Soylent Green (1973)

Soylent Green (1973), directed by Richard Fleischer.

A minor science fiction effort, actually a simple murder mystery dressed up in a dystopian setting. It's a "statement" movie made shortly after the first Earth Day when the population bomb, pollution and social regimentation were fresh and vital issues. It's remembered for the famous punch-line and for being Edward G. Robinson's last picture.

New York in the near future is hot and overcrowded: 40 million people without enough water or electricity. The air is yellow-green and garbage trucks collect the dead bodies. Charlton Heston is a cop investigating the murder of a rich man in a luxury apartment building: as a perk of the job he pilfers freely and makes use of the A/C, running water and resident prostitute (called "furniture" for some reason -- as in "piece of"?).

Heston must have liked science fiction, he did so much of it. Robinson died just a few days after the end of filming and I read that he told Heston what was up before their big good-bye scene. That's moving, although I wish it had been in a better movie. And yet: the euthanasia chamber scene is distressingly lovely.

Available on Blu-ray.

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