Updated: Fri, 07 Jun 2013 21:30:00 GMT | By Norman Wilner
The last men on Earth

The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959)

The World, the Flesh and the Devil 1959 (© Rex Features)
  • Oblivion (© Universal Studios)
  • The World, the Flesh and the Devil 1959 (© Rex Features)
  • Last Woman on Earth 1960 (© Rex Features)
  • The Last Man on Earth 1964 (© Rex Features)
  • The Omega Man 1971 (© Rex Features)
  • Night of the Comet 1984 (© Getty Images)
  • Day of the Dead 1985 (© Getty Images)
  • I am Legend 2007 (© Rex Images)
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Ranald MacDougall’s Cold War drama stars Harry Belafonte as a Pennsylvania miner trapped underground by a cave-in while the world above him is wiped out by a nuclear exchange – using a radiological weapon that loses its potency almost immediately, which is handy for keeping the story going. Emerging into a deserted world and making his way to Manhattan, our hero discovers the last woman on earth (Inger Stevens), only to have their brief possibility of happiness punctured by the arrival of another survivor (Mel Ferrer). Taboos of the era prevent the movie from really digging into the issues of an interracial future, but the movie’s smart enough to imply the hell out of that theme just the same.