Friday, April 22, 2011

Last Woman on Earth (1960)

How best to frame a love triangle? Simple. Kill everyone else on the planet. Rich playboy Harold and his latest trophy wife Evelyn are on vacation in Puerto Rico and along for the ride is straight-laced lawyer Martin. Seems wifey regrets choosing wealth and leisure over love.

Anyhow, they go scuba diving and when they come up, there is very little oxygen in the atmosphere. It seems that somehow there was a temporary interruption of the Earth's atmosphere. Perfectly plausible. Happens all the time. Nighty night, kiddies! Anyhow, the air returns and they soon discover they are the only living animals on the planet. Now, what to do with this hot blond ...

There is a power struggle. Someone wins and someone loses. Not too bad, considering the epically low budget. But let's take another look at the movie poster, shall we? Now, THAT is a movie I want to see! Unfortunately, that movie doesn't exist. Evelyn was ok, I suppose, but come on. Not even close.

I had some misgivings going into this one. First, it was made by my arch-nemesis Roger Corman. Second, it was shot at the same time as Creature from the Haunted Sea, which was truly awful. Don't wait for me to do that one. It was a 1.5 and I won't watch it again. Think To Have and Have Not meets Gilligan's Island meets STUPID. Anyways, I was quite surprised to find this quite watchable.

At first I thought it was a rip-off of The Last Man on Earth, but that came out four years later. The movies had nothing in common except the low budget, the prevalence of death, the very small cast, and the climactic final scene in a church. Come to think of it, they had a lot in common. But, no. Neither story inspired the other.

And back onto the topic of low budgets, the actor playing Martin was credited as Edward Wain but was really writer Robert Towne. He wasn't finished with the script yet so Corman made him an actor and changed his name. How's that for saving on air fare? Towne went on to write movies like Chinatown and Days of Thunder.

Wooden acting, not a real captivating story, cheaply done, and forgettable. Still, very watchable. AMRU 2.5.

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