Last Woman on Earth (1960)

LastWomanOnEarthPosterIt probably shouldn’t come as any surprise to us that the last woman on Earth turns out to be a two-timing hussy, but who could have predicted that the last two men on Earth would end up beating each other up with fish? Truly, this is a world gone mad.

Unfortunately, this world gone mad was made possible because producer/director Roger Corman and his cast and crew were down in Puerto Rico filming Creature From The Haunted Sea and decided that while they were there they could shoot three people lollygagging on a beach and call it an end of the world thriller.

The results are as horrific as you would expect with the end of the world basically being two guys bickering over a woman while only periodically wondering what they’re going to do about this whole apocalypse situation.

Harold Gern is down in Puerto Rico with his wife, apparently avoiding this pesky indictment that’s just been handed down on him for some shady business dealings. His young lawyer, Martin, is also down there to help him plot some strategy for the upcoming legal battle. They meet up at the local cockfights, where Martin and Mrs. Gern, the almost Eve-named Evelyn meet for the first time.

Harold is one of those loud, abrasive, in your face dirty business types who doesn’t really listen to his wife because he’s too busy looking at other broads or gambling at the craps table.

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Martin is more attentive and she flirts with him when he goes to their hotel room to pick up Harold’s briefs. He actually says that that’s what he’s there to do and that isn’t the only bit of silly and/or idiotic dialogue that this movie practically marinates in.

Screenwriter Robert Towne would go on to write Chinatown and The Last Detail, but very little of the skill in those scripts is evident in this one. Surprisingly, he manages to give the most ridiculous dialogue to himself since he’s the one playing Martin!

Towne’s story sees the three amigos go out on a scuba diving excursion the day after the big cockfights and somehow or other, Evelyn manages to shoot Martin with her spear gun while aiming at a manta ray. The wound is actually fairly minor and doesn’t play into the story at all, but that’s the kind of dopey event this already short movie is padded out with.

Upon surfacing to have a look at the wound, all three notice that they can’t breathe. Putting their oxygen masks back on, they make their way onto their boat and find the captain dead.

They also can’t get anything over the radio except the same annoying song. Based on this scanty information, I had it pegged as some sort of Soviet plot to drive us crazy with cheap background music.

Back on the island and with their oxygen almost gone, they discover that they can breathe again. None of them knows exactly what happened, but Martin posits that something must have sucked all the oxygen out of the atmosphere and now, an hour later, all the plants have put it back into the air.

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This explanation is obviously drenched in sphincter juice since Marty pulled it out of his ass. But like Marty also says, it doesn’t really matter how it happened, does it? Not really, if the rest of the movie was an interesting tale about these three fighting for survival instead of about these three fighting over who was going to bang who.

They move into a country villa a friend of Harold’s has. Then Evelyn and Martin proceed to be of absolutely no help while Harold is telling them that they need a plan for the future.

For Marty and Evelyn, that future involves engaging in the first case of adultery in this newly minted post-apocalyptic world!

Tensions are understandably running high on their dingy the next time Marty and Harold go out together to fish. An argument between them turns ugly (and probably quite smelly) when they start belting each other with the catch of the day.

Harold kicks Marty out of the house following this fracas, though why Marty would want to stay after all that wouldn’t make any sense anyway. Evelyn decides behind Harold’s back that she’s going to skip out with Marty and the next thing you know, she and Marty are speeding down the road in the convertible that Harold gave Marty to use.

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Despite Harold dramatically announcing that if Evelyn left him, he wouldn’t go after her, as soon as they’re out of sight he gets to work feverishly trying to hotwire the truck that was left behind.

Looking back on Marty and Evelyn’s plan, it might not have been the best decision to let the guy who got whacked in the eye with the rock during the previous fight and who is complaining that it feels like something is “rolling around behind my eye” to do the driving.

One wrecked convertible later, Marty leaves Evelyn hidden at a church and heads to a boat with Harold in hot pursuit. More brawling ensues and the human race ultimately ends up depopulated by one third.

A terribly minimalist effort that can’t even generate tension from the love triangle since all three people are folks you wouldn’t ever want to meet, let alone care what happens to. Harold’s a control freak, Evelyn’s a vapid slut and Marty’s a smart mouth punk.

Surely, a low budget doesn’t preclude developing a few characters that actually have a tad of humanity in them. At least then we’d be able to mourn what was lost when the world winked out. Instead, with these three, you’re thinking that the human race can’t be extinguished soon enough.

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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