Saturday, December 21, 2013

Full Movie, The Last Man On Earth (1964)

In 1954, a little sci-fi novel was published, written by Richard Matheson. The novel was called, "I am Legend," for which a modern movie has also been made, starring Will Smith in the primary character/survivor role.

Well before the movie with Will Smith in it, "The Omega Man" was made (starring Charlton Heston, in 1971), based on the same written piece, but even before THAT movie, the novel was adapted for film as "The Last Man On Earth," about a decade after the book appeared in print.

The movie, The Last Man On Earth (1964): Enjoy!

Matheson helped write some of the screenplay for the movie but apparently was not truly pleased with how the piece was working out, so he requested to be listed under a pseudonym when the film was finished and released. Mind you, this tidbit comes to be from reading up on this film on Wikipedia and this "fact" isn't supported by any citation, so I'm putting it forward just as something to consider. (*Note: if anyone can find an interview where the write has actually stated that he didn't like the screenplay writings, please let me know and I'll post an update). Look for Matheson credited as "Logan Swanson" in the credits.

The Last Man On Earth (1964) Trailer

I know nowadays, we've got Rage Virus, T-Virus and World War Z Swarming Zombies to worry about. These are scary beyond belief and almost beyond our human and tech abilities to fight off, at least in our nightmares if not in real life - however...

I want to slow down the pace, focus on atmosphere and an old movie called, The Last Man On Earth from 1964, featuring Vincent Price as the last survivor left on Earth.

And I mean - THE OLD MOVIE, The Last Man On Earth because this story is so great, (originally an adaptation of Richard Matheson's Science Fiction book, "I am Legend") that many movies and other works have been spawned from this general unnerving apocalyptic tale.

The great things about this old tale on film are: Vincent Price (as Dr. Robert Morgan, scientist), camera panning, eerie old music, and the film makers managing to show a starkness of life and an atmosphere of emptiness for Price to wander around in.

Sorry special effects lovers and people who like to watch stuff BLOW UP and go "POW" and "Ga-BOOM," but this isn't going to happen when you're watching THIS old movie.

What should happen, if you're paying attention, however, is that you'll "get" the creepiness of solitude and start to worry about scientist, Robert Morgan's state of mind (Vincent Price). Maybe you'll start to imagine what YOU would do if you were in Dr. Morgan's situation - and in doing so - maybe you'll start to learn the limits of human existence and really understand how we are really fragile of mind, as humans, and absolutely require relationships and other human beings in order to exist with meaning and purpose in our lives.

Check out the trailer - it's a good, ten minute preview of what you'll get to see once I get the next post finished and am able to upload the whole movie (it's in the public domain).

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Chinese Whispers Game

You may not immediately recognize this game by it's title, The Chinese Whisper Game, however, most people have played a version of this game.

It starts with having several people in a circle or line and a sentence or idea composed of a few words is whispered (just once!) by the first person in the circle or line. Each person after repeats, in a whisper, the content heard by the person who whispered to them. The last person, having no-one to whisper the message to, announces, for all what he/she heard, what the statement is at the end of the circle/line. The last person's statement is compared to the first person's whisper and almost always, the sentence/idea is different between the first and last person. Often, when comparing the sentences/ideas, the difference is so great that the result is very funny and players of the game get a big chuckle out of participating in the game.

The video below shows an example of how The Chinese Whisper Game works:

I've mentioned this game on the Urban Legends, Folklore, Myths and Fairy Tales blog because the process and results of this game are very similar to how urban legends work, get passed around, get altered in the telling of tales. As well, Folklore, Myths and Fairy Tales can be changed in a sort of Chinese Whispers Game process.

For those who hear urban legends, particularly macabre and weird tales, and who wonder, "how can this story survive when it seems so unbelievable and ridiculous, so macabre and weird?": well the tales survive because people will pass on details, anyway, if they fit a sort of format. Tales are longer than phrases usually used in any Chinese Whisper Game, but people will pass tales, anyway in the urban legends, folklore, myths, and fairy tales formats because they heard the tale from someone else... weirdness, inconsistencies, obvious blunders can be re-told with the common story-telling statement "this is how I heard the tale."

Sometimes by leaving something spectacular, unbelievable, etc., in a tale, those passing the tale along do so with the intention of leaving a tale intact as it was heard by the tale-teller before... Humans have a need to try and preserve "what came before," and are interested in historical details, nostalgia, remembering, ancestors, etc. We like to be linked to the past as it makes us feel like we belong in the present - but "links to the past" is a whole study and article in itself, so I won't go into this concept further here... It's just helpful to know that stories change with the story tellers and cultures where the tales are being told.

Try this game with some friends and see what happens, how an original statement or phrase changes by being shared with 5-10 people!