Actor Charlton Heston brought the idea of “Make Room, Make Room” (original title) to MGM and all the elements would come together.  In 1973, MGM Studios was nearing its end of production and ready to move to Las Vegas as the MGM Grand.  This would be their last major film shot on their famed back lot before it was sold off for real estate.

PLOT.  Police Det. Thorn investigates a murder leading to a government conspiracy silencing those who know what’s in their new wonder food known as Soylent Green.  (Based on a novel by Harry Harrison.)

What’s radically different about Soylent Green?  Back then and still, most science-fiction is about outer space travel, aliens or an advanced technology.  Instead, this predicts a crumbling civilization, over-population and the desperation of people trying to stay alive.


Shot in late 1972-early 1973, some fifty years before 2022, what predictions have come true?

We are beginning to see rampant inflation and food shortages.  (In the movie, a jar of strawberries costs $150.)

“People are still the same” reads the poster ad.  Truer words were never spoken.  Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson), a voice from the past says, “People were always rotten.  But, the world was beautiful.”

Police State.  Many people don’t want to admit this is true, but it is.  Gov’t police have absolute authority.  Riot control police use “people scoops” – trash trucks – to herd rioters who go wild when they’re told there’s no more Soylent Green.  [A supposed combination of soybeans-lentils-and high-energy plankton farmed from the sea!]

Some cast extra were masks.

Economy becomes socialist.


Charlton Heston as Detective Robert Thorn


Leigh Taylor-Young as Shirl


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Edward G. Robinson as Sol Roth


Chuck Connors as Tab Fielding


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Brock Peters as Hatcher


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Paula Kelly as Martha


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Joseph Cotton as William R. Simonson


This would be legendary actor Edward G. Robinson’s last performance and it is memorable.

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Heston commented:  Robinson told him before filming their last scene together that he had terminal cancer. Heston admits “those were real tears” during filming.

Edward G. Robinson celebrates his 100th and final role.  He was working on his autobiography at the time.  Published posthumously as “All My Yesterdays”.

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Leigh Taylor-Young is cast as “Shirl”, Simonson’s furniture girl.  (She comes with the apartment.)  Best acting moment:  when confronted by a new tenant who asks her “Are you fun?”

Chuck Heston was the catalyst for “Soylent Green”.  It is one of his best roles.

Sol prepares Thorn a rare treat: “beef stew”.


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The score is composed by Fred Myrow.  It’s most favorably utilized during the opening still frame photo sequence where mass-production, from the industrial revolution is shown to be the cause for our polluted world.


Director Richard Fleischer provides a commentary on the DVD, along with Leigh Taylor-Young.

Old newspaper ad for “Soylent Green”

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