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THX 1138 (1971)

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Set in the 25th century, the story centers around a man and a woman who rebel against their rigidly controlled society.

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(story), (earlier screenplay) | 2 more credits »
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
THX
...
SEN
...
SRT
Maggie McOmie ...
LUH
...
PTO
...
TWA
...
NCH
John Pearce ...
DWY
Irene Cagen ...
IMM (as Irene Forrest)
Gary Alan Marsh ...
CAM
John Seaton ...
OUE
Eugene I. Stillman ...
JOT
Jack Walsh ...
TRG (as Raymond J. Walsh)
Mark Lawhead ...
...
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Storyline

In an undefined future, a dystopian underground society is oriented to production and consumption in the malls. The population is controlled by drugs and people do not feel affection or sympathy for others. Sexual intercourse is absolutely forbidden and roommates are chosen by a computer. Faceless androids are responsible for the surveillance of the behavior of the dwellers and people pray in Unichapels for their god OMM 0910 that responds through recorded electronic messages. The worker THX 1138 handles radioactive materials in a factory and lives with his roommate LUH 3417. When she decides to stop using drugs, she becomes lucid and replaces the drugs of her partner for harmless pills. THX becomes emotional again and falls in love with LUH. He plans to escape with LUH to the superstructure, where they expect to live in freedom. But when SEN 5241 manipulates the computer to live with THX, he reports a complaint to the authorities and SEN is arrested. When THX commits a mistake in his... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Future is here. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 March 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

THX-1138  »

Box Office

Budget:

$777,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (1971 Studio Theatrical Cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Officials at Warner Bros. did not like the finished film. They cut the film and reduced the marketing budget. See more »

Goofs

During the car chase, THX's car is shown from the front stopping in the right-hand lane of two. A subsequent shot showing a monitor has the car from the rear, stopped in the left-hand lane. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Male voice (medicine cabinet): What's wrong?
THX 1138: Nothing. Nothing really. I just feel that I need something stronger.
Male voice (medicine cabinet): If you have a problem, don't hesitate to ask for assistance.
THX 1138: Yes, thank you, I'll be alright.
Male voice (medicine cabinet): Call 3485...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Warner Bros. logo is preceded by a trailer for a Buck Rogers serial (or in early versions, a one-minute scene from Things to Come (1936)). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Great Bolshy Yarblockos! Making 'A Clockwork Orange' (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Elevator Music
(uncredited)
from the Miracle in the Rain (1956) score
Composed by Franz Waxman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
2004 - More Than a Curiosity Piece
20 August 2004 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

This movie has been seen by most film buffs many, many years ago on late night TV. If you are like me, it was an interesting film purely as a reference point for a young George Lucas. If you remembered it at all, it was for the use of white space and the long periods during which almost nothing discernible happens.

Well, it is almost 35 years later (35 YEARS!) and for reasons best known to film and DVD marketers, George Lucas has pulled it out of the vaults. Instead of just transferring the original print to new film stock, Lucas has re-cut several critical scenes; added a tasteful bit of CGI; zipped up the sound track and film score; and, best of all, turned it into the best reason yet for digital projection. Whether this is the original version he had in his head as a 26-year-old or one that he has fleshed out over the years is sort of beside the point. What is on the screen now is definitely worth your $10.

Yes, it is still a bit tedious at times (in a '2001: A Space Odyssey' kind of way) and, yes, the plot holes and infamous continuity issues are still there.

But, Wow! The plot is a weird stew in which an allegorical Adam and Eve story is crossed with 'Brave New World.' (The Catholic act of confession will never be the same after you see it re-imagined here.) The crystal clear cinematography is a revelation. The characters' multiple layers are wonderful. Donald Pleasence's performance as the would-be leader/rebel is downright creepy. The way the camera lingers on a scene rather than quick cutting for effect is a welcome relief. This is adult subject matter and it is not what you expect out of Lucas. You have to ask why he didn't pursue themes like this in later films. (Who knows, maybe the upcoming Darth Vader fest will return us to the dark side.)

Be forewarned, this is not a casual film that you can sit back and munch popcorn while it plays out in front of you. This is definitely art-house fare by a young director finding his chops.

Many of the message boards and most of the reviews of this film point out how many elements carry over to later Lucas films. (C3PO, the climactic chase scene, drones in service to masters, etc.) For me, the touchstone is not for Lucas, but for the Executive Producer, Francis Ford Coppola. Many of the themes explored in THX show up in Coppola's 'The Conversation' three years later. Gene Hackman's Harry Caul character is a clone of Robert Duvall's loner forced to confront a faceless progenitor. See if you don't agree.

Though they are releasing the film to theaters ahead of the DVD release, the place to see it is in a theater with digital projection. Similar to 'Lawrence of Arabia,' much of the action takes place in the far corners of the scene and I can't imagine seeing this on anything less than a very large HDTV screen.


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That damn CGI! thgl619
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