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From dKosopedia

THX 1138 is a 1969 dystopian science fiction film released in 1971. The film follows two residents of a future society where a high level of control is exerted upon the residents through the ever-presence of faceless, android police-officers and the mandatory, regulated use of special drugs that eliminate emotion and sexual desire. See YouTube Trailer.

The film shares themes with The Machine Stops, Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Fahrenheit 451, and was inspired in part by the short film 21-87. A novelization of the film by Ben Bova was published in 1971.



The film consists of three acts. In the first, we are introduced to daily life in the underground dystopia through the central character, THX 1138 (Robert Duvall), a nuclear production line worker. All emotions are suppressed in THX's world through the compulsory use of Soma. However, THX's female roommate, LUH 3417, has stopped taking her drugs, and secretly substitutes inactive pills for THX's medications. As the drug's effects wear off, THX finds himself experiencing emotions and sexual desire for the first time. He and LUH begin a loving relationship, and plan to escape to the "superstructure", where they hope to be able to live in freedom. Before they can attempt this escape they are arrested and charged with "sex crimes" and "drug violations."

The second act sees THX incarcerated for his crimes in a white limbo world along with a collection of other prisoners, including Donald Pleasence as SEN 5241 – a sinister technician who has been using his programming skills to try and replace LUH as THX's roommate and who is, himself a 'prisoner' of the limbo because THX reported him for said programming violations. Some of SEN's dialogue is taken from speeches by Richard Nixon <ref>Template:Cite video</ref>. The outlook and content of this section of the film is somewhat reminiscent of the work of Samuel Beckett. Most of the prisoners seem uninterested in escape, but eventually THX and SEN decide to find an exit. They encounter SRT (Don Pedro Colley), a (tangible) hologram who has become disenchanted with his role in the society and is making an attempt to escape. Upon exiting the limbo, THX attempts to find LUH and learns that her identity has been reassigned to a fetus in a growth chamber. This indicates that she has been considered "incurable" and killed. Separated from the other two fugitives, SEN makes a tentative exploration of the limits of the city's underground network. Cowed by what he sees, he returns to the city and is captured by the authorities.

The third act is an extended escape sequence, featuring a futuristic and often-copied car-chase sequence through a tunnel network. THX and SRT steal two cars, but the latter immediately crashes. THX flees to the limits of the city's underground road network while being chased by android police, and eventually locates an access tunnel that leads up to the surface. The police pursue THX up the ladder, but the expense of his capture exceeds its budget, compelling the police to retreat, leaving THX to climb out and stand, for the first time, in the harsh surface sunlight. As THX stands before the setting sun, birds intermittently fly overhead, indicating that life is possible on the surface.


In order to emphasize the dehumanizing nature of the world of THX 1138, Lucas insisted that most of the actors and actresses in the film shave their heads, with some characters going completely bald, while others were allowed to maintain a buzz cut. As a publicity stunt, Lucas arranged for several actors to get their first haircuts/shaves at unusual venues, and have this filmed for later use in a tongue-in-cheek promotional featurette entitled Bald. Robert Duvall had his head shaved while watching a baseball game, while his co-star, Maggie McOmie, had hers done in a scenic park location. Another actor, who would later play an insane man in the film, was allowed to cut off his own hair and was filmed doing so in a bathtub. The Bald featurette was included in the 2004 DVD release. Many of the extras seen in the film were recruited from the addiction recovery program Synanon, most of whose members had shaved heads.

The chase scene featured Lola or Lola T70 Mk.IIIs with dummy turbine engines racing through two San Francisco Bay Area automotive tunnels: the Caldecott Tunnel between Oakland and Orinda, and the underwater Posey Tube between Oakland and Alameda, California. The final climb out to the daylight was actually filmed, with the camera rotated 90 degrees, in the incomplete (and decidedly horizontal) BART Transbay Tube before installation of the track supports, with the characters using exposed reinforcing bars as a ladder.


THX 1138 References in other films

External links

Seeded from Wikipedia

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This page was last modified 22:12, 28 January 2007 by dKosopedia user VSerge. Based on work by dKosopedia user(s) M-246. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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