I think everyone has heard the phrase “not if you were the last man/woman on Earth”, whether it was in a movie, a TV show, or at a bar. Usually people use it as a way to discourage the unwanted advances of someone from the opposite sex. Leave it to Roger Corman to use that saying as the basis for a sci-fi film. Actually, I have no idea if that was his thought process but it is funny to think so. So here is today’s movie, Last Woman On Earth.
The plot: Businessman Harold Gern is vacationing in Puerto Rico with his wife, Evelyn, when he is approached by his lawyer, Martin Joyce, who reminds Harold of the latest charges that are brought against him. While Harold places a bet on a cock fight, Martin and Evelyn introduce themselves to each other. Later, Martin tries to talk to Harold about the impending trial but Harold is too busy playing craps and sends Martin up to his room to get the briefs. Martin arrives at Harold’s room, where Evelyn flirts with him for a bit before she lets him get the briefs. Evelyn heads down and finds Harold at the hotel bar, where they argue about their marriage with Harold promising to take Evelyn out on a cruise in the morning. The next morning, Harold and Evelyn, with Martin coming along, go out on a boat and use some scuba gear to go swimming. When Evelyn accidentally nicks Martin with her spear-gun, the trio surfaces but discover they are having trouble breathing. They put their breathing gear back on and swim back to the boat, where they discover the captain has died from asphyxiation. Unable to get the boat started, they grab the spare scuba tanks and use the life boat to head back to shore. Deciding it would be faster to get to town by cutting through the jungle, their tanks run out but they discover that they can breathe due to the plants producing oxygen. They head into town but find everybody is dead and they are unable to raise anyone by telephone or radio, leading them to believe that they are the only people alive on the island, possibly the world. Grabbing some supplies and their luggage from the hotel, they head to a house in the jungle that Harold’s friend owns to spend the night. The next day, Harold decides to take charge and have them become self-sufficient, learning how to fish and provide for themselves. Noticing an ant walking around outside, Harold also proposes moving north eventually to avoid a future insect problem. After some time, Harold begins to get suspicious about Martin and Evelyn and talks about it with Martin, which Martin responds that his marriage license means about as much as Harold’s money. When Harold goes fishing one day, Martin uses the opportunity to get closer to Evelyn and she ends up responding to his advances. When Harold catches Martin comforting Evelyn, he has Martin accompany him to fish and the two end up arguing and fighting, with Harold beating Martin and telling him to leave. Evelyn argues with Harold about forcing Martin to leave then goes to see Martin, where she asks if he wants company and he agrees. Harold watches Martin get ready to leave but as he goes to walk back inside, Martin takes the keys from the truck, then gets back in the car and drives off, stopping to pick up Evelyn. Martin and Evelyn head to the coast but end up wrecking the car and are forced to walk to the harbor. Martin has Evelyn wait in the church while he goes to see if the boat is ok, but he runs into Harold, who points a rifle at him. The two end up fighting again when Martin refuses to tell Harold where Evelyn is. The men end up diving into the water and swimming to the far shore, but as they head back up towards the town, they continue to fight. Martin eventually makes it to the church, but the repeated injuries to the head result in him losing his sight before he ends up dying from the injuries. Harold and Evelyn are left to figure out where they go from there.
Honestly, I like this movie and feel like it might be one of Corman’s more underrated classics. The acting is pretty good between the three actors and they each play different roles; with Antony Carbone (Harold) trying to keep the old order, Robert Towne (Martin) being more pessimistic about their chances, and Betsy Jones-Moreland (Evelyn) getting caught in the middle. The story was pretty good, though it did have some plot holes and unanswered question, such as what happened and how could they move through the town without dying. A decent movie that is worth watching.
Rating: 3 out of 5