The Square Colosseum in The Last Man on Earth (film still from The Last Man on Earth)

The Last Man on Earth (1964)

Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend has been filmed several times: most recently, there was the 2007 Will Smith movie. In 1971, it was filmed as The Omega Man, starring Charlton Heston. First, though, in 1964, it was filmed as The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price in the title role.

Although set in the USA, The Last Man on Earth was filmed in Rome (these being the days when Italy still had a thriving international film industry, and the legendary Cinecittà studios were used for something other than television commercials). As a result, the production was able to make use of Rome’s wide variety of architecture, from the crumbling buildings of the countryside to the wide roads and brutal angles of EUR, a district founded in 1935 by Mussolini and intended as a new Rome, a city designed according to fascist ideals.

In EUR stands the Square Colosseum, (Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana), which is partially visible in the scene above. It’s a central feature of EUR, less than thirty years old when the film was made, and yet already a relic of a disappeared ideology and a failed model for civilisation. Which is rather fitting.

There’s a better, more recent view of the Square Colosseum here. As this film is now in the Public Domain, you can watch it online or download it from the Internet Archive: The Last Man on Earth.

4 Responses to “The Square Colosseum in The Last Man on Earth”

  1. Quinn

    I am really digging this website. it’s interesting to know all these facts about certain shots and how a movie is produced. I am really hoping for more to come!

  2. Things in Movies

    Thanks, Quinn! It’s great to hear that you’re enjoying the site. There are new posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so stay tuned…

  3. A Rogue Apostrophe in The Last Man on Earth

    […] The Last Man on Earth features a lengthy flashback sequence, during which we find out a little more about the origins of the disease that has all but wiped out the human race. An immensely unconvincing newspaper is produced, on which the headline reads: PLAGUE CLAIMS HUNDREDS: is Europes’ disease carried on the wind? […]

  4. Curt Morgan

    This same building was used in the Hopkins/Lange pic “Titus” (1999). This film switched back and forth from modern to Roman times, with absolutely eye-popping effect.

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