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HISTORY

Referring to the film as I Am Legend, the 18 Sep 1959 DV announced that Associated Producers, Inc. (API), a low-budget, independent production unit of Twentieth Century-Fox, headed by producer Robert L. Lippert, would produce the picture. The film, later renamed The Last Man on Earth, was based on Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel, I Am Legend.
       The 16 Nov 1959 DV reported that Fox was renewing its contract with API for 1960, which would include the production of fourteen pictures to be made within nine months, with an average budget of $300,000 per film. I Am Legend was listed as among those productions. At that time, discussions were underway to determine if the pictures would bear Fox branding or be released under the API banner.
       Nearly three years later, the 2 Aug 1962 LAT indicated that Lippert had personally acquired screen rights to Matheson’s novel. The 21 Aug 1962 DV stated his plans to produce the picture in Rome, Italy, using an American and European cast. The 12 Sep 1962 DV noted that Marcel Gris had been cast, but he did not remain with the picture.
       Modern sources indicated that Richard Matheson co-wrote the screenplay, but he was reportedly displeased with the picture and requested that he be credited under the pseudonym “Logan Swanson.”
       On 30 Jan 1963, Var announced that lead actor Vincent Price had arrived in Rome to begin production. Referring to the picture as The Last Man on Earth, the 8 Feb 1963 LAT indicated that principal photography was underway.
       According to ... More Less

Referring to the film as I Am Legend, the 18 Sep 1959 DV announced that Associated Producers, Inc. (API), a low-budget, independent production unit of Twentieth Century-Fox, headed by producer Robert L. Lippert, would produce the picture. The film, later renamed The Last Man on Earth, was based on Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel, I Am Legend.
       The 16 Nov 1959 DV reported that Fox was renewing its contract with API for 1960, which would include the production of fourteen pictures to be made within nine months, with an average budget of $300,000 per film. I Am Legend was listed as among those productions. At that time, discussions were underway to determine if the pictures would bear Fox branding or be released under the API banner.
       Nearly three years later, the 2 Aug 1962 LAT indicated that Lippert had personally acquired screen rights to Matheson’s novel. The 21 Aug 1962 DV stated his plans to produce the picture in Rome, Italy, using an American and European cast. The 12 Sep 1962 DV noted that Marcel Gris had been cast, but he did not remain with the picture.
       Modern sources indicated that Richard Matheson co-wrote the screenplay, but he was reportedly displeased with the picture and requested that he be credited under the pseudonym “Logan Swanson.”
       On 30 Jan 1963, Var announced that lead actor Vincent Price had arrived in Rome to begin production. Referring to the picture as The Last Man on Earth, the 8 Feb 1963 LAT indicated that principal photography was underway.
       According to the 5 Dec 1963 DV, the film would be distributed by American International Pictures in 1964.
       Five months later, the 1 May 1964 LAT reported a release date in Los Angeles, CA, on 6 May 1964 at twenty area theaters and drive-ins, billed as a double feature with the 1960 UK release, Circus of Horrors. The 6 May 1964 Var indicated that The Last Man on Earth had been released the previous week in Denver, CO, where it played with the British film, Unearthly Stranger (1963). First week totals for the double feature were estimated at $8,500.
       The New York City opening was held on 2 Sep 1964 at the Palace Theatre and several others, where it was billed along with I’d Rather Be Rich, starring Sandra Dee (1964, see entry), according to the 3 Sep 1964 NYT review.
       On 23 Jan 1970, DV reported that screen rights for I Am Legend had reverted from AIP back to Robert L. Lippert, and he was currently receiving bids for the source material. Warner Bros., Inc. optioned the property from Lippert, and remade the picture as The Omega Man in 1971, starring Charlton Heston (see entry). The novel was remade again in 2007 as I Am Legend, starring Will Smith (see entry). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
18 Sep 1959
pp. 1-2.
Daily Variety
16 Nov 1959
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
21 Aug 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
12 Sep 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
5 Dec 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
8 Sep 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 Jan 1970
p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
2 Aug 1962
Section C, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
8 Feb 1963
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
1 May 1964
Section C, p. 19.
Los Angeles Times
9 May 1964
Section A, p. 8.
New York Times
3 Sep 1964
p. 24.
Variety
30 Jan 1963
p. 69.
Variety
6 May 1964
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir italian version
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Asst prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (New York, 1954).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
I Am Legend
Release Date:
6 May 1964
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 6 May 1964
New York opening: 2 September 1964
Production Date:
began early 1963
Physical Properties:
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
86
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

A strange plague hits the earth and turns the survivors into vampires, with the exception of Robert Morgan, a scientist who many years before contracted a fever that made him immune to the plague. Morgan's daily routine is to clear the streets of dead bodies and to seek out the vampires, who sleep by day, and drive stakes through their hearts. At night he wards off the roaming vampires with mirrors and garlic. One day he meets Ruth, a young woman who is apparently also immune, but he learns that she is one of a group of vampires who possess a serum that provides them with temporary relief from their vampirism. Morgan returns Ruth to normal by giving her a transfusion of his own blood. She informs him that members of her group are coming to destroy him, and, although he warns them that he is their only hope for a return to normalcy, they kill ... +


A strange plague hits the earth and turns the survivors into vampires, with the exception of Robert Morgan, a scientist who many years before contracted a fever that made him immune to the plague. Morgan's daily routine is to clear the streets of dead bodies and to seek out the vampires, who sleep by day, and drive stakes through their hearts. At night he wards off the roaming vampires with mirrors and garlic. One day he meets Ruth, a young woman who is apparently also immune, but he learns that she is one of a group of vampires who possess a serum that provides them with temporary relief from their vampirism. Morgan returns Ruth to normal by giving her a transfusion of his own blood. She informs him that members of her group are coming to destroy him, and, although he warns them that he is their only hope for a return to normalcy, they kill him. +

GENRE


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.