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Encyclopedia > Silent Running
Silent Running

Silent Running
Directed by Douglas Trumbull
Produced by Michael Gruskoff
Marty Hornstein
Douglas Trumbull
Written by Deric Washburn
Michael Cimino
Steven Bochco
Starring Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin and Jesse Vint
Music by Peter Schickele
Cinematography Charles F. Wheeler
Editing by Aaron Stell
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Running time 89 min.
Language English
IMDb profile

Silent Running is a 1971 science fiction film directed by Douglas Trumbull and starring Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin and Jesse Vint. It was made with a very limited budget but has since achieved a cult following. The science and technology depicted in Silent Running are not always plausible, but Trumbull's special effects are on par with those he created for 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the melancholy message is considered by some to be very powerful. Unusual for a science fiction film, the soundtrack contains two songs — "Silent Running" and "Rejoice in the Sun" — written by Peter Schickele and Diane Lampert and performed by Joan Baez. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 428 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (506 × 709 pixel, file size: 77 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Poster from the movie Silent Running, claiming fair use (does not detract from original work). ... Douglas Trumbull (born April 8, 1942) is a film director and special effects supervisor. ... Michael Cimino (born February 3, 1939, New York City) is an American film director. ... Steven Ronald Bochco (born December 16, 1943) is an American television producer and writer. ... Bruce MacLeish Dern (born June 4, 1936) is an Academy Award-nominated American screen actor. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Ron Rifkin, born October 31, 1939, in New York City, New York, USA, is a film, stage, and television actor and director. ... Peter Schickele (born Johann Peter Schickele, July 17, 1935) is an American composer, musical educator and parodist, perhaps best known for his comedy music albums featuring music he wrote as P. D. Q. Bach. ... Universal Pictures is the main motion picture production/distribution arm of Universal Studios, a subsidiary of NBC Universal. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Silent Running may refer to: Silent running, a stealthy mode of operation for a submarine Silent Running, 1972 science fiction film directed by Douglas Trumbull Silent Running (Belfast band) Silent Running: My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine, memoir by Vice Admiral James F. Calvert, USN (Ret. ... Poster for 2001: A Space Odyssey, an archetypal science fiction film Science fiction film is a film genre that uses speculative, science-based depictions of imaginary phenomena such as extra-terrestrial lifeforms, alien worlds, and time travel, often along with technological elements such as futuristic spacecraft, robots, or other technologies. ... Douglas Trumbull (born April 8, 1942) is a film director and special effects supervisor. ... Bruce MacLeish Dern (born June 4, 1936) is an Academy Award-nominated American screen actor. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Ron Rifkin, born October 31, 1939, in New York City, New York, USA, is a film, stage, and television actor and director. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Peter Schickele (born Johann Peter Schickele, July 17, 1935) is an American composer, musical educator and parodist, perhaps best known for his comedy music albums featuring music he wrote as P. D. Q. Bach. ... Joan Chandos Baez (born January 9, 1941) is an American folk singer and songwriter known for her highly individual vocal style. ...

Contents

Taglines

  • Earth's last battle will be fought in space.
  • Amazing companions on an incredible adventure...that journeys beyond imagination!

Story

The movie depicts a future in which all plant life on Earth has been made extinct, and only a few specimens have been preserved in enormous, greenhouse-like geodesic domes attached to a fleet of American Airlines "Space Freighters" positioned just outside the orbit of Saturn. Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) is one of four crewmen aboard the Valley Forge, one of the 2,000 foot-long freighters, and is the resident botanist / agronomist / ecologist dedicated to preserving the forests for their eventual return to Earth, and the reforestation of the planet. In constant disagreement with his crewmates over the objective of their mission (they being more anxious to return to Earth after a one-year tour of duty), Lowell spends his time in the forests, cultivating the plant and animal life within them. Divisions Green algae Chlorophyta Charophyta Land plants (embryophytes) Non-vascular plants (bryophytes) Marchantiophyta—liverworts Anthocerotophyta—hornworts Bryophyta—mosses Vascular plants (tracheophytes) †Rhyniophyta—rhyniophytes †Zosterophyllophyta—zosterophylls Lycopodiophyta—clubmosses †Trimerophytophyta—trimerophytes Pteridophyta—ferns and horsetails Seed plants (spermatophytes) †Pteridospermatophyta—seed ferns Pinophyta—conifers Cycadophyta—cycads Ginkgophyta—ginkgo Gnetophyta—gnetae Magnoliophyta—flowering plants... A geodesic dome is an almost spherical structure based on a network of struts arranged on great circles (geodesics) lying approximately on the surface of a sphere. ... American Airlines (AA) is the largest airline in the world in terms of total passengers-miles transported[1] and fleet size [2], and the second-largest airline in the world (behind Air France-KLM) in terms of total operating revenues[3]. A wholly owned subsidiary of the AMR Corporation, the... Bruce MacLeish Dern (born June 4, 1936) is an Academy Award-nominated American screen actor. ... Biodiversity on a 15-year-old reforested plot of land. ...

The planet Saturn and the Valley Forge

When orders come from Earth to jettison and destroy the domes (with nuclear charges), and return the freighters to commercial service, Lowell opts instead to save the last remaining forests in existence. After four of the six domes on the Valley Forge are jettisoned and destroyed, Lowell kills one of his crewmates in a struggle (which leaves him seriously injured) and manages to trap the other two crewmen in a dome that he jettisons and destroys. Enlisting the aid of the ship's three service robots (drones), Lowell stages a fake premature dome detonation and a cargo bay explosion as a ruse, and sends the Valley Forge careening away from the space freighter fleet, towards Saturn, in an attempt to hijack the ship and flee with the last forest dome. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Adjectives: Saturnian Atmosphere Surface pressure: 140 kPa Composition: >93% hydrogen >5% helium 0. ... The word nuclear means of or belonging to the nucleus of something. ... Class of Service Robots PatrolBot PowerBot AGV HelpMate RoboTurb ...


Injured and alone with the three drones, Lowell reprograms them to perform surgery on his leg.

Detail close-up shot of the forest domes on the 26 foot-long "Valley Forge" model. Note the support apparatus underneath the model, holding the ship in position.

Still in communication with the rest of the fleet, Lowell is informed that the Valley Forge is on a collision course with Saturn's rings, and there is nothing he can do to stop the catastrophic event. The ship will likely be destroyed. With communications failing due to the distance now between the Valley Forge and the rest of the fleet, the ship passes through the rings of Saturn. The three drones are outside the ship on maintenance duty, when Drone 3 (Louie) is blown away from the ship, leaving two remaining drones. The ship, and the precious dome, emerge undamaged on the other side of the rings. Totally alone, Lowell and the drones set out into deep space, away from the fleet, on a quest to maintain the forest. During the trip, Lowell befriends the drones, renaming them Huey, Dewey and Louie (Drone 02, 01 and 03 respectively), teaching them to plant trees and play poker (in a memorable scene). However, Lowell's conscience sets in, as he instructs the drones to bury the crewman he killed in the dome. With thoughts of the human toll he has taken to save the last forest, Lowell is horrified when he realises that his forest is dying from some unknown cause. Desperate, he rushes to the dome, badly damaging Huey in an accident with one of the ship's buggies. Repairs are unsuccessful, the forest is dying, and Lowell begins to come to the unsettling conclusion that his mission to save the forest has failed. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck are a trio of fictional ducks who appear in animated cartoons and comic books published by the Walt Disney Company. ...


After weeks alone in space, faint radio chatter is heard from a rescue party mounted from the Valley Forge's sister ship, the Berkshire, who have located the freighter after a long search. Finally able to communicate with Lowell, they inform him that they will be able to reach him within six hours — he must jettison the dome — but not detonate the nuclear charge, as it is too dark to do so safely. Perhaps somewhat belatedly, given his botanical background, Lowell now realises that what was killing the forest was the lack of sunlight. With little time to work, he wires up several banks of grow lights to simulate sunlight, and instructs the last healthy drone, Dewey, to "just maintain the forest." Realising that his crime will be uncovered when the Berkshire finds an undamaged ship and a buried crewman, Lowell jettisons the last dome to safety with the words "take good care of the forest, Dewey." With the Berkshire only two hours away from docking, Lowell and the damaged Huey are sitting down, facing each other, while Lowell arms the last of the six nuclear charges. Prepared to destroy himself to atone for his crime, and ensure the preservation of the last dome, Lowell says to Huey "When I was a kid, I put a note into a bottle, and it had my name and address on it. And then I threw the bottle into the ocean. And I never knew if anyone ever found it." With that, Lowell destroys the Valley Forge with the last of the onboard nuclear charges.


The final, poignant scene is of a well-lit forest greenhouse drifting into space, tended by the sole remaining drone with a battered watering can, with a musical accompaniment from Joan Baez.


Trivia

  • Trumbull had been involved with creating effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Director Stanley Kubrick wanted the "Stargate" sequence of that film to be centered around Saturn, but there were technical difficulties in getting the special effects for this sequence finished in the limited time frame. The Saturn idea was scrapped, and Kubrick substituted Jupiter instead. Trumbull perfected the sequence after production, and it was recreated for Saturn in Silent Running.
  • The interiors were filmed aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge (CV-45), which was docked at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard in Long Beach, California. Shortly after filming was completed, the carrier was scrapped.
  • The forest environments were originally intended to be filmed in the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but the production budget forced the sequences to be shot in a newly-completed aircraft hangar in Van Nuys, California.
  • There are three freighters seen in the film: they are the Valley Forge, the Berkshire and the Sequoia. Five other ships that carried domes are also named, but do not appear on screen — they are the Yellowstone, Acadia, Blue Ridge, Glacier and Mojave. Each is named for a National Park in the United States.
  • The Valley Forge space freighter was meant to appear 2,000 feet (600 m) long.
  • Each ship features a designation on the hull, which notes the area from which some of the flora and fauna samples were taken. The Valley Forge is listed as "Bahia Honda Subtropical," indicating at least some specimens were taken from this area of the Florida Keys.
With its cover-plate removed during a shooting break, we can see the double-amputee actor, Mark Persons, inside the tiny Drone 3 costume.
With its cover-plate removed during a shooting break, we can see the double-amputee actor, Mark Persons, inside the tiny Drone 3 costume.
  • The three "drones" were played by four double-amputees, an idea inspired by Johnny Eck. The "drone suits" were all prototypes, and each suit was custom tailored to the amputee operator inside (explaining the differences from drone to drone). The suits weighed 20 pounds (9 kg) each.
  • The model of the Valley Forge Space Freighter was 26 feet (8 m) long, and took six months to build from a combination of custom castings and the contents of approximately 800 prefabricated model aircraft or tank kits. After filming was completed, American Airlines expressed an interest in sending the model on the tour circuit, but this was not feasible due to the fragile nature of the model (in fact, during filming, pieces of the model kept falling away). The ship was subsequently disassembled. Several pieces, including the domes, wound up in the hands of collectors, but the entire ship was destroyed after several years sitting in a storage bin. In the words of someone involved with the film, the ship "now rests under several tons of dirt underneath the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California."
  • As in the film, only one dome is known to have survived, and now rests in the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington.
  • The original Battlestar Galactica series used stock footage of the space freighters in several episodes. On that show, they were called "Agro Ships," and were the source of all the food in the rag-tag fleet. Initially there were three of them, but two were destroyed by the Cylons. In the current incarnation of Galactica, there is one "Botanical Cruiser" in the fleet, which is of a different, but clearly derivative design.
  • The film is featured in Episode 306 of Six Feet Under ("Making Love Work")
  • Joel Hodgson has admitted the film was a key influence in the premise of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  • Referred to heavily in John Hodgman's compendium of fictional trivia, The Areas of My Expertise, the film is cited satirically as the source of numerous slang terms used by submariners (such as "Dern", to describe someone who embodies actor Bruce Dern's emotional performance in the film).
  • Doug Naylor, Rob Grant and Ed Bye cite Silent Running as an inspiration for the British science fiction television series of the 1980s and 1990s, Red Dwarf.
  • In an interview with Starlog magazine in the late 1970s, Douglas Trumbull revealed that the plot of the movie in the original version of the script was quite a bit different from what was actually filmed. In this version, the Space Freighters were on permanent duty carrying biological domes. When they're finally told to blow the domes and return to earth, it is because the freighters are going to be scrapped. The Freeman Lowell character in this version was an older, more curmudgeonly man who simply doesn't want to return to earth and forced into retirement, so he steals the Valley Forge, "Shoots the rapids" through Saturn's Rings to make it look like his ship is destroyed, and heads off into deep space. As in the filmed version, he reprograms the robots for some companionship, and the subplot involving the plants dying due to a lack of light were involved, but his main interest in the plants was simply as a means of extending his limited food supplies on the ship. In the second half of the film, he receives a signal which he realizes is from an alien ship passing through the solar system, and decides to approach it - humanity's first contact with aliens - around the same time, his superiors on earth have realized what he did, and are trying to re-capture the ship. The last act of the movie was to have been a race against time, with Lowell trying to contact the aliens, and the recovery force trying to re-take the ship. Finally, in desparation, Lowell detaches one of the domes with one of the robots aboard only seconds before he's killed by the forces that have boarded the Valley Forge. The dome drifts off into deep space, where it's spotted by the as-yet-unseen aliens, who board it and find the robot. The robot, unsure what to do, pulls out a snapshot of itself, the other two robots, and Freeman Lowell taken earlier in the film, a "Family Portrait" after a fashion, and shows it to the aliens, who look at it and the robot confusedly, and there the film ends.
  • During the course of the film, the crew of the Valley Forge (especially Lowell) are in radio contact with the AA fleet at a presumed distance of several million miles. However, there is no delayed speech relay observed during their conversations (they talk to each other instantaneously).
  • The UK DVD of Silent Running is designated as a U certificate, ie, for universal viewing, even though there is one physical on-screen murder and the mild expletive 'crap' is used on several occasions.

Stanley Kubrick (July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) was an influential and acclaimed American film director and producer. ... Adjectives: Saturnian Atmosphere Surface pressure: 140 kPa Composition: >93% hydrogen >5% helium 0. ... Adjectives: Jovian Atmosphere Surface pressure: 20–200 kPa[4] (cloud layer) Composition: ~86% Molecular hydrogen ~13% Helium 0. ... Adjectives: Saturnian Atmosphere Surface pressure: 140 kPa Composition: >93% hydrogen >5% helium 0. ... Four aircraft carriers, (bottom-to-top) Principe de Asturias, amphibious assault carrier USS Wasp, supercarrier USS Forrestal and light V/STOL carrier HMS Invincible, showing size differences of late 20th century carriers An aircraft carrier is a warship designed to deploy and recover aircraft — in effect acting as a sea... Valley Forge (CV/CVA/CVS-45/LPH-8) a Ticonderoga-class aircraft carrier was the first ship of the United States Navy named for Valley Forge, the 1777–78 winter encampment of General George Washingtons Continental Army. ... The Long Beach Naval Shipyard, which closed in 1997, was located at Terminal Island between the cities of Long Beach and San Pedro and approximately 23 miles south of the Los Angeles International Airport. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (Mitchell Park Domes or The Domes) is a conservatory located at Mitchell Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. ... This article is about Milwaukee in Wisconsin. ... Official language(s) None Capital Madison Largest city Milwaukee Area  Ranked 23rd  - Total 65,498 sq mi (169,790 km²)  - Width 260 miles (420 km)  - Length 310 miles (500 km)  - % water 17  - Latitude 42°30N to 47°3N  - Longitude 86°49W to 92°54W Population  Ranked... Van Nuys is a district within the city of Los Angeles, California, United States. ... The Berkshires (pronounced as or ) is a region located in Western Massachusetts (with portions located in the adjacent states of Vermont, New York, and Connecticut). ... Crescent Meadow in the Giant Forest, called by John Muir the Gem of the Sierras Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Visalia, California in the United States of America. ... Yellowstone National Park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest intact ecosystem in the Earths northern temperate zone. ... Acadia National Park preserves much of Mount Desert Island, and associated smaller islands, off the Atlantic coast of Maine. ... Blue Ridge Mountains, Shining Rock Wilderness Area Appalachian Mountain system The Blue Ridge is a mountain chain in the eastern United States, part of the Appalachian Mountains, forming their eastern front from Georgia to Pennsylvania. ... There is also a non-adjoining national park by the same name in British Columbia. ... For the indigenous American tribe, see Mohave. ... Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, UK A national park is a reserve of land, usually declared and owned by a national government, protected from most human development and pollution. ... Simplified schematic of an islands flora - all its plant species, highlighted in boxes. ... Fauna is a collective term for animal life of any particular region or time. ... Beach at Bahia Honda, Florida Keys, looking east Bahia Honda (meaning deep bay, in Spanish), is an island in the lower Florida Keys. ... Palm trees in Islamorada The Florida Keys is an archipelago of about 1700 islands in the southeast United States. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma or surgery. ... Johnny Eck, born John Eckhardt, Jr. ... American Airlines (AA) is the largest airline in the world in terms of total passengers-miles transported[1] and fleet size [2], and the second-largest airline in the world (behind Air France-KLM) in terms of total operating revenues[3]. A wholly owned subsidiary of the AMR Corporation, the... View of a building at the Getty Center, from the Central Garden. ... Nickname: Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates: , State California County Los Angeles County Settled 1781 Incorporated April 4, 1850 Government  - Type Mayor-Council  - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa  - City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo  - Governing body City Council Area  - City  498. ... Sculpture near the entrance of the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame bills itself as the worlds premier science fiction museum. ... Nickname: Location of Seattle in King County and Washington Coordinates: Country United States State Washington County King County Incorporated December 2 1869 Government  - Type Mayor-council  - Mayor Greg Nickels (NP) Area  - City  142. ... Battlestar Galactica is an American science fiction television series, produced in 1978 by Glen Larson and starring Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict. ... There have been many appearances of various spaceships in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica science fiction series, with the primary means of travel being the FTL drive. ... Six Feet Under is an American television drama created by Alan Ball that was originally broadcast from 2001 to 2005. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Mystery Science Theater 3000, often abbreviated MST3K, is an American cult television comedy series created by Joel Hodgson and produced by Best Brains, Inc. ... John Hodgman John Kellogg Hodgman[1] (born June 1971) is an American author and humorist whose work has been published in the The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine, and McSweeneys Quarterly Concern. ... The Areas of My Expertise is a satirical almanac written by John Hodgman. ... Doug Naylor is a British comedy writer who was born in Manchester, England. ... Rob Grants novel, Colony. ... Edward Richard Morrison Bye is a british film and TV producer and director. ... -1... Starlog is a science-fiction film magazine published by Starlog Group Inc. ... Douglas Trumbull (born April 8, 1942) is a film director and special effects supervisor. ...

See also

  • The article "Special Effects In The Movies" in the 1974 Encyclopedia Britannica "Yearbook of Science and the Future" features detailed information about the production of this film.

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Silent Running - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (648 words)
Silent Running is a science fiction movie made in 1971, directed by Douglas Trumbull and starring Bruce Dern as the protagonist Freeman Lowell.
The science and technology depicted in Silent Running are not always plausible, but Trumbull's special effects are on par with those he created for 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the melancholy message is powerful.
Trumbull had been involved with creating effects for Jupiter for 2001 and these were recycled for Saturn in Silent Running.
Silent Running - definition of Silent Running in Encyclopedia (405 words)
Silent Running is a science fiction movie of 1972, directed by Douglas Trumbull and starring Bruce Dern as the main character Freeman Lowell.
He and three robot companions (Huey, Dewey and Louie) fly through the rings of Saturn, and one robot (#3) is blown away from the ship due to the turbulence of the rings.
A second robot is badly damaged in an accident when lowell runs into it with one of the ships buggies.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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