Silent RunningDirector: Douglas Trumbull
Bruce Dern stars as the caretaker of a greenhouse located on a group of space stations that are sent into orbit. The Earth has been stripped clean of foliage, and the greenhouse contains the last remaining greenery from the planet. Dern's staff includes three human beings and a trio of endearing robots named Huey, Dewey, and Louie. When word arrives, from the powers that be, that the greenhouse is to be destroyed (the space station is more valuable to man when hauling cargo and not "preserving the ecology of the universe"), Dern decides to ignore the order. He also decides to go it alone, "circle the wagons" with his robots, and fend off all outside attempts to eliminate his ecological paradise. Special-effects maven Douglas Trumbull directs, Michael Cimino was one of the screenwriters, and Peter "PDQ Bach" Schickele wrote the musical score.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Universal Studios
Cast & Crew
|Douglas Trumbull||Director,Producer,Special Effects|
|Vernon Archer||Special Effects|
|Brad Aronson||Asst. Director|
|John Dykstra||Special Effects|
|Richard Helmer||Special Effects|
|R.L. Helmer||Special Effects|
|Marty Hornstein||Associate Producer|
|Marlin Jones||Special Effects|
|Charles D. Knight||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Frank Lombardo||Set Decoration/Design|
|Richard Portman||Sound/Sound Designer|
|James Rugg||Special Effects|
|Peter Schickele||Score Composer,Songwriter|
|Richard Yuricich||Special Effects|
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Marvelous! A triumph of fantasy and allegory, with beauty and fine music. Watchable several times.
A.D. 2008-Eight years before the United States undertakes a botanical preservation project that will refoliate the totally industrialized planet in the near future. Unfortunately, when Congress votes to end funding for the project, Botanist Freeman Lowell(Bruce Dern), revolts. This is just the beginning of an adventure with a sad and timely message that should be brought to more public attention and acted upon before it's too late. Regrettably, no one takes the ''reductio ad absurdum'' storyline as seriously as it should be even though the environmental catastrophe of global warming is already starting to be witnessed in the world of A.D. 2000. While chock full of many science and technology errors, ''Silent Running'' has a message that needs to be stated again and again until people listen and DO what they need to do. Otherwise, the world in 2008 and beyond will be a nightmare with no waking up. Do you really want to tell your grandchildren something like, ''Once there was air you couldn't see.''? Think about it.
This is a nice well meaning movie about what could happen in the future. They have ships in space, a sort of floating habitat. Large domes that house plants and animals. When the government decides to destroy the domes, one man takes matters into his own hands. This movie seems to be a series of pasted on scenes. They don't always blend together properly and some don't fit at all. It's still worth seeing.
Bruce Dern gives a moving performance as Botanist Freeman Lowell in this sci-fi masterpiece. Aside from the robots Huey and Dewey, who sometimes act more 'human' than Dern's character, the film raises an ethical question of whether someone should take the innocent life of another for one's own convictions and beliefs. For that reason, the movie is relevant today in the post-911 world as it was in 1971. A must see for anyone, not just sci-fi fans.
After the triumph of "2001: A Space Odyssey", special effects supervisor Douglas Trumbull created eerie effects for Robert Wise's "The Andromeda Strain" and then directed "Silent Running" a small-scale science-fiction film that unfolds as if it were a fable, and since it's release has grown in popularity, not the least reason for it's enviromentally challenging theme. In the future, the Earth has been defoliated of all plant life and the remaining specimens are placed in a series of geodesic domes which are then attached to a fleet of freighters orbiting about space waiting for the signal to return home. One shipmate Lowell, is a fanatical botonist who communicates better with his robotic drones named Huey, Dewey and Louie than he does with his human compatriots whom he finds less than concerned about the vegetative cargo. When the return signal arrives, to Lowell's horror, it is not to return the plants to Earth but to jettison them into space and scrap the mission. Drastic actions are taken by him that leave him alone on the ship with his drones and his ship now a fugitive vessel. As Lowell, Bruce Dern turns in a star making performance in what is very much practically a one-man show,(though mention should be made of the fine contributions of actors Ron Rifkin, Jesse Vint and Cliff Potts despite the brevity of their appearances, we do feel their loss) and Trumbull's effects make it clear that "2001" was no accident. (Ironically, the sole Oscar awarded to "2001", for special effects, was selfishly hoarded by director Stanley Kubrick who claimed solo possession of the trophy.)Still, there are major problems with the film, all of them on the conceptual end with the script. Science-fiction is a genre of infinite possibilities (though you wouldn't know it by the increasingly, prolifically stupid "Star Wars" series), but serious science-fiction must adhere to infallible logic of which the scenario of "Silent Running" is in short supply. Why, for instance,is the ship running about Saturn except that Trumball, in the intervening time since "2001" found a way to effectively create the rings? And wouldn't a completely defoliated planet run out of not only food but oxygen? And wouldn't it be easier to preserve seeds of the plants than sending the trees floating about space? And why when pursued does Lowell find it neccesary to run through the rings of Saturn when it doesn't help him elude his pursuers? And why would it take an expert on plant biology so long to deduce a simple problem that is harming the plants? Still, there is an infectious charm to the film, a quality that is new to the genre, and despite initial impressions, this charm is generated by far more than the presence of the delightful anthropomorphic drones, winningly designed and cleverly portrayed by real-life amputees. Dern's Lowell may be a fanatic and by the end may even be a bit nuts, from both guilt and solitude, but he is warm and winning, one of the few memorable human characters in a genre that has generated surprisingly few. The film ends on a note of slight illogic but simultaneously it is also one of the most emotionally charged, heartbreaking scenes in the history of cinema. Indeed, science-fiction is a genre of infinite possibilities.
Set in the far future aboard the spaceship ''Valley Forge'', Bruce Dern and three fellow astronauts maintain the huge vessel and the forests that it contains with the help of three ingeniously rendered robots. The robots are so convincing that they steal the show, but they remain classic depictions that are on par with Robby from ''Forbidden Planet'' and the droids of ''Star Wars''. This is a sad story with a strong ecological message, ''Silent Running'' is a visual treat with outstanding special effects and a very realistically-depicted ''Valley Forge'' spaceship. A production note: Trumbull had use of the decommissioned naval aircraft carrier ''Valley Forge'' before it was scrapped and he was able to modify many of it's vast interiors for use in the movie, all to good effect.