As I’ve always heard, The Omega Man is far and away the worst adaptation of Richard Matheson‘s I Am Legend but after my recent Matheson film festival, I couldn’t resist checking it out.
The movie has the same basic concept of one true human (Charlton Heston here) surrounded by monsters but instead of Matheson’s vampires, they’re traditional post-apocalypse mutants (though as light-sensitive albino mutants they still shun the light). And the real threat is that they’re also fanatical Luddites led by Antony Zerbe, blaming technology for the world’s collapse and hating Heston as a reminder of the age of the machine. Which I think, makes the mutation pointless—human fanatics would have had just as much threat. And if the mutants aren’t inherently hostile, who cares if they mutate?
The other big problem is that while the abandoned LA of the opening looks very cool, Charlton Heston can’t pull off the one-man show this requires (I like Heston, but Vincent Price he ain’t), so everything bogs down until Rosalind Cash and a few other survivors show up (and even then it’s rather lacking in ooomph). Not recommended. “Tell me something, are you folks really with the Internal Revenue Service?”
In the intro to this edition of THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL John LeCarre chuckles about how the end of the Cold War had many people predicting he’d be washed up, when he’d already written multiple novels that didn’t depend on it. This one, for instance, focuses on a British actress whose half-baked radical sympathies make her a perfect mole the Mossad can use to penetrate a Palestinian terrorist network by fabricating a relationship between her and the brother of the network head. LeCarre does a good job presenting both sides as devious and ruthless in their covert battles, but not evil (which unsurprisingly got him criticized as too sympathetic to the Palestinians). The detailed look at his protagonist’s mindset as she moves through different roles in “the theater of the real” bogged this down a little for me, but leCarré ultimately carries it off.