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THX-1138 (1st Director’s Cut) 35mm Grindhouse Edition.

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As you may know, thxita, a member on the board, recently obtained a 35mm IB print of THX 1138. This print is from Italy so all the titles, and computer screens are translated into Italian and the sound contains the Italian dub. The print has been scanned and is currently being cleaned up by Poita and Harmy has expressed interest in creating a ‘despecialized’ version.

While their efforts will help create the best version of this film whose original version has little chance of seeing the light of day, I thought it would be nice to take what we have so far and whip up a quick and dirty English version for people to enjoy now. Poita recently released a file containing the whole scan as-is, and I took this and made an English version.

I used the laserdisc as a point of reference for this sync because it’s the only official release of the original version of the film. In a sense, I felt this to be the closest thing to a ‘GOUT’ that THX has. This is the 1st director’s cut of the film that was released after the success of Star Wars; the 35mm print, however, is the 1971 theatrical cut. The only changes between the two are re-arranged scenes in the middle and a shortened scene towards the end between SEN and a couple of young children (and by short, it’s only about 5 seconds shorter). I decided to maintain the edit of the laserdisc version because it was easier to simply edit the footage to the laserdisc than trying to edit both the 35 and the laserdisc and moving both around. I’ve viewed both versions of the film and to be honest, it doesn’t change much. The scenes in question are independent of each other and don’t enhance or take away from the overall narrative. At worst, these edits change our views about how quickly this futuristic society expedites criminals or tortures them prior to trial depending on which version you watch. I just say: meh.

Here are some additional notes:

  1. The first 3 minutes of the film were taken from the bluray version. This includes Buck Rodgers, the Warner Bros logo, the Zeotrope logo, the intro titles and a close up of a clock. At first, I was going to just leave the laserdisc footage, but Buck Rodgers looks particularly bad on the LD and three minutes is a long time to look at badly upscaled LD captures.

  2. Any additional missing footage though is filled in with the laserdisc. This is much easier to do since the laserdisc footage was already laying under the 35 footage in my timeline and any gaps in the 35 timeline is replaced by the laserdisc footage. These last from a mere few frames to a few seconds at a reel change. I really didn’t feel like pulling out my hair to splice in frames from other sources and I prefer this to black frames. Plus, this helps show the difference between this and the LD and what footage is missing from the print and what any future restorer will need from alternate sources. I also might have missed a few frame splices here and there and the sync may slightly go out here and there.

  3. I replaced all of the Italian info screens with the laserdisc. The Bluray uses new computer screens so that was worthless anyway. A future restoration might be able to use the 16mm print that Poita scanned.

  4. I own a really old Macbook so this was done on iMovie 10. I wanted to work on this in Resolve, but my computer couldn’t handle it. Please don’t expect anything fancy from this release. It’s really just a quick job in case anyone was dying to see it (crickets).

If anyone would like it, you need to go over to a certain human anatomy website…

What’s the internal temperature of a TaunTaun? Luke warm.

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Could you post a few screenshots? Something from the BD, something from the LD, and something from the print?

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Mavimao said:

If anyone would like it, please shoot me a PM.

PM sent.

Wazzles said:

Could you post a few screenshots? Something from the BD, something from the LD, and something from the print?

That would be cool.

Army of Darkness: The Medieval Deadit | The Terminator - Color Regrade | The Wrong Trousers - Audio Preservation
SONIC RACES THROUGH THE GREEN FIELDS.
THE SUN RACES THROUGH A BLUE SKY FILLED WITH WHITE CLOUDS.
THE WAYS OF HIS HEART ARE MUCH LIKE THE SUN. SONIC RUNS AND RESTS; THE SUN RISES AND SETS.
DON’T GIVE UP ON THE SUN. DON’T MAKE THE SUN LAUGH AT YOU.

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Screenshots (Top to bottom, 35 - BD - LD):

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Notice how on the Bluray, the background has been digitally “enhanced”? Who is he even looking at??

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What’s the internal temperature of a TaunTaun? Luke warm.

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As that was shot on a breakwater, he’s probably looking at some nude sunbathing hippies. 😉

I need to visit that spot someday, and see if I can find those rocks. Would be something if they haven’t changed after all this time!

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Do you know the GPS co-ordinates? Then we can see what’s there now, from the online maps.


“Your love of the halflings’ leaf has clearly slowed your mind”

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I have a good idea, based on what was said on the DVD commentary. (I used to live fairly close by many years ago.) The area is not accessible by car, so there would be a lot of walking involved. And you don’t want be out there when the waves are big.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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I’m very interested how the real print looks like from 70-s. Love the real film, the sense of analogue “breath”, not digital “flat”. Thank you for work. Send a PM to Mavimao, waiting for response.

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Send me a PM and I can help you out with the Italian 35mm version.

Donations welcome: paypal.me/poit
bitcoin:13QDjXjt7w7BFiQc4Q7wpRGPtYKYchnm8x
Help get The Original Trilogy preserved!

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Hi! Lucas is my hero, and I am dying to see a version of his first movie that isn’t dog shit. Could you send a link to download a copy of the transfer?

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I would love to see this. Could you please send me a download link? Many thanks.

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I found this version of mspleen:

Thanks to AMPS, poita, and AntcuFaalb for the wonderful release of the THX-1138 1971 theatrical 16mm scan.

This is a 720p reconstruction of the color film based on that scan of the, as far as we know, original version of the film. It is synced essentially frame by frame to the scan, with minor accommodations made once or twice.

This reconstruction (which is not despecialized, but unspecalized as to not mislead people into expecting Harmy level quality here) contains the 16mm audio track. Video is sourced from the Blu-ray and from csd79’s wonderful cleanup of the LD. With some pestering for advice from DrDre on the OT forums, I’ve used the Infognition SR plugin to upscale the LD to 720p. It looks decent at times, but there are a few shots that still stand out quite a bit. The upgrade is no where near what his SW script does. The Blu-ray color timing has been adjusted in different ways to try to better mesh sources as it is strongly tinted blue at times. Thanks to age, who produced LUTs for adjusting the Star Wars Blu-ray color timing. In some dark and blue scenes from this film, they work as well.

Container: mp4
Video: 720p H264 (Blu-ray / LD / 16mm)
Audio: AAC (16mm)

Runtime: 1:26:05

So basically this is the 1971 “studio” version. Now I also found on myspleen laserdisc rips, this is the 1978 “Lucas” version.

But is there a version that basically does the exact same thing as that 1971 restoration but restores the 1978 version as opposed to the 1971 release?

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I’d love to chime in on any effort. I’m very good with Adobe Premiere Pro and know a little After Effects. Bosses, any way I could help out with the slow, manual tedium of such a restoration.

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Class316 said:

But is there a version that basically does the exact same thing as that 1971 restoration but restores the 1978 version as opposed to the 1971 release?

From what I remember, and what was established here in a few posts, the 1971 release is the same as the 1978 re-release. Am I mistaken?

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THX11384EB said:

Class316 said:

But is there a version that basically does the exact same thing as that 1971 restoration but restores the 1978 version as opposed to the 1971 release?

From what I remember, and what was established here in a few posts, the 1971 release is the same as the 1978 re-release. Am I mistaken?

No, they are slightly different: in the middle, the trial scenes are rearranged and there is an extended scene with SEN talking to the young boys… but that’s it.

Nothing like the “scandal” that George Lucas has alluded to in interviews.

What’s the internal temperature of a TaunTaun? Luke warm.

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THX11384EB said:

Class316 said:

But is there a version that basically does the exact same thing as that 1971 restoration but restores the 1978 version as opposed to the 1971 release?

From what I remember, and what was established here in a few posts, the 1971 release is the same as the 1978 re-release. Am I mistaken?

As stated, similar yes. But not exactly.

Also, this restoration seems to take the ending from the blu ray which is an eyesore. The laserdisc ending is MUCH better. You can hardly see the bird flying by in the blu ray ending.

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Mavimao said:

No, they are slightly different: in the middle, the trial scenes are rearranged and there is an extended scene with SEN talking to the young boys… but that’s it.

Nothing like the “scandal” that George Lucas has alluded to in interviews.

Correct, and better worded than my post. Lucas made such a stink about it being drastically different.

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Mavimao sent me the file, and I think it’s amazing.

There are two reasons I can never watch the blu-ray:

  1. The CGI elements (and added original footage) annoy the piss out of me. They distract from the focus.
  2. The audio mix sucks. The original two-channel is by far a better, immersive experience.

The blu-ray boasts superior picture quality, as I’m sure you’ve noticed if you’re reading this. That’s the only benefit to the blu-ray I can surmise, but for the above reasons I find it unwatchable.

Til now I’ve only had a badly made transfer of the laserdisc, non-anamorphic, almost unwatchable. Mavimao’s transfer makes it watchable again. The grit and noise are not unpleasant, and certainly add to the 70’s grittiness and visceral reality which this film exudes. Coupled with the laserdisc soundtrack, kudos and a slow clap (“well done, sir”) for the capture, transfer, and synchronization of this vintage celluloid and sharing it with the world. As of this writing, and in my opinion, this is the only watchable and listenable version.

I should qualify that I’m a sound nerd, I’ve done sound for a living and that end matters as much if not more than the video to me. I currently have two CD edits of the soundtrack, should anyone be interested. One by myself, edited from laserdisc elements, which I consider obsolete as of this video edit, unless you want one for audio-only listening. It’s 33 tracks and 1:01 hours long. The other is a collection made by Dolor Del Estamago records, a noise avant garde label from san francisco, presented more as a sound effects album. It sounds pretty different from mine in tonal quality… maybe a bit better. Perhaps taken from a VHS rental? I don’t know. It’s 29 tracks and 1:15 hours long. Discogs has info on that, and I can share either if interested, PM me.

Back to the video, I am grateful to have been given a chance to see and hear this. As I said, it’s my current definitive version.

If I had any suggestions for a future definitive, it might be these, and they are only suggestions:

  1. Use the blu-ray as a video source and cut in 35mm as needed. Eschew all footage, live action or CGI, not in the original edit.
  2. Keep the laserdisc audio track, or examine the dolor del estamago and see if that is useful. It’s pretty punchy and impactful. I think a combination of the two might yield the perfect stereo soundtrack.

That’s it… thanks again Mavimao, keep up the good work. Thanks for allowing me to enjoy this movie again.

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“Stomachache” Records, eh?

"Right now the coffees are doing their final work." (Airi, Masked Rider Den-o episode 1)

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Mavimao said:

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Yep that is what I remember from the old VHS version. It’s well different. But I just could not describe it but I knew this shot was so different originally.

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These are the two releases I got from myspleen:

THX 1138 - Japanese LD preservation

THX-1138 1971 Theatrical (Unspecialized Reconstruction based on 16mm)

Is there a better one?

The latter for some reason has the vomit blu ray ending.

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More than likely the 1978 cut.

Those two versions or mine are about the only versions really available.

@thesearentthedroids: thank you for the kind words. Poita is working on a restoration of the print my version is based on and Harmy has expressed interest in creating a high quality Despecialized version using a variety of available sources, but whenever that happens… who knows.

So I have a question: I have been receiving requests for links which on one hand is great that people are interested, but is there anyway someone can put it on myspleen or something? I wasn’t expecting this to be so popular and I do wish to avoid being personally linked to copies of the film.

What’s the internal temperature of a TaunTaun? Luke warm.