Thursday, November 27, 2014

Last Woman on Earth (1960)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Warning:  I am going to give away lots of details about this movie.  I even allude to how the movie ends.  If you're not into this, you might want to stop reading here.

How would you feel if you were the last woman on Earth?  How would it feel if you were one of several men competing for her attention?  Harold, Martin and Evelyn get a chance to find out.  They're on vacation in Puerto Rico when everyone else in the area dies.  It looks like the oxygen just disappeared.  Since they were diving, they have their own personal supply of oxygen.  After about 30 or 40 minutes, the oxygen returns, meaning that they don't have to rely on SCUBA gear for survival.

They look around the hotel to find everyone dead of oxygen deprivation.  They can't get an operator, so they're left to assume that everyone's dead.  Instead of waiting around for the stench to become too much, someone suggests finding somewhere else to stay.  So, they find a house that happens to be stocked with plenty of canned food.

It doesn't take long for Martin to start liking Evelyn.  Martin is nice and Evelyn likes him.  The problem is that she's married to Harold and Harold is a jerk.  Harold basically tells Martin, "I'm married to her and you're not, so get lost."  When Martin starts to get physical with Evelyn, Harold's response is, "Seriously, though, get lost.  You can even take the car."

Well, Martin does get lost and he wants to take Evelyn with him.  In the ultimate show of chest thumping, Harold goes after them.  That's his wife and he's not letting her go, even if the world has come to an end.  I don't want to totally ruin the movie for you, but lets just say that things don't end well for Martin.

There have been a lot of end-of-the-world and last-whatever-on-Earth movies.  Some were good.  A few were even worth watching.  This one was good, but not that good.  For starters, I always find it hard to believe that either one person or one small group got lucky.  Here we have a tropical island where only three people were SCUBA diving?  Even if that were so, I have to think that there was someone else out there with an oxygen tank or something that they could have breathed through for a little while until the crisis stopped.

Also, while there was a lame attempt to contact the mainland, I think that the trio gave up too easily.  Personally, I would have sent up some flares or something to let people know I was there.  I would have put a message in a bottle.  They even had access to at least one boat that they could have used to actually go to the mainland.  Instead, they worry about how it's not the right time of the year to go that far on the water.

Really, most of the script is just a way to keep the three people together so that two of them can fight over the third.  Harold is not a nice guy.  He was involved in a lawsuit over how he made his money.  The money's gone, so the only thing he has left to hold over anyone's head is Evelyn.  The only person left to have Evelyn held over his head by Harold is Martin, who really does seem like a nice guy.  So, it's good against bad with Evelyn in the middle.

Most of the dialogue swings from "What's the point" to "Let's ignore the problem completely" before going back to "Well, I guess humanity is pretty much screwed."  It's kind of depressing in that respect.  Instead of maybe reflecting on what was actually lost or commenting on the human condition, the characters either fight amongst themselves or fret over how there's nothing that they can do to repopulate the world with just three people.

The movie is mostly safe for kids.  What bodies we see are just laying there.  There are no zombies nor are there any really scary situations that arise from the dead people.  (The worst of it is the talk about the stench.)  There are some adult situations.  As you might imagine, with one woman left, sex is an issue that both men are thinking of.  There is also some fighting.  It's not major, but it is there.

This is low-budget in the extreme.  There are no real special effects to speak of with this movie.  Most of it is just three people, probably to cut down on the need for extras.  Sets are also kept to a minimum.  From what I've read, the director was also making another film in the area and decided to set this movie in Puerto Rico to save money.

I came across this movie as part of a ten-movie set.  I think that the people putting this film together went for the cheapest version out there.  The video transfer wasn't the best.  It looks like it suffered from old age.  This only adds to the low-budget look.  I'd imagine that there are better versions out there.

I wouldn't really recommend buying the movie.  It's only 71 minutes, so you're not giving up a lot of time, but it's not really worth spending the money on.  If you can get it free on demand, streaming online or as part of a set, I'd say go for it.  Otherwise, don't bother. 

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