THX 1138

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THX 1138 is a 1971 science fiction film directed by George Lucas, from a screenplay by Lucas and Walter Murch. It depicts a dystopian future in which a high level of control is exerted upon the populace through omnipresent, faceless, android police officers and mandatory, regulated use of special drugs to suppress emotion, including sexual desire.

THX 1138 was the first feature-length film directed by Lucas, developed from his student film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB, which he made in 1967 while attending the University of Southern California. This short film was itself based on a one and a quarter page treatment of an idea by Matthew Robbins.[citation needed] The feature film was produced in a joint venture between Warner Brothers and Francis Ford Coppola's new production company, American Zoetrope. A novelization by Ben Bova was published in 1971.

Contents

Plot

The film is set in an underground city of the future, where sexual intercourse is outlawed and use of mind-altering drugs is mandatory. Narcotics are critical both in maintaining compliance among the city's residents and also for ensuring their ability to conduct dangerous and demanding tasks for long periods of time. The inhabitants worship a godlike being known as "OMM 0910", with whom they commune in telephone booth-like areas known as "Unichapels". We see SEN 5241 (Donald Pleasence) and LUH 3417 (Maggie McOmie) at their jobs, which involve keeping surveillance on the city's many residents and fielding questions from them (most questions deal with drug intake).

THX 1138 (Robert Duvall) works in a factory producing androids that function as police officers. The work is hazardous as it requires handling explosive and radioactive material. LUH, THX's female roommate, becomes disillusioned and makes a conscious decision to break the law and stop taking her drugs, and subsequently secretly substitutes inactive pills for THX's medications. As the drug's effects wear off, THX finds himself experiencing authentic emotions and sexual desire for the first time. At first conflicted and nauseated, he eventually connects with LUH. Knowing that their relationship is illegal, THX must decide whether to return to using the prescribed drugs, or escape with LUH. He knows that he will not be able to function without his drugs while at his demanding job, but he does not want to lose what he has created with LUH. They consider an escape to the "superstructure", where they hope to be able to live in freedom. Before they can attempt this escape THX is confronted by SEN. Using his position as LUH's superior, he changes her shift. Confronted by THX, SEN admits that he wants THX as his new roommate. Returning to work, but still not taking drugs, THX files a complaint against SEN for the illegal shift change. Without drugs in his system, THX falters during critical and hazardous phases of his job. The city's authorities discover THX's and LUH's crimes of sexual intercourse and drug evasion (Because of a bureaucratic snafu, THX is briefly "mind-locked" while at a critical juncture of android construction - this almost leads to disaster.) THX and LUH are arrested for their crimes.

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