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The Ωmega Man

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Boris Sagal
Produced by Walter Seltzer
Written by Richard Matheson (novel I Am Legend)
John William Corrington
Joyce H. Corrington
Starring Charlton Heston
Anthony Zerbe
Paul Koslo
Rosalind Cash
Eric Laneuville
Music by Ron Grainer
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) August 1, 1971 (U.S. release)
Running time 98 min
Language English

The Ωmega Man (1971) is an English language science fiction film directed by Boris Sagal and released in 1971. Starring Charlton Heston, it is based on the novel I Am Legend (1954) by American writer Richard Matheson.[1] The screenplay is by John William and Joyce Corrington, and it was filmed in Technicolor with monaural sound, for a running time of 98 minutes.[2] This story first was filmed as The Last Man on Earth (1964) featuring Vincent Price. A third adaptation of the novel, I Am Legend featuring Will Smith, was released in 2007, and an unofficial fourth, I Am Omega, featuring Mark Dacascos, was also released in 2007 (though neither Matheson's name or novel were credited as source material for this version).

The film differs considerably from the novel insofar as in the novel the cause of the demise of humanity is a plague from mosquitoes who have in turn contracted it from vampires, whereas in the film biological warfare is the cause of the plague.

Contents

Plot

In March 1975, biological warfare between the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union kills most of the world's human population. U.S. Army Colonel Robert Neville, M.D. (Charlton Heston) - a military scientist - begins to succumb to the plague, but vaccinates himself with an experimental and yet to be tested vaccine just in time, rendering himself immune. The plague's surviving victims, meanwhile, join together as "The Family" - a cult of nocturnal homicidal mutants with plague-induced albinism who seek to destroy the last vestiges of technological society.

Two years later, Neville believes himself to be the plague's only survivor. He spends his days hunting down and destroying members of The Family. At night, living atop a fortified apartment building equipped with an arsenal of military-style automatic firearms and explosives (including a Smith & Wesson M76 submachine gun, infrared sight-equipped Browning Automatic Rifle, satchel charges, etc.), he is a prisoner in his own home. The Family seeks to destroy him, believing him to be a last remainder of the old culture.

One day, The Family captures Neville in a wine cellar. After a summary trial he is found guilty of heresy by Jonathan Matthias (Anthony Zerbe), leader of The Family. Neville is sentenced to an auto de fe and nearly burned at the stake in the center of Dodger Stadium. He is rescued by Lisa (Rosalind Cash), a woman he'd earlier seen while on patrol, and Dutch (Paul Koslo), a former pre-med student familiar with Neville's work who had planned to apply to a bio-warfare lab as part of his post med-school training.

Lisa and Dutch are part of a group of unmutated survivors; although infected, their youth has given them some resistance to the disease and its symptoms are slow to manifest. Nevertheless, given enough time, they will succumb to mutation and become as members of The Family. Neville is amazed and gratified to find that some of the survivors include very young children. Neville later engages in a brief relationship with Lisa.

Neville realizes that even if it is possible to duplicate the original vaccine, it would take years to salvage humanity. However, he believes it may be possible to extend his immunity to others by creating a serum derived from his blood. If the serum works, Neville and Lisa plan to leave the ravaged city with the rest of the survivors and start a new life in the wilderness, leaving The Family behind to die.

Neville is successful in creating the serum and administers it to Lisa's teenage brother Richie (Eric Laneuville) who is on the verge of the advanced mutant stage of the plague. Once cured, Richie (insisting that members of The Family are also human) goes to The Family to try to convince them to take the serum. Matthias refuses to believe that Neville would try to help them, accuses Richie of being sent by Neville to harm them and has Richie executed. Neville discovers Richie’s body strung up where The Family murdered him, left as bait to draw Neville outside after dark. Enraged, Neville is caught outside and stalled in his attempts to reach home but manages to fight off The Family.

Meanwhile, Lisa unexpectedly changes into a nocturnal and betrays Neville by giving The Family access to his bunker. Returning home, Neville is confronted by Matthias, who forces him to watch as The Family destroys his home and sets it afire. Neville breaks free and, once outside with Lisa, he turns and raises his sub-machine gun to shoot Matthias, who is looking down from the balcony. The gun jams, giving Matthias enough time to hurl a spear at Neville, mortally wounding him. It's assumed that Matthias and The Family choose to stay inside Neville's home as it continues to burn. Lisa claims to be part of The Family, but stays by the fountain with Neville until dawn.

The final scene shows the human survivors led by Dutch, departing in a Land Rover. They discover a dying Neville, who hands Dutch a flask of blood serum, presumably with which to restore humanity. Shortly after handing over the serum Neville dies in a fountain, symbolically posed in the traditional position of the crucified Christ. Dutch takes Lisa and the survivors away as they leave the city for good, leaving the Family to die, as Neville planned.

Reception

The reviews website Rotten Tomatoes shows the film as having mixed reviews, with a score of 59%.[3] Howard Thompson gave a mostly negative review in The New York Times, saying "the climax is as florid and phony as it can be."[4]

References

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Omega Man is a 1971 American horror/science fiction film loosely based on Richard Matheson's 1954 best-selling novel I Am Legend.

Directed by Boris Sagal. Written by John William Corrington.
The Last Man on Earth is Not Alone (taglines)

Contents

Robert Neville

  • Hi. Another day, another dollar.
  • [later] For you, I think it's your move.
  • [makes drink] Join me? Hmm? Miserable schmuck! [to his own image on the video screen]
  • Isn't he? Isn't he a sullen b- [stops when he hears the "Family" outside]
  • [to the "Family"] SHUT UP! Why the hell can't you leave me alone?
  • [later, to the bust of Caesar] What day is it, anyway? Monday? Huh? The hell it is. It's Sunday. Sunday I always dress for dinner.
  • [first lines, as the last man on earth wrecks his car] There's never a cop around when you need one.
  • [talking to his own image on a TV screen] Hi, Big Brother, how's your ass?
  • [hearing the "Family" loudly holding a book-burning revel] At it again, I see? What will it be tonight? Museum of Science? Some library? Poor miserable bastards.
  • You know the old song? If you were the only girl in the world, and I was the only boy, well, okay, but until then, don't bother me? Well, I guess I'm the only boy....
  • And Speedy Bob Neville- his great legs churning goes speeding across the finish line with a three minute and fifty second mile. Go ahead, let's see some son-of-a-bitch beat that.
  • Is this how it starts? A trip to the laughing academy? No, you silly bastard, it starts with you asking yourself silly questions. Okay, let's get cleaned up.

Matthias

  • Take him to the little room... for questioning.
  • Here is the instrument of cleansing, my brethren. And nothing quite cleanses like fire.

Other

  • Lisa: Is there anything you can do, DOCTOR, I mean, seeing as how you've lost over 200 million patients?
  • Speaker unknown: [during Neville's flashback to the military conflict] Abort firing! Abort firing! Impact will fragment bacilli carrying missile! Abort firing! Abort firing!

Dialogue

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

Dutch: I was a med-school senior when they scratched the world. As a matter of fact, I was planning on applying to biowar labs for my post-doc, but, heh-heh, the next term never came.
Robert Neville: Now I'm sorry you didn't make it.
Lisa: Sorry the world didn't make it.

[after Neville tosses her a submachine gun]
Lisa: What's this for?
Neville: Comfort.

[describing Neville]
Matthias: One creature, caught. Caught in a place he cannot stir from in the dark, alone, outnumbered hundreds to one, nothing to live for but his memories, nothing to live with but his gadgets, his cars, his guns, gimmicks... and yet the whole family can't bring him down from that, that...
Zachary: Honky paradise, brother?
Matthias: Forget the old ways, brother, all the old hatreds.

Black Power Lisa: All right you son-of-a-bitch, you just hold tight. Up against the wall, you mother!
Neville: My name's Robert.
Black Power Lisa: Your name's mud.

Dutch: You could save the world.
Black Power Lisa: Screw the world, save Ritchie.

Matthias: Definition of a scientist - a man who understands nothing until there was nothing left to understand.
Neville: So, there is a little light in the forest after all.

Matthias: The bad dream is over, friend Neville. Now we can sleep in peace.
Neville: [raspy] Lisa!
Lisa: [weakly] Robert, you're evil. I-I-I'm part of the Family, Robert. I'm sorry.
Lisa: [drowsy] The Family, Robert. Y - Uh... You don't understand. Oh... Robert...

Tagline

  • The Last Man always carries an automatic weapon.
  • 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. Crawling In Darkness. The Strangest Sect Of All. Hunting The Last Man On Earth.

Cast

  • Charlton Heston ... Robert Neville
  • Anthony Zerbe ... Matthias
  • Rosalind Cash ... Lisa
  • Paul Koslo ... Dutch
  • Eric Laneuville ... Richie
  • Lincoln Kilpatrick ... Zachary
  • Jill Giraldi ... Little Girl

External links

Wikipedia
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