THX-1138 Original Cut (1971)

This original cut of THX1138 is prophetic in its prediction of the future. It understands the human condition. The production is subtle and beautiful. All the actors are at the very top of their game. This is George Lucas’ magnum opus. Unfortunately, the man lost it a couple decades later, and butchered THX1138 into the “director’s cut” full of senseless CGI and modifications to the story. Literally everyone hates the “director’s cut”. There was one laser disc of the original cut, but after that the only thing available on home video has been the “director’s cut”

Before Star Wars, director George Lucas created this haunting vision of the future starring Academy Award winner Robert Duvall.In the 25th century, humans exist in a computer-controlled subterranean world where emotions are outlawed, mind-numbing drugs are mandated and no one has a name, only an alphanumeric designation. But one man, THX 1138 (Duvall), secretly resists his drug regimen and commits the cardinal crime against the state–he experiences love.

THX 1138 is Happening Now

THX 1138 is a 1971 American social science fiction film cowritten and directed by George Lucas in his directorial debut. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola and cowritten by Walter Murch, the film stars Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence, with Don Pedro ColleyMaggie McOmie, and Ian Wolfe in supporting roles. The film is set in a dystopian future in which the citizens are controlled by android police and mandatory use of drugs that suppress emotions.

THX 1138 was developed from Lucas’s 1967 student film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB, which he created while attending the USC School of Cinematic Arts. The feature film was produced in a joint venture between Warner Bros. and American Zoetrope. A novelization by Ben Bova was published in 1971.

The film received mixed reviews from critics and underperformed at the box office upon its initial release,[3] but it has subsequently received critical acclaim and gained a cult following, particularly in the aftermath of Lucas’s success with Star Wars (1977). A director’s cut prepared by Lucas was released in 2004.

In the dystopian future, sexual intercourse and reproduction are prohibited, and mind-altering drugs are mandatory to enforce compliance among the citizens and to ensure their ability to conduct dangerous and demanding tasks. Emotions and the concept of family are taboo. Workers wear identical white uniforms and have shaven heads to emphasize uniformity, likewise with police androids who wear black and monks who are robed. Instead of names, people have designations with three arbitrary letters (referred to as the “prefix”) and four digits, shown on an identity badge worn at all times.

At their jobs in central video control centers, SEN 5241 and LUH 3417 keep surveillance on the city. LUH has a male roommate named THX 1138, who works in a factory producing android police officers. At the beginning of the story, THX finishes his shift while the loudspeakers urge the workers to “increase safety”—and congratulate them for only losing 195 workers in the last period—to the competing factory’s 242.

On the way home, he stops at a confession booth in a row of many, and relates his concerns and mumbles prayers about “party” and “masses”, under the Jesus Christ-esque portrait of “OMM 0000”. A soothing voice greets THX, and OMM ends the confession with a parting salutation: “You are a true believer, blessings of the State, blessings of the masses. Work hard, increase production, prevent accidents, and be happy.”

At home, THX takes his drugs and watches holobroadcasts while engaging with a masturbatory device. LUH secretly substitutes pills in her possession for THX’s medications, causing him to develop nausea, anxiety, and sexual desires. LUH and THX become involved romantically and have sex. THX later is confronted by SEN, who attempts to arrange that THX become his new roommate, but THX files a complaint against SEN for the illegal shift pattern change.

Without drugs in his system, THX falters during a critical and hazardous phase of his job, and a control center engages a “mind lock” on THX which raises the level of danger. After the release of the mind lock, THX makes the necessary correction to that work phase. THX and LUH are arrested and THX undergoes drug therapy and medical analysis. He enjoys a brief reunion with LUH, but it is disrupted shortly after she reveals her pregnancy.

At THX’s trial, it is stated that THX was clinically born. It is decided that it would be inefficient to terminate THX, so THX is sentenced to prison, alongside SEN. The prison appears to be an all white space with no walls. One of the prisoners is a “shell dweller”, later called a “Wookiee”. The other prisoners seem uninterested in escape. THX and SEN walk to search for an exit. They walk and walk, with only a white space to be seen all around them. Eventually they are joined by hologram actor SRT 5752, who starred in the holobroadcasts. SRT 5752 shows them the exit and suggests to them that they may have been going in circles. During the escape, THX and SRT are separated from SEN. Chased by the police androids, THX and SRT are trapped in a control center, from which THX learns that LUH has been “consumed”, and her name has been reassigned to her fetus, numbered 66691, in a growth chamber. SEN eventually escapes to an area reserved for the monks of OMM, where a monk notices that SEN has no identification badge. SEN attacks him and later wanders into a child-rearing area, strikes up a conversation with children, and sits aimlessly until police androids apprehend him. THX and SRT steal two cars. SRT struggles to figure out how to drive the car. When SRT finally gets the car to move, SRT immediately crashes his car into a concrete pillar. After the crash, SRT is not found in the vehicle.

Pursued by two police androids on motorcycles, THX flees to the limits of the city. Android officers continue to pursue him as he briefly struggles with simian-like creatures identified as shell dwellers and arrives at a vertical shaft with an escape ladder. The android officers are ordered by Central Command to cease pursuit, on the grounds that the expense of his capture exceeds their allocated budget for THX. The officers inform THX that the area outside the “city shell” is uninhabitable in a last-ditch attempt to convince him to surrender, but he is undeterred and continues up the ladder. The city is then revealed to be entirely underground, and THX has escaped onto the surface, where he witnesses the Sun setting.

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