One of the brilliant things about directors like Alfred Hitchcock is how their work evolves over time… and in this case, how his work in England differs from his work in Hollywood. The 39 Steps makes an outstanding example of earlier efforts informing later triumphs. This one follows one of the master’s standard scenarios — the innocent man wrongly accused — into a marvelous chase/romance that helped set the blueprint for subsequent classics like North by Northwest. It opened today in 1935.
Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend has gone though its ups and downs in the adaptation department. One of the better ones is The Omega Man, which takes a number of liberties from the source material, but counters with solid sci-fi concepts. Charlton Heston plays the only survivor of a plague that has wiped out the rest of humanity: doing battle with ghoulish survives in the middle of an abandoned Los Angeles. It opened today in 1971.