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THX-Huh? What? 38 (1 Viewer)

Travis Brashear

Screenwriter
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Oct 31, 1999
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Here's a question about an issue that has always bothered me, and now that I've just picked up the limited edition soundtrack CD to the film, I'm reminded of it all over again...

Very early in the film THX-1138, one of the disembodied voices of the Orwellian surveillance mechanisms (perhaps it is "OMM", I'm fuzzy on this), asks a question that sounds like this: "Are you now, or have you ever been, [unintelligible]?" No matter how many times I replay this sequence, I simply cannot make out what this final word is (and let's be fair, Walter Murch's atmospheric sound design doesn't exactly help for issues of sonic clarity! ;) ), and my letterboxed LaserDisc doesn't have closed-captioning encoded on it. I have also consulted the original screenplay, which does not make any reference to this dialogue, so apparently, it was a post-production addition on the part of Murch. The aforementioned CD I purchased has a rear insert cover filled with a collage of varied lines from the film but, perplexingly, they list the line as simply, "Are you now, or have you ever been?", which doesn't follow for me since a) you can distinctly make out another spoken word after "been", even if you can't distinctly make out what that word is, he he (though perhaps this mystery word is part of a seperate, one-word sentence, and not the end of the previous line?), and b) this makes for a non-sequitur sentence. Admittedly, many people might argue that the entire film of THX-1138 is a non-sequitur, but I'd still argue such a line would seem superfluous, since it is utterly without meaning or sense. So, to keep a long question short (too late, I know), does anyone have a closed-captioned VHS tape of this film that might shed some light on this mystery? Thanks to anyone who takes pity on me and at least tries...
 

Peter Apruzzese

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Peter Apruzzese
Perhaps they were making an allusion to a very famous line of questioning from the Communist witch hunts of the early 1950s:

"Are you now, or have you ever been, a Communist?"
 

Alex Spindler

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Jan 23, 2000
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I believe the total quote is just that, "Are you now, or have you ever been."

I've seen it listed in several people's quote files just as such. And I'm pretty sure it is at least partly in reference to the "Communist" quote of the 1950's.
 

Brad Hood

Agent
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Messages
36
This is just a guess.

I have Lucas' student film Electronic Labyrinth (TXH 1138 4EB) on DVD. There is a scene early in the film where they are interviewing 1138's mate, and she says, "We were never in love like that. We were the ideal mates. You know that."

Maybe the question is, "Are you now, or have you ever been, in love?"

I don't own THX 1138, and I haven't seen it in a while, but I seem to remember that his medication wasn't controlling his "urges."

Just a thought.

Brad
 

Travis Brashear

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 31, 1999
Messages
1,175
Brad, a-ha, now we're on to something! I'll have to give that another listen when I get home, 'cuz that sounds like it could possibly be a winner (though the line does take place before THX passes the drug withdrawal phase and actually begins to feel passion for LUH, hmmm)...

Peter, I'm sure you're on to something by saying Lucas is likely making a play on that scenario, but alternately, I'm positive the voice in THX isn't saying "Communist"...

Alex, I just can't swallow that because, again, a) the line would be a non-sequitur, and as odd as the film is, no other lines in it are as devoid of any and all sense, and b) there is definitely, certainly, assuredly some other word being said after "been"...now whether that word is a part of the "have you...ever been?" line or a seperate clause is certainly unclear, but if it is the latter, then I redirect you to complaint a).


By the way, Brad, I also own the ELECTRONIC LABYRINTH DVD...nice, isn't it?
 

Kevin M

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Yeah, I wondered how many posts it would take before the Lucas bashing began...:rolleyes
 

Karl_Luph

Supporting Actor
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Apr 5, 2002
Messages
974
Alittle off topic, but today as I watched "American Graffetti" I noticed John Milner's roadster had the license plate THX-38.
 

Phil Florian

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 10, 2001
Messages
1,188
Oh, not Lucas bashing. I liked THX-1138 (at least a decade ago when I last saw it). Just wondering if he feels ALL of his movies made prior to "Howard the Duck" were considered works-in-progress.

Phil
 

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