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Film / All the Troubles of the World

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A 1978 Science Fiction Short Film directed by Dianne Haak, based on "All the Troubles of the World", the Short Story by Isaac Asimov. Runtime is under 23 minutes.

After the Title Sequence, the film shifts to Mike Manners's graduation ceremony with his younger brother Ben. Mike is a "swear", a child preparing to swear their allegiance to the government. During the ceremony, Randolph T Hoch explains a number of aspects of their society. He explains how Multivac stores all knowledge and uses that knowledge to prevent crime, indirectly ending punishment as well.

Scene change to Chairman Bernard Gulliman's office, who calls Corrections officer Barbara Hammond to demand that she not allow any first-degree murders. Sounding tired, Hammond explains what's being done to prevent those crimes from occuring. Satisfied with her answer, Gulliman hangs up. Hammond and her partner Leemy talk about an unspecified crime and the scene shifts back to the graduation ceremony.

Hoch explains how each adult's information forms a picture for Multivac allowing it to predict and protect them before the scene changes back to Hammond's office, where she and Rafe Leemy are discussing "this", and The End of the World as We Know It. Chairman Gulliman calls again, asking for crime figures and suggesting that Multivac's predictions should be expanded to predicting medical issues. Hammond agrees, and Gulliman again hangs up. Hammond and Leemy talk about the unspecified crime, the murder of Multivac.

Ben and Mike arrive home after Joseph Manners has been put under house arrest. The family worries together before the scene goes back to officer Hammond pacing in her office. The likelihood of Multivac's murder has risen. They discuss telling the Chairman, and Hammond orders Rafe to arrest Joseph Manners so they can see what happens to the probabilities.

With his father taken away by Corrections, Ben sneaks out of the house and goes to talk with Multivac. When Leemy mentions this to Hammond, she realizes Multivac is reporting Ben's attempt at assassination, not Joe's.

All the Troubles of the World provides examples of:

  • Computer Voice: Multivac's voice is a light tenor with a reverberation added.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Ali Othrnan's character is Gender Flipped and renamed Barbara Hammond.
  • Future Slang: The graduating class of adults are called "swears", because they are swearing service to The Government.
  • Gender Flip: Corrections officer Ali Othrnan is changed to a female character and renamed Barbara Hammond.
  • Glad I Thought of It: In Chairman Gulliman's second video call, he demands that Hammond design a study for Multivac solving medical probabilities. After the call, Hammond points out to Leemy that a study on Multivac's analysis ability to predict medical problems had been created six months ago, and now the Chairman was going to take credit for the idea of commissioning the study.
  • Master Computer: The Montage of computer parts during the opening and closing credits is supposed to give the audience a sense of Multivac's scale.
  • Montage: During the opening and closing credits, the camera shifts between pans of different computer parts, such as logic boards, switchboards, flashy lights, and tape drives. This gives the audience a sense of Multivac's scale.
  • One World Order: Nations appear to have been dissolved; there is only "the government" and regional managers of the government. As part of the Setting Update, the regions are no longer named for the audience.
  • Silent Credits: During most of the closing credits Montage, Multivac is saying "I want to die" while electronic background music creates a creepy sound. When the tapedrives stop, all sound stops with it, implying Mutivac's death as the last credit appears and the screen fades to black. Like most examples of this trope, none of the actors are given nominal credit for their role.
  • Setting Update: References to Baltimore and DC have been removed, creating a more timeless story that would translate better to other areas.
  • Technicolor Science: The various computer parts shown during the opening and closing credits include flashing lights and strange dials. The colours are mostly red, green, and beige.
  • Typeset in the Future: The title is displayed in font designed for computer-reading characters, but the credits use a plainer typeset that are more universal.
  • Video Phone: Chairman Gulliman and officer Hammond both have small boxes at their desks that can connect at the push of a button to convey video and sound between their offices.
  • Wham Line: After explaining the assassination attempt to Gulliman, Hammond asks Multivac what motivated its Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of destruction. The story ends with Multivac admitting it wants to die, over and over again, by voice and video and print.
    "I want to die."
    "I want to die."
    "I want to die."
    "I want to die."