The Last Man on Earth – Kino Lorber (Blu-ray)
Theatrical Release Date: Italy/USA, 1964
Directors: Ubaldo Ragona, Sidney Salkow
Writers: Richard Matheson, William F. Leicester
Cast: Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli, Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Umberto Raho
Release Date: August 31st, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 87 Minutes 19 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $24.95
"A plague envelops the earth, decimating the population and leaving one man still alive: scientist Robert Morgan (Price), who exhibits a strange immunity to the deadly disease. The rest of the earth’s people slowly turn into bloodsucking vampires and Morgan must use all of his knowledge to survive their onslaught." - synopsis provided by the distributor
The Last Man on Earth comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.
Disc Size: 28.8 GB
Feature: 25.4 GB
Though the source is in very good shape, there are some minor instances of print related debris. That said, this is easily the best The Last Man on Earth has looked on home video to date. Image clarity, contrast and black levels look strong throughout and the image looks organic.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English subtitles. There are no issues with distortion or background hiss; the dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a limited edition slipcover, a trailer for The Last Man on Earth (1 minute 51 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles), Trailer From Hell with Joe Dante who discusses The Last Man on Earth (2 minutes 23 seconds, DTS-HD stereo English, no subtitles), an alternate ending (58 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an archival featurette titled Richard Matheson Storyteller (6 minutes 24 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and an audio commentary with Richard Harland Smith.
Other extras include trailers for The Raven (2 minutes 29 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), The Comedy of Terrors (2 minutes 33 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles), Master of the World (2 minutes 31 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), Theater of Blood (2 minutes 31 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), The Tomb of Ligeia (2 minutes 31 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), Scream and Scream Again (2 minutes 22 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles) and House of the Long Shadows (2 minutes 28 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles).
The Last Man on Earth is adapted from Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend. Other notable film adaptations of I Am Legend include The Omega Man and I Am Legend (2007).
From the moment I became aware of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, I have been enthralled by the story. So naturally, when I discovered that there were film adaptations, I had to check them out. And though the first of these adaptations I saw was The Omega Man, My favorite I Am Legend adaptation is The Last Man on Earth.
Though I Am Legend provides a solid structure for any film, It is interesting just how different The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man and I Am Legend (2007) are. And to appreciate each of these adaptations, one does not have to look further than the actors portraying the protagonists. The strongest of these three performances is Vincent Price's, whose performance makes you sympathize with the protagonist in a way that the protagonists in the other two films do not.
Though Vincent Price in the 1950’s had firmly established himself as one of the premier actors working in horror cinema, He hit his stride in the 1960’s working for American International Pictures. Though Vincent Price’s AIP films had a defined look and vibe about them. Filming The Last Man on Earth in Italy is what sets it apart from Vincent Price’s other AIP films. From a production standpoint, there are many elements in The Last Man on Earth that are synonymous with 1960’s Italian cinema.
The Last Man on Earth is a film that fully exploits all of its resources. The premise is well-executed and the narrative does a good job alternating between the present and the past. Another strength of The Last Man on Earth is its striking black-and-white cinematography that reinforces the mood without drawing away from the performances. Ultimately, The Last Man on Earth is an extraordinary film whose premise has not lost any of its potency.
Kino Lorber gives The Last Man on Earth a solid audio/video presentation and a pair of informative extras, highly recommended.
Written by Michael Den Boer