Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend is an adaption producing machine. This film was the first attempt and quite possibly the best. Well, I don’t like CGI much so the Will Smith version just didn’t cut it for me and the Charlton Heston movie Omega Man placed the focus elsewhere.
Dr. Robert Morgan (Price) finds himself alone in a world besieged by a plague that has turned everyone into vampiric zombies. It is amazing how many times Price plays a Dr. of some sort. Almost mind-boggling.
As opposed to Omega Man or I Am Legend this film focuses on the internal struggle of a man coping with isolation, desolation, and any other -olations imaginable.
The better part of the film is narrated by Price as he goes through his daily routines of gathering garlic, mirrors, gas and other supplies in preparation for the nightly attacks. Interestingly or oddly enough, a few pieces of wood and garlic can hold of hordes of zombies back. For me the highlight of the film is the infected calling out Price’s character on a nightly basis as he retaliates by listening to jazz. “Morgan, can you hear me?! Morgan! Morgan!”
The filmmakers excelled in contextualizing exactly what they were trying to accomplish on their limited budget. The agony and pain of Price’s character is abundant throughout the film. You literally share in the self-pitied hell he lives in.
Where the filmmakers struggled, quite possibly due to budget constraints, was during the final third of the film. The ending seems forced or rushed, though this doesn’t take away from overall goodness of the film. Considering TLMOE was made several years before the most famous zombie movie of all time, one could say it played a major influence in the creation of said zombie movie.
Snore Factor ZZ