Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I, THE AUDIENCE: Soylent Green is people! 

It's people! It really is people! It's made out of people!

Yow, but I love "Soylent Green."

The movie, not the food. (I'm not disparaging the food. I've never had it. I'm sure it's quite tasty. Within the context of the film at least. Look at the way the people of the future were bolting it down. And when they ran out, they had to bring in the steam shovels to break up the rioting.)

Charlton Heston is so great in this movie. As much as I like "Ben Hur" and "The Ten Commandments," Charlton Heston is a movie god to me for some of his later and more fantastic films. Specifically, "Planet of the Apes," "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," "The Omega Man" and "Soylent Green."

I saw it on TV when I was a kid, probably about 12, and I have always loved this movie. I saw it again a few days ago, and I remembered it very well for a movie I haven't seen for more than thirty years.

"Soylent Green is people!"

I want a T-shirt with that on it.

What is there not to love about this movie? A great story, a murder to solve, a frightening (and prophetic?) dystopian world, and a great ending, an image almost as representative of cinema as Harold Lloyd hanging off the clock. (Well, it should be.)

And what a great cast! "Soylent Green" IS people! Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Chuck Connors, Joseph Cotten, Leigh Taylor-Young (of "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas"), Paula Kelly.

I must admit, though, that I have never found this to be a very shocking premise. Even when I was a child, I wasn't particularly surprised or horrified that Soylent Green was made out of people. It seemed - and seems - to me to be a practical solution to the thorny problem of overpopulation.

Bring on the Soylent Green, I say.

If it bothers you, just repeat the talking points: "Soylent Green is made out of algae!"


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