food in the arts


Dir: Richard Fleischer/ Wr:Harry Harrison (novel) Stanley R. Greenberg/ Cast: Charlton Heston, Joseph Cotton, Leigh-Taylor Young/ 97 mins/ USA/ 1973


"It's the year 2022... People are still the same. They'll do anything to get what they need."

Natural food like fruits, vegetables, and meat among others are now extinct. Earth is overpopulated and New York City has 40 million starving, poverty stricken people. The only way they survive is with water rations and eating a mysterious food called Soylent Green with an unidentifiable source. A detective (Charlton Heston) investigates the murder of the president of the Soylent Green company. The truth he uncovers is more disturbing than the Earth in turmoil when he learns the secret ingredient of Soylent Green.

If you think the world is going to the dogs, then Soylent Green will confirm your worst fears. Based on Harry Harrison's classic science fiction novel, Make Room! Make Room!, the script is an apocalyptic vision of the future set in the year 2020. Pollution, overpopulation, and a chaotic social order have turned New York City into a giant roach trap for humans. But that's not the worst part. Wait till you see what they're serving for lunch! Synthetic wafers made out of plankton. Or is it some other top-secret ingredient that the government refuses to reveal?
Although Soylent Green remains one of the most popular science fiction films of the seventies (it won the much coveted Nebula Award), it did take several liberties with Harry Harrison's original novel, resulting in some major disagreements between the author and MGM, the studio that made the film.

Despite its flaws the film remains an interesting dystopia with a lot of entertainment value, and not just on a kitsch level. Like 'Planet Of The Apes' even people who have never seen Soylent Green know the twist ending, but it doesn't really matter one way or the other, there's still more than enough to keep you watching. Heston's performance and the great supporting cast make this a very enjoyable experience. Screen legend Edward G. Robinson is particularly excellent and very touching in his last role, and the rest of the cast includes Joseph Cotton ('Shadow Of A Doubt'), Chuck Connors ('The Rifleman'), Whit Bissel ('Invasion Of The Body Snatchers), Leigh Taylor-Young ('Looker'), Brock Peters ('To Kill A Mockingbird') and Roy Jenson ('The Getaway').

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 Soylent Green  (dvd) -
 Soylent Green (dvd) -