Monday, December 10, 2007

Soylent Green (full movie) - SciFi Starring Charlton Heston

Soylent Green is a 1973 science fiction movie starring Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Leigh Taylor-Young, Joseph Cotten and Chuck Connors.

Set in the year 2022, Soylent Green depicts a dystopia, a Malthusian catastrophe that occurs because humanity has failed to pursue sustainable development and has not halted uncontrolled population growth. The film portrays New York City's population as 40,000,000, with more than half of it unemployed. Pollution has produced a "year-round heatwave"—identified in the film, presciently, as due to a "greenhouse effect"—and a thin, yellow, daytime smog. Food and fuel are scarce resources because of animal and plant decimation and soil poisoning, housing is dilapidated and overcrowded, and widespread government-sponsored euthanasia is encouraged to control overpopulation.

Meat, bread, cheese, fruit, vegetables, and alcoholic beverages are scarce and extremely expensive; for example, a six-ounce jar of strawberry jam is 150 "Ds" (US Dollars). Like the soylent food factories, the farms producing foodstuffs are heavily guarded and off-limits to civilians. For most of the populace, natural foods are a rarely, if ever, enjoyed luxury. The government dispenses rations of synthetic food — soylent yellow, soylent red — made by the Soylent Corporation; their newest and most popular version, soylent green, is made from plankton, according to the food firm.

Soylent's food products are mostly distributed as brightly colored wafers which may be eaten with margarine, although they are also seen being sold as bread-like buns and in crumb form. The word "soylent" is a portmanteau combining soybean and lentil (cheap, very high-yield crops).[citation needed]

Specific Soylent products are distributed to the populace on different days of the week, yet even then those supplies are limited and there is much competition among people to get their rations early. The competition is such that if the supply is exhausted, rioting for food is common. To deal with this problem, the distribution centers are heavily guarded by police who deal with rioters very heavy-handedly, using "scoops" — half-loader, half-garbage truck vehicles which scoop up rioters and dump them in rear storage units; such callous, violent treatment is presumably fatal to some rioters.

In contrast, the rich elite live in spacious apartments, with regular access to real food, tobacco, and alcohol, though they often are of poor quality. Some of the rich can even afford "furniture", the film's term for concubines economically attached to the apartments.

Robert Thorn (Charlton Heston) is a New York City police detective investigating the murder of William R. Simonson (Joseph Cotten), a director of the Soylent Corporation. Thorn lives with his aged "police book" partner Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson) in a one-room tenement apartment. Long before, Sol was a college professor, but now is employed as a police researcher. Unlike most people in A.D. 2022, including Thorn, Sol received a formal education and is literate; education of any sort is available only to the wealthy elite. Sol and people such as he are known as "books", because real books are out of print, as there is no wood for paper, along with electricity, water, food, and printing press shortages.

Thorn has a brief romance with Shirl, (Leigh Taylor-Young), a "furniture girl", essentially a prostitute, attached to a rich apartment's owner in Chelsea. At one point in the film, Shirl wanted to move in with Thorn, but Thorn insisted she stay in the apartment because life was so much better there.

During his investigation of Simonson's murder, Thorn slowly uncovers a conspiracy, centered around the Soylent corporation and dealing with Tab Fielding (Chuck Connors), a merciless company heavy. Likewise Sol uncovers another shocking truth about their world, and opts to "go home", which involves voluntarily submitting himself to euthanasia. Thorn follows him but is too late to prevent Sol's death, but he is able to witness motion pictures of the beautiful Earth of former times, shown only to those being euthanised, which brings him to tears. In his final moments, outside of the audience's hearing, Sol communicates the truth about Soylent Green to Thorn and tells him that proof is needed to expose the Soylent corporation to the World Council. After Sol's death, Thorn follows the disposal of Sol's body to a heavily guarded waste-management plant, and confirms with his own eyes that Soylent green is made from the recycled cadavers brought in from the government-sponsored euthanasia centers.

The film culminates in a battle between Thorn and Tab, who proceed to shoot at each other. Having been wounded by an aimed shot from Tab, Thorn retreats into a building. The incredulous occupants can only look on. After a desperate struggle Thorn gains the upper hand and kills Tab. Thorn is left barely standing, and badly wounded. As help arrives, a visibly distraught Thorn desperately confides in his police superior, Hatcher (Brock Peters), about the real ingredients of soylent green. The stretcher bearers take away Thorn. Hatcher looks only half-able to believe and comprehend Thorn's revelation. This leads to his famous outcry, "Soylent Green is people!"

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