Monday, May 4, 2020

RICHARD MATHESON: His Novel "I Am Legend" On Film (X 3)

President Donald J. Trump referred to "COVID-19" aka: the "CORONA VIRUS", at multiple "Press Briefings", as a "PLAGUE" and not a "Pandemic". He also claimed, still as of the date of this articles publication, that it was "Lab Created" by China. I am not criticizing the comments of the President of the United States, but they reminded me of a Science Fiction-Horror novel from my youth by Richard Matheson and three motion picture versions of that work.

By definition that terms "Pandemic" and "Plague" are somewhat interchangeable, but on a finer detail. The word "Pandemic" simply means a disease spread across a large region. While historically the word "Plague" is associated with outbreaks such as the "Bubonic Plague", or as it was known "The Black Death". Because it actually turned people "Black" and between 1347 to 1351 killed, a probable, 200 million people, depending upon the source material used.

So who is Science Fiction and Horror author Richard Matheson?



In 1956 he wrote "The Shrinking Man" and a year later Universal Pictures turned it into the classic Science Fiction film "The Incredible Shrinking Man" from a screenplay Matheson co-wrote.



Among Matheson's 88 screenplays were director Roger Corman's 1960 "House of Usher" and 1961's "The Pit and the Pendulum". Matheson would adopt his own novel 1971's "Hell House" into the 1973 Horror film "The Legend of Hell House". My article "Richard Matheson: The Screenplays and Treatments" will be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/01/richard-matheson-screenplays-and.html

However, back in 1954 Richard Matheson wrote his novel, more appropriately novella, entitled "I Am Legend" and that is the basis for the following three motion picture screenplays.

IAmLegend25028.jpg

The Basic Story Line of the Novella:

The hero, if that's the right word, of Matheson's post-apocalyptic novel is "Robert Neville". "Neville" appears to be the only still human left in the world after a pandemic spread across it. The pandemic turned the rest of the once human population into vampires feeding off of animal blood. The origin of the pandemic disease is never mentioned, but the events take place in Los Angeles. As over three years "Robert" attempts to find a cure and restore mankind.

"Neville" eventually meets an apparently normal human women named "Ruth". Who, while the vampires don't come out except at night, is first seen walking around in the daylight. After taking a sample of her blood to see if she has an immunity to the disease. "Ruth" suddenly knocks "Robert" out, as he starts to look at the sample under a microscope.When he regains consciousness he finds out she is indeed one of the vampires he been killing, but a new hybrid type and part of the "New Society" of the human race. She does not resent the fact that he's the last true human, but he is a threat to the future of mankind and must die. He is given painless suicide pills to take.

After "Robert Neville" takes the pills. He is amused at the thought that he has become a "Superstition" to the new "Human Race" and will be remembered by their children as a "Legend".

At the time of the novel's publication it was panned by most critics, because with vampires in it. The book critics were attempting to compare Richard Matheson's work with was Bram Stoker's "Dracula".
An example is by critic Damon Knight. The review was originally written at the time of publication, but is part of his own collected essays. In his book, "In Search of Wonder", published two years later:
The book is full of good ideas, every other one of which is immediately dropped and kicked out of sight. The characters are child's drawings, as blank-eyed and expressionless as the author himself in his back-cover photograph. The plot limps. All the same, the story could have been an admirable minor work in the tradition of Dracula, if only the author, or somebody, had not insisted on encumbering it with the year's most childish set of 'scientific' rationalizations.
However, the real worth of the Matheson's work was recognized 51 years later by Dan Schneider for a book review. Which appeared in an issue of the "International Writers Magazine" in 2005:
despite having vampires in it, [the novel] is not a novel on vampires, nor even a horror nor sci-fi novel at all, in the deepest sense. Instead, it is perhaps the greatest novel written on human loneliness. It far surpasses Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe in that regard. Its insights into what it is to be human go far beyond genre, and is all the more surprising because, having read his short stories—which range from competent but simplistic, to having classic Twilight Zone twists (he was a major contributor to the original TV series)—there is nothing within those short stories that suggests the supreme majesty of the existential masterpiece I Am Legend was aborning.
The Motion Picture Versions of the Novella:

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH released May 6, 1964

This is an Italian and United States co-production.

The posters for this film are in a word strange. The English language version was released by American International Pictures and they seemed to have taken a poster for Roger Corman's 1960 "The House of Usher", also starring Vincent Price, and reused it by basically changing the last sentence of the tag lines into mentioning the title of this motion picture and not the "House of Usher".

Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth (1964)

While 20th Century Fox International, that was releasing the picture in Italy, created the following"

The Last Man on Earth (1964)

The film was produced by one of the the "Low Budget King's" Robert L. Lippert. In 1950 Lippert produced the classic Anti-Nuclear War Science Fiction movie "Rocketship X-M" featuring Lloyd Bridges and Hugh O'Brien. In 1951 he produced "The Lost Continent" starring Cesar Romero and the "Unknown World". In 1955 Lippert produced the British Science Fiction classic "The Quatermass X-periment", based upon the BBC mini-series, and in 1958 the Vincent Price thriller "The Fly" among other films.

Robert L Lippert filmed "The Last Man on Earth" in Italy with an Italian cast and crew to save money.

Initially the son of the founder of Britain's "Hammer Films", Anthony Hinds, who had worked with Lippert on "Quartermass". Had wanted to make the novel and purchased the rights from Richard Matheson. However, the very strict British Censors reviewed the novel and refused Hinds, or any UK studio from turning the novel into a motion picture. Hinds then sold the rights to Robert L. Lippert.

Lippert had wanted to turn the novel into a feature film for a long time. He told Matheson that German-American director Fritz Lang, 1927's "Metropolis", 1929's "Women in the Moon" and 1931's "M", would direct the motion picture, but instead hired Sidney Salkow. Salkow had been directing "B" movies since 1936 and starting in 1952 was mainly directing episodes of television Westerns and Dramas. Not quite in the same league as Lang.

The Italian version of the story was directed by Ubaldo Ragona. Between 1955 and 1962 Ragona directed four motion pictures and "L'Ultimo Uomo della Terra" was his third. Like many Italian, Spanish and West German producers, directors and actors of the period. Ragona would use the American sounding name of "Edward Dein" on his films that were released in Italy and Europe. This was to make the European audience think the production was from the United States. This technique was prominent in the 1960's "Spaghetti Westerns".

The initial English language screenplay was written by Richard Matheson and William F. Leicester. Leicester was both an American television actor and television Detective and Western script writer. This was his only motion picture.

When the film was about to be released and appeared to have some changes from his original screenplay. Richard Matheson removed his actual name from the credits and had the pen name of of "Logan Swanson" substituted. This was probably the work of Leicester at Lippert's direction.

The Italian version, which had some changes beyond translating the English language screenplay to Italian. Had been written by Ragona, but using the name Ubaldo B. Ragona. I have never seen it, but it is possible there might have been added, or deleted scenes and some nudity. However, the cast headed by Vincent Price remained the same in both film versions.

The Four Main Roles:

Vincent Price portrayed "Dr. Robert Morgan". Price had just been seen with Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone in 1963's "The Comedy of Terrors" written by Richard Matheson and directed by Jacques Tourneur. Who had directed Val Lewton's 1942 "Cat People" and 1943's "I Walked with a Zombie". In 1957 Tourneur directed "Night of the Demon" aka: "Curse of the Demon". Vincent Price's next feature film would be Roger Corman's "The Masque of the Red Death".

Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth (1964)

Franca Bettola portrayed "Ruth Collins". Bettola would have only 23 films to her credit between 1955 and 1993. All the motion pictures were made in Italy and with the exception of this picture shot in Italian. One other of her films is worth mentioning here and that is 1961's "Orazi e Curiazi (Horatii and Curiatti)". When the motion picture was dubbed into English, as 1964's "Duel of Champions", the story set in the 5th Century had the name "Horatii" changed to "Horatio". The film actually starred Alan Ladd in that role. While the role of the "King of Rome" was portrayed by actor Robert Keith the father of actor Brian Keith.

Franca Bettoia in The Last Man on Earth (1964)

Above Franca Bettola as "Ruth Collins". America actress and voice dubber Carolyn De Fonrsca, based in Rome, was Bettola's voice for the English language version. The only role that English dubbing was required as the actress only spoke Italian.

Emma Danieli portrayed "Virginia Morgan". The Italian actress who would have only 16 roles to her film credit.

Vincent Price and Emma Danieli in The Last Man on Earth (1964)

Above Price and Emma Danieli as his wife "Virginia".

Giacomo Rossi Stuart portrayed "Ben Cortman". Rossi Stuart had played "Sergeant Rousseau" in the Buster Crabbe 1956 television series "Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion". For that American production Giacomo Rossi Stuart was billed as "Jack Ross". In 1959 he was in the Italian monster movie "Caltiki, the Immortal Monster", but billed in both the Italian and English language version as "G.R. Stuart". In 1962 he was "Ishmael" in director Robert Aldrich's "The Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah" starring Stewart Granger as "Lot".

Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth (1964)

Above Giaomo Rossi Stuart and Vincent Price.|

The look of the film was by director of cinematography Franco Delli Colli. The use of black and white instead of color was also a perfect choice for the picture. It adds to the mood with the heavy use of shadows and contrast. When I first saw the picture upon its release. The photography reminded me very much of Mario Bava's 1960 "La Maschera Del Demonio (The Mask of Satan)" aka: "Black Sunday" and Bava's own moody black and white cinematography for that picture.

An Overview of the Screenplay:

The year is 1968 and "Dr. Robert Morgan" wakes up to the same routine. He gathers his weapons and goes out haunting vampires. A pandemic virus has turned the World's human's into vampiric type creatures. That like those of legend, can not move in sunlight, are afraid to look at themselves in mirrors and are repelled by garlic. "Dr. Robert Morgan" does his endless daily routine to stay alive, because he's the only human left and by night he is stalked by what were once his friends and neighbors.







At night "Dr. Morgan" locks himself in his house and he reflects upon his loneliness in this new world.



The movie flashbacks to how all this came about. In it we see "Dr, Morgan", his wife and daughter and his friend "Ben Cortman". "Ben" is like an "Uncle" to "Morgan's" daughter.

Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth (1964)

Then plague starts to spread throughout Europe. "Morgan", "Cortman" and other researchers at the "International Science Institute" are attempting to find a cure for the unknown virus, but they must first determine how it works.





"Robert" and "Virginia's" daughter contracts the disease and dies. This hits both parents hard and "Virginia" especially. The two take their her body to the "burn pit" for cremation as ordered by the authorities to stop the plague's spread. Shortly afterwards, "Virginia Morgan" starts to develop symptoms and "Robert" injects her with an experimental formula that doesn't work.




When his wife dies, in his grief "Dr. Morgan" doesn't take her to the "Burn Pit", but buries "Virginia" on their property without notifying the authorities. Later, she comes back as a vampire.





"Virginia" attempts to kill her husband and he will destroy his wife by using a wooden stake through her heart. The disease spreads and "Dr. Robert Morgan" comes to the conclusion that he is immune to the plague. "Robert" surmises that when he was in Panama and was bitten by a vampire bat. That the bat carried the plague in an earlier form and it caused his immunity.



Returning to the present "Dr. Morgan" is out haunting the vampires whose leader is "Ben Cortman". "Ben" and his followers torment "Robert" at night, but he is safe in his home that is now renovated into a fortress.



Giacomo Rossi Stuart in The Last Man on Earth (1964)

"Robert Morgan" has a ham radio set and many a night and day has called out. Hoping that someone, somewhere, will respond proving he is not "The Last Man on Earth".






A dog appears in the neighborhood and "Morgan" follows it, but it runs away. The next day it appears on his door step and he takes it in. Finally, he has companionship for his loneliness, but the dog has the plague and dies. "Morgan" will bury the dog with a stake through its heart.

Later that day "Robert Morgan" sees a women walking alone. She in turn sees him and starts to run away.





"Dr.Morgan" catches up with the women named "Ruth" and convinces her to come to his home. She is reluctant at first, but then accepts. "Morgan" is a little bit concerned about how she suddenly appeared after three years of his own loneliness.

At his home "Morgan" waves some garlic in "Ruth's" face and she winces, but claims she just has a weak stomach. She also appears to be able to look at herself in a mirror.



"Robert's" belief that "Ruth" is actually infected is confirmed. When he sees her injecting a combination of blood and some vaccine to hold the infection from completely taking over the body. "Ruth" reveals that the combination helps people function normally until it starts to wear off and another injection is required. "Ruth" explains that "Her People" are forming a new "Human Society" and plan to kill all the vampires.

The Last Man on Earth (1964)

While "Ruth" sleeps, "Robert" transfuses his blood with her. When "Ruth" awakes it is discovered that she is cured of the infection and "Dr. Morgan" has confirmed his theory that his blood is the cure.

However, suddenly "Ruth's People" attack his house killing the vampires outside and entering it. In panic "Morgan" takes a rifle and flees, before the others can completely react.

Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth (1964)

"Robert" goes into a police station and takes some tear gas grenades and a launcher. His pursuers have gotten within rifle range and start shooting at him. "Dr. Morgan" launches several of the tear gas grenades and making his get away see a church and enters it. However, he is now cornered.  As "Robert" has been wounded and weakened and "Ruth's People" enter the church and confront him. "Ruth" pleads to let him live, but the others, apparently afraid of him, won't listen to her.



Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth (1964)

A spear is thrown at "Robert" and he is staked to the altar by it, but before he dies. "Dr. Robert Morgan" tells this "New Society" that they are nothing less than "Freaks" and that he is:
The Last TRUE Man on Earth!
As "Ruth" starts to leave the church a baby is crying. She goes to it, picks the child up, and tells the baby not worry as everyone is safe. Implying that her "Cured Blood" through transfusions will help it and the rest of the human race.

Vincent Price is several interviews said this was one of his favorite roles.

THE OMEGA MAN released August 1, 1971



Note the reference not to Richard Matheson's novel, but the 1964 motion picture on the above posters tag lines.

Boris Sagal was the motion picture's directer and he has 239 individual directing credits to his name. However, only 9 are feature films and the other 230 are television programs.

The on screen credits mention that the picture is based upon the Richard Matheson novel "I Am Legend", but Matheson had nothing directly to do with the production.

The screenplay was by John William Corrington using the name "John William" and Joyce Hooper Corrington, his wife. Together John and Joyce wrote the screenplays for producer Roger Corman's 1971 "Von Richthofen and Brown" and his 1972 "Boxcar Bertha". The team also wrote the screenplay for 1973's "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" and 1974's "Arena". Otherwise the two primarily wrote television scripts.

The Three Main Roles:

Charlton Heston portrayed the now just "U.S. Army Colonel Robert Neville M.D.".  The year before this release Heston was in three motion pictures. These started with the sequel to his original 1968 "Planet of the Apes". In "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" Heston has a cameo role as "Taylor". This was followed by playing "Marc Anthony" in a British production of William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" and  the sequel to author James A. Michener's 1966 movie Hawaii", "The Hawaiians". Both had been based upon Michener's best selling 1959 novel "Hawaii".




Anthony Zerbe portrayed "Jonathan Matthias". Zerbe was mostly a television heavy playing hard cases, or just plain villainous characters. Although he had been seen in the Paul Newman 1967 "Cool Hand Luke", Charlton Heston's 1967 Western "Will Penny" and Sidney Poitier's 1970 "They Call Me Mister Tibbs!".




Rosalind Cash portrayed the now "Lisa". This was only her second film role and her first was the Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland 1971 "Klute". She would play alien "John Emdall" in 1984's "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension". Basically Cash was either a legitimate stage actress, or television actress.

Rosalind Cash in The Omega Man (1971)


Overview of the Screenplay:

Let me start with the main difference between this picture, the novel and the 1964 film. The earlier motion picture, as mentioned, holds to Richard Matheson's novel that there was a viral pandemic of unknown origin that turned the survivors into vampire like creatures. While this screenplay uses biological warfare as causing an actual plague.

The 1971 motion picture starts out in March 1975 with a Sino-Soviet conflict expanding and bringing in the United States and Army Colonel "Neville". American missiles intercept and destroy incoming enemy missiles, from which country is not clearly identified, but as a result the biological weapon within them spreads in the wind. "Dr. Neville" injects himself with an experimental vaccine he had been working on and as the plague spreads. U.S. Army Colonel "Robert Neville" finds himself immune to it.

Switch forward to August 1977, as "Neville" roams the streets of Los Angeles during the daylight hours.



"Robert Neville" hunts and destroys a cult of nocturnal albino mutants calling themselves "The Family". They are not vampiric as in either novel, or the 1964 motion picture, and can go into limited sunlight wearing sun glasses.



By night "Robert Neville" lives in a fortified apartment at the top of a high rise apartment building in downtown Los Angeles.





Above and below "Neville" plays chess with himself.



Below "Neville" takes pot shots at members of the family.



One day as he searches for new clothing in a department store. He spots what he thinks is a living human women, but she runs away and "Neville", in the end, believes it was a hallucination from his loneliness.



Can you spot Rosalind Cash, if so, you have eyesight as good as "Doctor Neville".

On another day "Neville" is captured by the mutants led by one time news anchor man "Jonathan Matthias".

Anthony Zerbe in The Omega Man (1971)

Above "Matthais" back in 1975.

"Robert Neville" becomes the subject of a summary trial and is found guilty of heresy. He is sentenced to be burned alive at a stake in "Dodger Stadium".



Anthony Zerbe and Lincoln Kilpatrick in The Omega Man (1971)

Above the Judges "Zachary", played by Lincoln Kilpatrick, and Anthony Zerbe. Below Kilpatrick.





Suddenly, "Lisa", the women "Neville" saw and a man named "Dutch", played by Paul Koslo, appear and rescue him from the mutants. Below Koslo as "Dutch".

Paul Koslo in The Omega Man (1971)

"Neville" tells former Medical Student "Dutch" that he believes it would take years to recreate the serum that has kept him alive and human. However, they could possibly create something from his own blood to extend the immunity of others.

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Charlton Heston in The Omega Man (1971)

"Robert" and "Lisa" return to his apartment to attempt to treat her brother "Richie", played by Eric Laneuville.







"Neville" and "Lisa" are about to finally have a romantic evening together, but suddenly all the lights go out and the generator has stopped.



"The Family" are attacking and "Matthias" sends his second in command "Zachary" to climb the apartment house. While "Neville" leaves "Lisa" in what he believes is the safety of his apartment and goes to the basement to restart the generator.

When he returns, he finds "Zachary" standing behind "Lisa". "Zachary" had entered through the open window and now goes back out it with bullets in his chest from "Neville's" rifle and falls to his death. Not being the "vampires" of Matheson's novel. These mutants can be killed by normal weapons.



A serum is being made from "Neville's" blood and other survivors are now meeting with him,




Once cured, "Richie" reveals the location of the mutant's actual headquarters to "Neville". However, the boy insists that "The Family" are humans also and should be cured. "Robert Neville" believes otherwise, but "Richie" goes to "The Family" to try and convince them to take the newly created serum. Instead of believing the boy and the idea that "Neville" would help him. "Matthias" orders "Richie" executed. Finding a note left by "Lisa's" brother, "Neville" rushes to the mutant's headquarters and finds the boys body.

While this is unfolding "Lisa" finally is taken over by the plague and becomes a member of "The Family'.



She has betrayed "Neville" and given "Matthias" and his followers access to "Robert Neville's" home and they await his return.

"Matthias" captures "U.S. Army Colonel Robert Neville, M.D." and forces him to watch the mutants destroy his medical equipment and burn the apartment. "Neville" is able to breaks free and grabbing a weapon and "Lisa" gets out of the building.





"Neville" then shoots at "Matthais". Who is standing on the apartment house balcony, but the gun jams and the mutant leader throws a spear, that had belonged to "Zachary", and mortally wounds "Neville"..

The next morning "Dutch" with a weakened "Lisa" finds a dying "Robert Neville" in a fountain.



"Neville" hands "Dutch" a flask of the "blood serum" he perfected and dies. "Dutch", "Lisa" and the other survivors now leave Los Angeles forever.

Charlton Heston in The Omega Man (1971)



I AM LEGEND premiered December 5, 2007 in Tokyo, Japan


Will Smith in I Am Legend (2007)

Once again the publicity department incorporated the title of the 1964 motion picture on the poster.

The motion picture was directed by Francis Lawrence. He was born in Vienna, Austria and between 1996 and the 2005 Keanu Reeves feature film "Constantine". Lawrence only directed music video shorts for major artists. Then back for three more music videos and then this feature film.       

The screenplay credits are interesting. They do mention its based upon the Richard Matheson novel of the title, but additionally give more credit to the John and Joyce Corrington screenplay for 1971's "The Omega Man".
Then this picture's screenplay was written by two others. They are Mark Protosevich, who wrote the animated short "I Am Legend: Awakening". Which was based upon the second of four comic books that takes place in the same Universe as the motion picture. The movie screenplay was his 4th out of  only 8 he wrote.

The other writer was Akiva Goldsman. This was his 12th out of Goldsman 25 screenplays. Which included 1995's "Batman Forever", 1997's "Batman and Robin", 1998's "Lost in Space", 2004's "I, Robot" and 2006's "The Da Vinci Code".

The Three Main Roles:

Will Smith portrayed "U.S. Army Virologist Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville, M.D.". By this time "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" had appeared in 14 feature films from small roles to star. The previous year he appeared in the forgotten feature film "The Pursuit of Happyness" with his son Jaden Smith. He would follow this film, in 2008, with the also pretty much forgotten "Hancock" co-starring with Charlize Theron.



Alice Braga portrayed "Anna Montez". Her full name is Alice Braga Moraes and she is a Brazilian actress. Currently Braga is portraying "Teresa Mendoza", the drug lord in the hard hitting television series "Queen of the South".



Charlie Tahan portrayed "Ethan". This picture was the, then, young actors 4th role. For fans of television's revisionist "Batman" series "Gotham". You know Tahan for portraying "Jonathan Crane" aka: "The Scarecrow".




The Overview of the Screenplay:

The year is 2009 and "Dr. Alice Krippen" portrayed, without on screen credit, by Emma Thompson, creates a cure for cancer, BUT this genetically re-engineered measles drug turns lethal as a virus. It will kill 90 percent of the Earth's population.

Now the "I Am Legand" screenplay picks up a little of the Matheson novel, or the 1964 motion picture, and adds it to it a variation of the 1971 film. As the virus turns 9.8 percent of the Earth's population into vampiric cannibalistic mutants. The remaining 0.2 percent of the population are immune to the virus and have become the prey of the mutated cannibal vampires known as "Darkseekers".  Leaving one to wonder why the advertising makes reference to the 1964 motion picture title "The Last Man on Earth". Other than the immune "Robert Neville". Are all the other immune human's only women?

Skip forward to the year 2012.

"Neville" now lives in the deserted ruins of Manhattan and wonders if there are other immune humans?



"Robert Neville" makes daily radio recordings asking any immune humans to meet him at the South Street Seaport. He walks the streets with his German Shepherd "Samantha", he calls "Sam", and regularly talks to a group of mannequins to keep his sanity,

There is a flashback showing what happened to "Neville" and his family.



Above "Robert Neville", his daughter "Marley", played by Will Smith's daughter Willow, and "Robert's" wife "Zoe", played by Sali Richardson. "Neville's" wife and daughter will not be killed by the virus, but a helicopter crash during the evacuation of Manhattan as the Army imposes a quarantine.

At night the man who was once "Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville, M.D." barricades himself in his Washington Square apartment from the "Darkseekers".

One day, "Robert Neville" sees a deer on the streets of Manhattan and watches it enter a store. He and "Sam" follow and are attacked by "Darkseekers". Who go outside the store and are killed by the being exposed to sunlight.



"Neville" believes he's found a promising treatment for the virus that is derived from his own blood. He sets a trap to catch a lone "Darkseeker". It works and he captures a female, but the "Alpha Male", portrayed by Dash Mihok, mainly a television actor, attempts to stop him, but is himself stopped by the sunlight.





The captured female is the "Alpha Female", portrayed by Joanna Numata in one of only her four roles. "Dr. Neville's" initial treatment is unsuccessful, but she is kept a prisoner in his lab.



The next day "Neville" finds one of his mannequins he named "Fred" outside of the store it should be in. As he approaches "Fred", "Neville" realizes that the "Darkseekers" are watching his every move from other buildings and they attack him inside the store. However, he is able to escape their trap, but on their way back to the apartment. The "Robert" and "Sam" are attacked by infected dogs and after defeating them. He discovers that "Sam" had been bitten.



Back at his lab "Neville" injects "Sam" with the serum, but she starts to show signs of infection and he is forced to choke her to death before "Samantha" turns.

Furious over the death of "Sam". "Robert Neville" goes out in a rage and attacks a group of "Darkseekers" and it looks like he will be killed, but "Robert" is rescued by a women and a young boy who are also immune to the virus.

Will Smith, Alice Braga, and Charlie Tahan in I Am Legend (2007)

 Above "Anna" and "Ethan" in "Robert Neville's" fortified apartment. "Anna" explains she spent days on board a hospital ship in Philadelphia. Later those on board were either immune, or became infected. She and "Ethan" have been walking ever since. The two are making their way to a survivors camp in Bethel, Vermont. However, "Neville" denies that such a camp even exists.

"Neville" now adjusts his potential cure and injects the "Alpha Female". A group of "Darkseekers" attack his apartment after having followed "Neville" and "Anna" the previous night.



"Neville" discovers that he has cured the "Alpha Female" as the "Darkseekers" attempt to break into the building through the windows. He draws a large vial of her blood and gives it to "Anna". Then seals "Anna" and "Ethan" in a coal chute at the back of the lab.

"Neville" next takes a hand grenade and kills the "Darkseekers" at the cost of his life, but knowing the cure is with "Anna" and "Ethan".The next day the two arrive at the survivors camp and give the cure to the Military Doctors.

The film ends with her narrating that thanks to "Dr. Robert Neville" humanity was saved and he became a legend to all mankind.
The Directors Cut Happy Ending

The "Director's Cut" version is exactly as I related except the ending. The "Darkseekers" break into the apartment and the "Alpha Male" confronts "Robert Neville". However, "Neville" notices a butterfly tattoo on the male as they stare each other down and the "Alpha Male" actually crying. He then realizes that the female has the same tattoo and that they are husband and wife. He puts his gun down, apologizes, and releases the "Alpha Female". In turn the "Alpha Male" tells the others to leave and with his wife exit the apartment.



Afterwards, "Robert Neville" is reviewing his photos of his test subjects. It comes to him that he is the "Bogyman" of the mutant's dreams by his experimentation on them.

The film ends with "Robert", "Anna" and "Ethan" arriving at the survivors camp.


Richard Matheson considered the 1964 version of his novel the best adaptation. Even though he removed his name from the picture prior to its release. I'm old fashion and agree that Vincent Price's character seemed the most real and I am a softy for black and white well done Science Fiction and Horror motion pictures.



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