Spectacle | 124 South 3rd Street
LAST WOMAN ON EARTH
Dir. Roger Corman, 1961.
USA/Puerto Rico. 75 min.
The first and bigger of Corman’s Puerto Rican thrillers, Last Woman on Earth is shot in widescreen color (advertised on the poster as “Vistascope”) and makes beautiful use of the Caribbean scenery. Anthony Carbone plays a wealthy industrialist on vacation with his wife in Puerto Rico—and as a workaholic, he brings along his young attorney (screenwriter Robert Towne, billed as “Edward Wain”) to discuss business matters. After scuba diving, the trio emerge to discover that apparently all oxygen had vanished, and and few people are left alive. While facing an uncertain future, new personal dynamics begin to develop among the three.
LAST WOMAN ON EARTH is a pithy doomsday thriller in the mold of THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL that doubles as a bourgeois critique. (For an auteurist reading, one can’t help but speculate about Corman’s own workaholic tendencies and estrangement from Hollywood’s monied elite.) One of the oddest pleasures of the film is Robert Towne’s frankly kind of bad performance as the young lawyer: according to Corman’s autobiography, he had taken so long, by Corman’s standards, to finish the script that the only way Corman could afford to fly him out to finish the script was to hire him as the co-lead. (Take a moment to let the logic of that settle in.) Nevertheless, he gets an A for effort.
Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:30 PM