The future isn’t bright for mankind. Everyone lives in an underground world without ever seeing a shed of light or the possibility to go to the surface for fresh air. The government dominates the people who are told to produce and consume and are nothing more than the numbers with which they are called. Drugs are used to prohibit any own thoughts and emotions. Guards and camera’s are everywhere, watching people and even religion is used to make sure nobody gets the idea to go up against the ruling order.
THX 1138 (Duvall) works at a dangerous assembly line but lately he’s been having emotional problems and has stopped taking certain medications. He falls in love with his female roommate LUH 3417 who has also stopped with the drugs and in front of the camera’s, they fall in each other’s arms. THX gets put in prison because of his actions and ends up with a bunch of other “criminals”. There he meets SEN 5241 (Pleasance) who wants to rebell and escape…
Sound and Vision:
This director’s cut has been completely cleaned up and dirt and scratches have been nicely repaired, giving a pretty decent image quality. Despite some minor non-disturbing grain, the sharpness and contrast are good and there are hardly any compression errors.
The original mono soundtrack has been remastered to fit in a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The dialogues are a bit numb and sound clearly dated but the music and sound effects get nicely portrayed.
– Audio commentary track by George Lucas and Walter Murch
– Theatre of Noise: a 5.1 audio track with the sound effects created by Walter Murch
– Master Sessions with Walter Murch: more background information on the sound effects used in the movie. During the movie there will be short interruptions where Murch gives some info on the techniques he used for the effects at a certain scene
– A Legacy of Filmmakers: The Early Years of American Zoetrope: a rather lengthy and interesting view on how the independent movie studio American Zoetrope became to exist. The feature consists interview fragments with the directors of the studio aswell as archived image footage
– Artifact from the Future: The Making of THX 1138 : recent interviews of cast & crew combined with archived footage to give an overall view on how the movie was produced
– Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB : the original student movie George Lucas created and which formed the basis for this film
– Bald : short production feature in which Francis Ford Coppola interviews George Lucas about the movie including behind the scenes footage where the cast gets shaved bald
THX 1138 isn’t a movie everyone will like. It shows us a world that has a lot of resemblance with “1984” and the storyline is not really simple either. Add to that the fact that this movie is extremely slow and a lot of people already have lost interest. Still, this is a very decent film with good acting and something to think about. “Big Brother is watching” is something that just shouts from the screen.
Warner has done a good job in cleaning up the image quality. Unfortunately, the soundtrack came out a bit less (although we can’t really expect much from something that’s based on a mono track from 1971). Where this release really shines is the extras. There’s ton of them and most are really worth checking out if you’re interested in the American Zoetrope studio and how brilliant young directors like Lucas and Coppola tried to set something up without the pressure of Hollywood.
Definitely a movie to watch but I’m afraid most people will find it a bit too heavy.