Thursday, April 19, 2018

Soylent Green (1973)

Soylent Green (1973): adapted from the Harry Harrison novel Make Room! Make Room! by Stanley R. Greenberg; directed by Richard Fleischer; starring Charlton Heston (Thorn), Leigh Taylor-Young (Shirl), Chuck Connors (Tab), Joseph Cotten (Simonson), Brock Peters (The Chief), and Edward G. Robinson (Sol Roth): 

Soylent Green's grungy, beige-and-green, run-down, over-populated world of 2022 is a great aesthetic creation for the set designers and costume people. The movie infamously adds a ridiculous 'twist' to Harry Harrison's science-fiction novel about Malthusian over-population so as to make the movie more 'popular.' Now it's the only thing people remember about the movie. Oh, well. Chuck Heston is solid and stolid as a dogged policeman investigating a murder and being pursued by shadowy figures who don't want the reason for that murder to come out.

The best thing about Soylent Green is Edward G. Robinson's performance as Heston's partner, a man old enough to remember Earth That Was, and mourn it. Robinson knew that he'd be dead of cancer soon after filming, and he was -- he died days after the final wrap. What he delivers here is a jewel of a performance. He elevates the material to Art in every scene he's in. He moves the whole movie up from lightly recommended to Recommended.

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