Film Box Retrospective: THX 1138 with Kathleen Ellison

October 4th, 2012

photos courtesy of

I have a huge respect for the science fiction genre. They’re the type of movies that really challenge society and show us what the world is and could be. So while perusing the science fiction section I was struck by the title “THX 1138,” which reminded me of “Brave New World.” I was even more surprised by the fact that it was a George Lucas film. Being a fan of “Star Wars” and “Brave New World” this movie seemed like a win-win situation for me.

The 1971 film stars Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, and Maggie McOmie and features them in a dystopian society where people are controlled by the use of narcotics and robotic cops. In this society consumerism is all important and everyone worships the same deity, OMM 0910. THX 1138 (Duvall) is a factory worker who helps make robots, and lives with his roommate LUH 3417 (McOmie). Unbeknownst to THX, LUH has decided to stop taking her drugs and switched THX’s drugs with fakes. Eventually THX starts to feel real emotions, including certain feelings for LUH.

The movie’s cinematography lends a hypnotic feel to it, and is aided by the background conversations in setting a futuristic tone, more so than any special effects. The costume design, which I adored, has all of the citizens wearing the same white clothes and the same shaved hair style; it really creates a sense of uniformity that is almost unnerving.

I do admit that the movie is very confusing at times due to dialogue and slow pacing.  In a way this confusion contributes to the movie because it is not our world and thus it forces us to try to understand how society could reach this point. The general plot and dialogue is a little above mediocre, but the themes in it are very vivid.

All in all this is not a movie for the fainthearted. It is one of those movies that are more enjoyable for the thematic points and intellectual digestion. It’s a short movie and I strongly suggest anyone who enjoys George Lucas or “Brave New World” to watch it, just don’t have big expectations.

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Posted in: A&E

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