Production year 1971
Directed by George Lucas
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by George Lucas and Walter Murch
Starring Robert Duval and Donald Pleasence
Released in the same year as the last Film Club presentation Klute, this ultra low budget sci-fi allegory is the first feature by George Lucas - perhaps the single most influential figure in popular culture of the late 20th century.
Lucas developed the script from his 1967
student film made at USC. It is set in a dystopian, ‘Brave New World’ type
future where android robots police a population whose desires are kept
sublimated by the enforced use of mind altering drugs. One man known as THX 1138 breaks the rules and is pursued
by the authorities for his crime…
Cleverly shot using existing Californian locations to double for futuristic cityscapes the film is in stark contrast to Lucas’ high-tech Star Wars trilogy. It stars Robert Duvall – one of the finest actors of his generation who would go on to appear in some of the key films of the 1970s.
Lucas made the movie with Francis Coppola’s new production company Zoetrope and once completed they took it to Warner Brothers. Warners hated the film and demanded that it was cut by five minutes and that the money they had loned Coppola be repaid. This nearly bankrupted the operation. He was also made to take on another project – The Godfather – he did so unwillingly and then went on to make one of the greatest American films of the period.
THX had a poor reception from the critics but has since become regarded as a cult classic. As for its director – his next film was American Graffiti – a big commercial hit which enabled him to bankroll Star Wars in 1977 – the rest is history…