The Omega Man

The Omega Man (1971)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Charlton Heston, Rosalind Cash, Eric Laneuville, Paul Koslo
Extras: Introduction, Featurette, Essay, Trailer

Science Fiction films of the 70s were a very different breed than what we see today. Most of them were not creature features or space operas but films that took a close look at society and painted a picture of what our world could look like in the future – a very bleak look in most cases. ’The Omega Man’ once again paints a picture of a world in which mankind has been wiped out from the face of the Earth by a plague and only a few survivors remain. Mutated these remaining humans are sensitive to light and have created a culture in which they destroy every remnant of the industrial revolution and their past. Only one man has been unaffected by the plague, and he too, tries to clean the Earth, but from the mutated, misshapen figures that linger in the night.

’The Omega Man’ is presented in a good-looking anamorphic widescreen transfer. There is a bit of grain visible, but the transfer is generally clean and free of defect or blemishes. The bleak color palette of the production is nicely reproduced with faithful colors and natural looking flesh tones. Blacks are generally good, with good shadow definition.

The DVD contains the movie’s original mono audio track alongside a French dub. The audio sounds a bit dated with a limited frequency response and occasional distortion. It has been cleaned up however and no hiss or background noise is evident. Dialogues are a bit harsh-sounding but overall it is a pleasing presentation nonetheless.

Also on the DVD is a new introduction by some of the film’s stars and the screenwriter. ’The Last Man Alive’ is the original promo featurette from 1971, which help promote the film during its theatrical release. It features some on-set footage with an ever-mysterious sounding narrator. Great, vintage stuff! The movie’s theatrical trailer, a text essay about Charlton Heston’s career in science fiction films, and a cast listing rounds out the release.

The Omega Man is a slow movie but it is nonetheless gripping and highly entertaining. The DVD that Warner prepared is solid, so fans of classic down-to-Earth science fiction should definitely give it a shot.