Soylent Green

Soylent Green (1973)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Leigh Taylor-Young, Cuck Connors
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Trailer

Richard Fleischer’s 1973 science fiction film ’Soylent Green’ may not feel very scientific or futuristic with its gritty retro-world, but despite the dated vision of the world of 2022 the film’s story still holds up extremely well. Charlton Heston plays Thorn, a detective trying to solve a murder in the overpopulated streets of New York City. It is a world that offers little hope, where food supplies are short and rationed and where the only luxury most people can afford is a sleeping spot on the stairwell of a dilapidated house, sharing it with hundreds of others. As Thorn slowly figures out the truth behind the killing of a rich, influential businessman with the help of his friend Sol (Edward G. Robinson in his last film role) they are both shocked to find that still, people will do anything to get ahead.
The film is a very organic science fiction film without bells and whistles, but replaces special effects with a very human touch, something we encountered quite a bit in science fiction films of the 70s. It is a film about the decay of humanity, a social commentary about the world we live in and the commentary is as valid today as it was back 30 years ago – if not more so.

Warner Home Video is bringing ’Soylent Green’ to the screen in its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 television sets. The image has been cleaned up and no blemishes are marring the presentation anywhere. The level of detail is astounding and grain is generally at a minimum, making for a solid and rich viewing, much better than you’d expect. Color reproduction is faithful to the original, muted look of the movie with a typical 70s-color palette that contains a lot of clashing colors as well as pastel tones. The film’s black level is good, creating solid shadows the never break up, and the compression has been handled carefully not to introduce compression artifacts.

The audio on the DVD is the original mono language track in English, accompanied by a French dub and subtitles in English, French and Spanish. The track is very clear and has also be freed of any blemishes and hiss. Dialogues are well integrated and always understandable, and have been expanded in their frequency response to make for a solid presentation without harshness.

The DVD contains a commentary track featuring director Richard Fleischer and actress Leigh Taylor-Young. The commentary track is very good, offering a lot of memories on the production. Especially Fleischer’s recollection of the work with Edward G. Robinson at the time is very touching and makes the late actor even more lovable than he already was.

The documentary ’A Look At The World Of Soylent Green’ is also included on the release as a great addition to complete the DVD.

Another great addition is MGM’s tribute to Edward G. Robinson’s 101st film, ’Soylent Green.’ It was a ceremony held during the theatrical release of the film, celebrating the life and work of the actor and this featurette contains some heartfelt moments that brings Robinson back to life one more time.

’Charlton Heston – Science Fiction Legend’ is a text addition on the disc that explores some of Heston’s career, starring in some of the science fiction landmark roles of the 60s and 70s. The DVD is rounded out by the movie’s trailer and a cast and crew listing.

It is exciting to see films like’ Soylent Green’ come to DVD… finally… and Warner’s presentation is absolutely marvelous, giving you the opportunity to view the film in all its glory. Seize the opportunity and take a look at ’Soylent Green.’ It is a powerful film and it is marvelously written and put together.