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The Omega Man vs I Am Legend

  • Date Submitted: 01/21/2015 04:53 AM
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Films and their Production Contexts

Boris Sagal’s ‘The Omega Man’ and ‘I Am Legend’ directed by Francis Lawrence are science fiction films based on the 1954 horror fiction novel ‘I Am Legend’ by Richard Matheson about a worldwide apocalypse, due to disease, where one man believes he is the only survivor. As with most films based on books, the story has been changed and adapted for screenplay and the audience of the time, but also characters and the way they are represented are changed, this is often influenced by politics and social attitudes.

The Omega Man

Set in 1977, two years after biological warfare between China and Russia kills most of the world’s population, The Omega Man directed by Boris Sagal takes place in deserted Los Angeles and stars the ‘one and only’ Charlton Heston as the protagonist, Robert Neville.

Heston was a very popular actor at the time and he had starred in historical and biblical epics such as The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, which he won the Best Actor academy award for. These starring roles gave Heston an authoritative persona and embodied responsibility, individualism and masculinity. This persona combined with his tall, chiseled appearance and the fact that he served in the US Air Force made him an embodiment of perfection, therefore he was very popular especially amongst women at the time. His masculine image was perfect for the heroic ‘last man on earth’ role and the producers knew that the casting of Heston as the lead in The Omega Man was sure to drive up the film’s sales.

The evil in The Omega Man go by the name of ‘The Family’. They are survivors of the infection that have ‘turned’ into albinos with white hair that despise technology as technology in the form of germ warfare is what caused them to become as they are. Jonathan Matthias, the leader of The Family was a news reporter before the plague, this is shown through a flashback. This shows that a seemingly normal person could turn into a dark, evil...


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