were no shoppers, so the majority of the film's exterior was shot on location during the weekends.

The 8-track that Robert Neville puts into his car stereo at the beginning of the movie can very briefly be made out to be Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night". What actually plays on the soundtrack is Max Steiner's "Theme from 'A Summer Place'".

The director Boris Sagal is the father of Married with Children's Katie Sagal.

British studio Hammer had planned production of Matheson's own scripted version of "I am Legend" entitled "The Night Creatures". However, after being deemed too graphic by censors, the script was rejected and the project lingered, eventually dying.

Heston discovered the Matheson novel, devoured it on a lengthy airplane ride, and brought it to the attention of producer Walter Seltzer. Seltzer agreed the book would make an excellent film and proceeded to make a valuable contribution when he suggested they change the title from "I Am Legend" to the much more exotic-sounding "The Omega Man," a reference to the fact that omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Incidentally, Seltzer would also go on to produce yet another Charlton Heston movie with a distressing view of the Earth's future, Soylent Green (1973), in which Edward G. Robinson's dying scene really was his dying scene (he died within hours, having told no one on the set ahead of time).

Fun Quotes
Robert Neville: [Talking to moldy corpse in car dealership] How much for a trade-in on my Ford? Oh, really? Thanks a lot, you cheating bastard...

Little Girl: Are you God?
Lisa: Let's find out if he's even a doctor before we go promoting him, okay?

Lisa: Is there anything you can do, DOCTOR, I mean, seeing as how you've lost over 200 million patients?

Lisa: It's OK, Tommy. This is the man... and I mean "The Man," but he's cool.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant piece of film.....and CH no less brought it together with a rather.."manly approach" I still have to wonder after reading Matheson's book well too many times.......What would Hammer have done? What must that script have been about? Would the impact of Brit film making and the apocalypse have left a completely different mark on the last man on earth...I wonder. Thanks for the info btw =)

Becca said...

I read an interview with matheson and he said he's been able to read every version of the I am Legend script and none of them have quite been his novel, most of them taking a humorous route rather than the serious tone of the novel.

That said you know I have never read the novel, it's on the to read list but I've never gotten around to it.

Anonymous said...

They're filming I am Legend right now with Will Smith - going to be closer to the novel I believe.

Becca said...

Hmmm It'll be curious to see how it turns out considering how bad and not even close to the books I Robotwas. Not that the same people are involved in this production...I hope.

Video Zeta One said...

Well, having seen I Am Legend, we can, once again, wonder what a FAITHFUL ADAPTATION of the Matheson story would be like. Oh, well.

Anonymous said...

Matheson was disappointed with both "Omega Man" and the 1959 version ("The Last Man on Earth," starring Vincent Price). He said in an interview in Fangoria magazine sometime around 1980 that, as far as he was concerned, "I Am Legend" had never been filmed.