Thursday, September 13, 2012

THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL (1959) movie review

World, the Flesh and the Devil, The (1959) d. MacDougall, Ranald

Harry Belafonte stars as a mine worker who, thanks to a freak cave-in, is spared the fate of an atomic holocaust that wipes out 99.9% of the world’s population. When he finally emerges, he sets up camp in Manhattan, avoiding madness through industry, but of course things get more complicated when he discovers comely 20-year-old Inger Stevens; even more so once lascivious sailor Mel Ferrer sails into port. Unfortunately, in spite of the effective use of deserted metropolitan locations, Harold J. Marzorati’s stark black and white cinematography, Miklos Rosza’s evocative music score and the trio’s capable performances, the film (based on M.P. Sheil’s novel) lacks a much-needed dramatic urgency while the melodramatic love triangle rings particularly pulpy. (Roger Corman and screenwriter Robert Towne cribbed the basic plotline for their 1960 quickie The Last Woman on Earth at a fraction of the price.)

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