Omega Man, The

Tagged: Film

Film (1971). Warner Bros. Directed by Boris Sagal. Written by John William Corrington, Joyce H Corrington, based on I Am Legend (1954) by Richard Matheson. Starring Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash. 98 minutes. Colour.

This is the second film version of Matheson's ultra-Paranoia novel, the first being L' Ultimo Uomo della Terra (1964; vt The Last Man on Earth). "The first one was very poorly done," said Matheson, himself a screenwriter, "but it did follow the book. The Omega Man bore no resemblance to my book . . . I had absolutely nothing to do with the screenplay." A survivor of a biological war battles (with a machine gun rather than Matheson's sharpened stakes) against a group of mutated, albino fanatics haunting the almost dead city. The film sacrifices the claustrophobia and nightmare of the novel for fast-moving action. The true cinematic heir to Matheson's story, though not directly based on it, is the far superior Night of the Living Dead (1968). [JB/PN]

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