Harry Harrison’s own thoughts on how they mangled his book, “Make Room, Make Room!”, to make Soylent Green. It turns out that major plot points like the cannibal-crackers and furniture-girls weren’t even in the original story, and Charlton Heston himself thought that “the whole payoff on the cannibalism element lacked impact.”
It was almost naively anticlimactic, how they built the whole thing up to “Soylent Green is people,” as though this discovery could be the ultimate, outrageous revelation of an already-overpopulated world. In truth, the cannibalism element would have had more shock value as a cynical subplot. But then, that element of camp and naivete was exactly what made this movie a cult classic. (That, and Edward G. Robinson’s final performance. To know that he performed his character’s death scene so well, while he himself was dying of cancer, is an intense, powerful thing.)
With that, I think it can be said that “Soylent Green is people,” in more ways than one. Off to work on that title sequence.
(Links, by the way, via writer Michael Carroll.)