Z.P.G. (1972)

PG | 95 or 97 mins | Science fiction | May 1972

Director:

Michael Campus

Producer:

Thomas F. Madigan

Cinematographer:

Michael Reed

Editor:

Dennis Lanning

Production Designer:

Tony Masters

Production Company:

Sagittarius Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The opening title credit dissolves into Z.P.G. from Zero Population Growth , which was a working title for the film. Other working titles were The First of January and The Edict . In a 14 May 72 LAEx article, director Michael Campus stated that the film was influenced by population projections from Dr. Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book The Population Bomb , which predicted imminent worldwide famine due to overpopulation and scarcity of resources.
       Z.P.G. , although produced by an American company, was filmed in Denmark, with interiors shot at Asa Studios in Copenhagen. A 21 Apr 1971 Var "International Sound Track" article noted that Sagittarius Productions president Henry White, upset by lack of adherence to the screenplay, fired several crew members including assistant director Trine Hedman, director of photography Mikael Salomon and Campus. Campus was rehired, but Salomon was replaced by Michael Reed. HR production charts list “Anker,” who is also known as Anker Sørensen, as the editor for the film.
       A 29 Mar 1972 LAEx article noted that Zero Population Growth was an actual organization that promoted the control of population growth through voluntary birth control, not the criminalizing of childbirth. The group sought an injunction preventing the use of its name for the title for the film, but lost the lawsuit. Most reviews of the film were highly critical, suggesting that in addition to poor performances, the ending was over ... More Less

The opening title credit dissolves into Z.P.G. from Zero Population Growth , which was a working title for the film. Other working titles were The First of January and The Edict . In a 14 May 72 LAEx article, director Michael Campus stated that the film was influenced by population projections from Dr. Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book The Population Bomb , which predicted imminent worldwide famine due to overpopulation and scarcity of resources.
       Z.P.G. , although produced by an American company, was filmed in Denmark, with interiors shot at Asa Studios in Copenhagen. A 21 Apr 1971 Var "International Sound Track" article noted that Sagittarius Productions president Henry White, upset by lack of adherence to the screenplay, fired several crew members including assistant director Trine Hedman, director of photography Mikael Salomon and Campus. Campus was rehired, but Salomon was replaced by Michael Reed. HR production charts list “Anker,” who is also known as Anker Sørensen, as the editor for the film.
       A 29 Mar 1972 LAEx article noted that Zero Population Growth was an actual organization that promoted the control of population growth through voluntary birth control, not the criminalizing of childbirth. The group sought an injunction preventing the use of its name for the title for the film, but lost the lawsuit. Most reviews of the film were highly critical, suggesting that in addition to poor performances, the ending was over simplified. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 May 1972.
---
Filmfacts
1972
pp.187-88.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 1971
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 1971
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 1972
p. 3, 19.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
29 Mar 1972.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
14 May 1972.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 May 1972.
---
New York Times
26 May 1972
p. 16.
San Francisco Examiner
7 Apr 1972
p. 30.
Variety
21 Apr 1971.
---
Variety
26 Apr 1972
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod exec
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog
Aerial photog
Stills photog
Still photog
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATORS
Const mgr
Furniture by
Set dresser
COSTUMES
Ward mistress
MUSIC
Mus comp
SOUND
Sd mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff dir
Titles and spec opticals by
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod exec
Prod assoc
Prod mgr
Cont
Scr consultant
Prod accountant
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Zero Population Growth
Z P G
The First of January
ZPG
The Edict
Release Date:
May 1972
Premiere Information:
San Francisco opening: weeking of 7 April 1972
Los Angeles opening: 17 May 1972
New York opening: 25 May 1972
Production Date:
9 March--May 1971 in Copenhagen and at Asa Studios, Denmark
Copyright Claimant:
Sagittarius Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1971
Copyright Number:
LP40870
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color
Duration(in mins):
95 or 97
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
Denmark, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On a grim, smog-engulfed 21st-century Earth, humans are forced to wear atmospheric masks and protective suits to survive the harsh environment. Life is further dehumanized by the state’s constant surveillance and daily meals consisting of synthetically produced entrees delivered in plastic tubes and on trays. Pollution and overpopulation have destroyed most of the natural habitat, necessitating a government edict forbidding humans from procreation for a thirty-year period. To calm the maternal instincts of childless mothers, mechanical doll infants and toddlers are available for adoption at Babyland. Carol and Russ McNeil wait for hours in the long line for the dolls, but are so disturbed by their artificiality and recorded slogans that they abruptly leave and return to work at the Natural Habitat of 20th Century Man, a state-operated facility that showcases replicas of flora and fauna long since extinct, including once-common rabbits, turtles, cats and dogs. As part of the exhibits, Carol and Russ dwell in authentic replicas of 1970s apartments, where they are occasionally on display, allowing visitors to view them dining with their neighbors, George and Edna Borden, simulating 20th-century conversations. One day, Carol seeks the help of a doctor, admitting that she is unable to make love to her husband even with audio-visual erotic aides and that she longs for a child. The stern official reminds her that real motherhood is not a possibility. Later at Twilight City, a retirement community, Carol visits with old friends Dr. Herrick and his wife Mary. The doctor reminisces that the medical establishment cured most diseases, but admits that the resulting population growth has destroyed humanity. Back on the street, Carol witnesses a sector security unit apprehend Thomas and Alice, ... +


On a grim, smog-engulfed 21st-century Earth, humans are forced to wear atmospheric masks and protective suits to survive the harsh environment. Life is further dehumanized by the state’s constant surveillance and daily meals consisting of synthetically produced entrees delivered in plastic tubes and on trays. Pollution and overpopulation have destroyed most of the natural habitat, necessitating a government edict forbidding humans from procreation for a thirty-year period. To calm the maternal instincts of childless mothers, mechanical doll infants and toddlers are available for adoption at Babyland. Carol and Russ McNeil wait for hours in the long line for the dolls, but are so disturbed by their artificiality and recorded slogans that they abruptly leave and return to work at the Natural Habitat of 20th Century Man, a state-operated facility that showcases replicas of flora and fauna long since extinct, including once-common rabbits, turtles, cats and dogs. As part of the exhibits, Carol and Russ dwell in authentic replicas of 1970s apartments, where they are occasionally on display, allowing visitors to view them dining with their neighbors, George and Edna Borden, simulating 20th-century conversations. One day, Carol seeks the help of a doctor, admitting that she is unable to make love to her husband even with audio-visual erotic aides and that she longs for a child. The stern official reminds her that real motherhood is not a possibility. Later at Twilight City, a retirement community, Carol visits with old friends Dr. Herrick and his wife Mary. The doctor reminisces that the medical establishment cured most diseases, but admits that the resulting population growth has destroyed humanity. Back on the street, Carol witnesses a sector security unit apprehend Thomas and Alice, a couple who defied regulation by giving birth to a baby. The floating announcement monitor then broadcasts that the couple and their baby will be executed in the nearby extermination chamber. Distraught, Carol seeks comfort with a collection of family memorabilia and decides to not use the instant abortion machine after she makes love with Russ that night. Meanwhile, Edna and George adopt a mechanical child, but Edna is soon dissatisfied despite her psychiatrist’s attempts to encourage her to love her toddler. As Christmas nears, Carol longs for a real tree, but after being dissuaded by Russ, agrees to purchase a fake tree through Metromart, an in-home shopping network. When the salesman on the display screen flirts with Carol, Russ promptly turns off the monitor before the purchase can be made. Soon after, a guilt-ridden Russ returns home with a real tree that he has cut, despite the danger of being jailed for the crime. Inspired by his show of devotion, Carol tells him that she is pregnant. In order to protect Carol from state detection, they decide that Russ will explain to their friends and co-workers, including Edna and George, that Carol’s distress over childlessness prompted her to leave Russ, while she actually goes into hiding in the bomb shelter under their apartment during the pregnancy. Over the ensuing months, Carol’s isolation in the darkened room causes fights between the couple, but their relationship survives. One day, several weeks before the baby is due, Carol has severe contractions. Unable to seek medical advice from a doctor, Russ researches premature birth at the library, but when government surveillance discovers his inquiry, they interrogate and torture him, trying to assess if he knows of any real infants. After convincing them that his inquiry was a mistake, Russ returns home where he must help Carol through labor without any medical advice. Baby Jessie finally arrives, but is soon taken ill. Desperate for help, Carol sneaks him into Twilight City to visit Herrick, who assures her the baby is healthy. Russ soon announces that Carol has returned to him and that he has adopted a mechanical child to assuage her maternal instincts. Suspicious, Edna follows Carol and soon discovers the real child. Driven by jealousy, Edna and George demand to spend increasing amounts of the time with infant, vowing to inform authorities if Carol and Russ do not submit to their demands. Realizing it is only a matter of time before their neighbors’ growing possessiveness will rise to the level of hysteria, Russ and Carol make an escape plan and dig a tunnel from under their apartment to the site of the extermination chamber. Only days later, Edna and George insist that they take full control of baby Jessie. When Edna grabs the child from Carol and discovers it is the mechanical doll, she smashes it to bits. In their delirium, she and George tell the authorities that Carol and Russ have a child, knowing that they will be sentencing both their friends and the child to death. Once Russ, Carol and Jessie are enclosed in the extermination chamber, they escape through the tunnel under the chamber floor and race to their waiting life raft and supplies. Rowing through the underground sewage canals, Russ, Carol and Jessie finally reach an above-ground waterway that carries them to an abandoned missile site, where they will attempt to start a new life. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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