The Omega Man [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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Charlton Heston stars in this American sci-fi action feature. In 1977, the world's population has been virtually wiped out by a plague caused by biological warfare. The lone survivor in the deserted city of Los Angeles is scientist Dr. Robert Neville (Heston) who believes it is his duty to fight off the bloodthirsty mutants, calling themselves The Family, who roam the city's streets. However, this all changes when he is saved from The Family by a group of normal, young people, and begins to find himself attracted to their leader, Lisa (Rosalind Cash). Together, they try to develop a cure to the disease by duplicating Neville's original vaccine but find themselves in a constant battle with infected members of The Family.
With its opening long shots of a car driving through the canyons of empty streets stirring up clouds of waste paper, Charlton Heston's 1971 film The Omega Man is an interesting precursor of more recent last-person-on-earth films such as 28 Days Later. Heston is surprisingly good at conveying the terror of being completely on your own, with sanity that wanders into long conversations with the inanimate. Rather less good are the film's antagonists, victims of bacterial warfare left as albino psychotics determined to destroy Heston as a representative of the old dead world of science and technology and a small group of the infected, but not yet changed, who live virtuous pastoral lives in the hills. The film's racial politics are interestingly dated: the heroine, Lisa, is black and has some wince-worthy moments of blaxploitation movie chic; the moment when she changes is nonetheless chilling for being eminently predictable. Loosely based on Richard Matheson's classic genre novel I Am Legend, perhaps the best thing about the film is that it comes from an era when science-fiction blockbusters could be relentlessly downbeat.
On the DVD: The Omega Mancomes to disc with some interesting special features. There's a television "making of" that was shown at the time, as well as the trailer and an interesting short retrospective documentary containing interviews with the surviving screenwriter Joyce Corrington and a couple of the younger actors. The anamorphic widescreen picture is fine, as is the digitally remastered mono sound. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an alternate Blu-ray edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is simple. Charlton Heston plays a USAF Doctor who, when an un-named enemy launches a biowar strike on the US, labours to produce a vaccine. He makes a breakthrough, but on the way to a city centre hospital to test it both he and his pilot catch the disease and crash.
Cut to some time later. By day Heston roams the streets, becoming more and more affected by the solitude, even to the point of watching "Woodstock - The Movie" over and over again. By night he retires to his fortified apartment, while people who have been driven mad by the disease but not killed lay siege to him.
The victims come out only at night because they have been made super photo-sensitive by the disease. Insane enough already, they are organised by the clearly barking Matthias, recognisable as the sanctimonious newsreader from the films opening sequences. His mission is to destroy all technology and learning, which is lucky for Heston as it prevents him going after him with a tank.
When Heston discovers some sane, apparently uninfected people scavenging in the city, he gets another chance to save humanity by using his blood as a serum.
This film has everything. Great "empty city" settings, fantastic 70s music, a brilliant story and plenty of action. An underrated masterpiece. Never let anyone tell you it's about vampires.
The survivors infected with the plague are hooded mutants that cannot see in the daylight, and are bent in destroying all the attributes of civilization that remain on earth, crying "burn, burn, burn !" as they pile books in a fiery heap. Their leader is a former news anchor played to the hilt by Anthony Zerbe, who warns the zombie "Family" of the evil created by the "users of the wheel".
It is all quite thought-provoking, and has several connotations to terrorism today, and also has symbolism relating to Christianity; at one point Heston is tied up in a crucifixion pose, and his blood, turned into a serum, can save the remnant of humanity. There are a few reminders from the Book of Revelation, where of course, Jesus said "I am the Alpha and Omega".
Rosalind Cash is lovely as Lisa, one of the remnant hiding in the hills, and her relationship with Heston is a rare instance of an interracial love affair from that era. Films from the 1970s fascinate me, with the hair and fashion styles, and 8-track tapes in the cars.
This film has fabulous cinematography by Russell Metty of a deserted, devastated Los Angeles, a good score by Ron Granier, and fast-paced, disquieting direction by Boris Segal that will occasionally make your heart skip a beat with fright.
Total running time is 98 minutes.
Where this film scores is the images of an empty Los Angeles and personal replays of Woodstock in a Cinema to ease his own growing insanity. The period music add to the charm.
Worth a punt
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing film, in someway its much better than the revamped I am legend. It relies more on suspense, its amazing how people have forgotten that you don't need to use violence to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by J D.
There are at least four movie versions of Richard Matheson’s marvellous book “I am Legend”; this is the first one I saw, forty odd years ago, and since then as now, I enjoy Sci-Fi,... Read morePublished 4 months ago by harpoon guns to 'safe', please
This is the one of three adaptations of I Am Legend and though to me its the weakest of the three its still a winner with creepy bad guys,for its time amazing visuals and is led by... Read morePublished 4 months ago by MS SS
Classic film, well worth watching even in respect of film/cinema history.Published 5 months ago by Mark C.