Last Man On Earth (1964)/ Sawtell @ Shefter

December 9, 2012

 

lastmanonearth

This reviewer has always pondered what this film would have been like if Hammer had decided to film the adaption of the novel “I Am Legend” the author Richard Matheson had done for the studio. I can envision Andrew Keir and Barbara Shelley in the titles role with Terence Fisher directing and an excellent score from James Bernard.  Alas they decided not to and it was sold to ‘B’ producer Robert Lippert who promptly filmed it in Italy. I can remember going to the drive-in and seeing it in a dusk to dawn spectacular and laughing instead of being mesmerized. It has since been remade as OMEGA MAN (Charlton Heston) in 1971 and I AM LEGEND (Will Smith) in 2006 neither of which I enjoyed. The music from THE LAST MAN ON EARTH is another story as Sawtell and Shefter seemed to have a knack for making good music for these kinds of films.

 

“Prologue” with its swirling strings and extremely effective use of its wind section set the mood and let the listener know this is going to be a science fiction story. The bleak desolate style complements the visual emptiness of the city, or what is left of it. If you sort through the tangled who, what, where, and when you come up with the facts that the “Main Title” was composed by Roy Webb for RETURN OF THE FLY! Does it fit the film? Absolutely just as well as RETURN OF THE FLY if not better. I’m including tracks from both films so that you can compare. main title last man on earth  main title return of the fly If you’re interested RETURN OF THE FLY was released by Kritzerland as part of a double feature, the other half being THE FLY. Other tracks of note include “Vampire Bop” author unknown. It is a structured dissonant jazz track that sounds quite generic and could have been used in any number of television programs such as MIKE HAMMER or PERRY MASON. There is a melody but it is one that is not memorable and quickly forgotten but certainly worthy of repeated listens or deserving of a place on a jazz compilation CD. The “End Title” is very similar to the end title from RETURN OF THE FLY with the 8 note theme this time done more in a romantic Hollywood style.

 

Also included on the disc are four welcome bonus tracks which eliminate the horrible wailing of the Italian dubbing. The cues are far superior as instrumentals.

 

This release I would put in the category of an archival release so what you’ll hear will not rattle your woofers or challenge your tweeters. It is limited dynamic range and if you’re looking for perfection you won’t find it on this CD. What you will hear is a faithful reproduction of what was available, Liner notes by David Schecter, provide everything you need to know about the composers, history of the making of the film, a detailed analysis of the music cue by cue making the liner notes a short story. Keep in mind that this release is limited to 1000 copies so act sooner rather than later.

 

This is always something to look forward to when you purchase a MMM CD. This one comes highly recommended. I hope that you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

 

 

 

 

Track listing

1.

Prologue [1:29]

2.

Main Title [1:36]

3.

Dead Vampires [1:00]

4.

Survival [2:18]

5.

The Stakes [0:41]

6.

Dead Vampires (Taken Away) [1:48]

7.

Pit Smoke [1:16]

8.

Goes for Supplies [2:46]

9.

Killing Vampires [2:03]

10.

Vampire Bop [1:21]

11.

To the Chapel [0:52]

12.

Beside Casket [1:27]

13.

Fights off Vampires [0:41]

14.

Finds Vampires at House [1:48]

15.

Watching Home Movie [1:42]

16.

Retrospect [0:16]

17.

Baby’s Room [0:36]

18.

Smoke [0:09]

19.

Taking the Dead Away [0:47]

20.

Still Troubled [0:12]

21.

The Deserted Lab [0:27]

22.

Death of Baby [0:57]

23.

Raging Inferno [1:47]

24.

Wife Gone [0:30]

25.

To the Cemetery [1:24]

26.

Face from the Grave [0:43]

27.

Sunrise [0:11]

28.

New Discovery [2:08]

29.

Vampires Iron Stakes [0:50]

30.

Dog Is Hurt [1:00]

31.

Buries the Dog [1:41]

32.

Girl’s Existence [1:24]

33.

Injection Needle [0:58]

34.

Girl Infected [0:47]

35.

Transfusion [1:45]

36.

Transfusion a Success [1:15]

37.

Iron Lancers Attack [1:31]

38.

After the Last Man [1:09]

39.

Last Man Shot (93X) [0:11]

40.

Last Man Shot [1:58]

41.

End Title [1:12]

42.

Beside Casket [1:29]

43.

Fights Off Vampires [0:44]

44.

Finds Vampires at House [1:48]

45.

Face from the Grave [0:43]

46.

End Title [1:11]

 

Total Time is 54:39

CD# is MMM1969

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