“Amazing companions on an incredible adventure… that journeys beyond imagination!” the tagline for Silent Running promises a sci-fi spectacle but the film is instead a rather intimate tale of astronautÂ Freeman Lowell descending into madness. Director Douglas Trumbull’s space-epic is perhaps better known for the three small drones, Huey, Duey, and Luey. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as theyÂ joinÂ Bruce Dern onÂ hisÂ adventures aboard theÂ Valley Forge.
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 73 â€“ Silent Running (1972)
Written by the impressive team of Deric Washburn, Michael Cimino, and Steven Bochco, Silent Running has a lot toÂ say between the lines. While the film focusesÂ upon itsÂ lead character, Freeman LowellÂ as played byÂ Bruce Dern, theÂ storyÂ dives intoÂ environmental and corporateÂ politics, theories, andÂ dire warnings of a not-to-distant futureÂ doomed toÂ set EarthÂ onÂ a collisionÂ courseÂ withÂ disaster. VisualÂ effectsÂ pioneer, DouglasÂ Trumbull, stepsÂ behind theÂ camera toÂ guide theÂ spectacularÂ visuals, some of which, wereÂ borrowed from unused scenes forÂ hisÂ work onÂ 2001: A SpaceÂ Odyssey (1968). HisÂ creationÂ of the threeÂ dronesÂ would fascinate audiences in 1972 andÂ directly influence the famous droidsÂ seenÂ George Lucas’ StarÂ Wars (1977). SilentÂ Running, despite isÂ calculated pacing, is an influential film that bridges the gapÂ betweenÂ 2001 andÂ Star Wars.
Sharing theirÂ thoughts about the film, the Grue-Crew relive the first time they saw the film back in the 1970s – Jeff in the theater, Doc on TV, and Bill later on video in college. Bill’s take is based more ofÂ the political nature of the film, while Doc is focused on Bruce Dern and the drones. Chad and Jeff admire the film’s visual excellent and careful storytelling. Doc shares his experience seeing the film for the first time in nearly 40 years on the big screen at the FantasticRealm Film Series at the Carolina Theater in Durham, NC. Regardless of their take, the Grue-Crew agree the film is important to film history and rise of science fiction film.
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