The Wizard of Force: healing Ozian imagery and the TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE disaster in the film art of George Lucas

Chapter 1: Wizard!

 

            Given his emphasis on health, harmony, success and Ozian themed films, the Wizard of Force was the perfect phrase to sum up George Lucas and his art. For an emphasis on health and vitality and a healing Ozian structure and elemental Force figured prominently in most of his films starting with his allegorical film, THX 1138 (1971). This healing Ozian structure turned most of his film art into centring and harmonizing dreams that strove to soothe and rejuvenate himself and viewers as much as they strove to heal surrogate Dorothy figures like Cindy Williams’ Laurie Henderson in the allegorical film, AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973) and Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia Organna in the allegorical film, STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977). This healing Ozian themed film art took on a new meaning and importance after the tragic helicopter crash that killed child extras Renee Chen and My-Ca Le and veteran actor Vic Morrow around 2:20 am in the morning of July 23, 1982 on the set of the John Landis directed episode of the Frank Marshall executive produced and Landis, Joe Dante, George Miller and Steven Spielberg directed film TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983). Indeed, Natalie Portman’s Princess Padme Amidala teamed up with another healing and elemental Ozian quartet in a desperate attempt to deal with Landis, Marshall, Spielberg and the TZ disaster in the new millennium in the allegorical films, STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999), STAR WARS EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES (2002), and STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH (2005). Of course, this healing Ozian structure linked the films of Lucas to L. Frank Baum’s popular allegorical children’s story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), and to the Victor Fleming directed allegorical MGM classic, THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939). As such, to better understand the art of Lucas, it is necessary to understand the Baum and Fleming versions of Oz.

 

            Significantly, the implication was that both Baum and Fleming used their fantastic tales to lambast notorious contemporary women. In Baum’s case, the Wicked Witch of the West who plagued Dorothy and her four elemental Ozian companions-the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Great Oz-in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz appeared to be a satiric allusion to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Indeed, the western direction associated with the dread Witch reminded us that Western European imperialism still callously exploited and robbed much of the world in 1900. This wicked direction also reminded us that the British Isles were located to the west of Europe, and home to the most powerful empire in Europe and its ruler Queen Victoria at the time of the publication of Baum’s tale. This continued a tradition of blasting Western European imperialism in allegorical American fiction, perhaps most famously seen prior to the arrival of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the doomed quest of indomitable and freedom loving American Captain Ahab and his foreign legion crew of seafarers representing all of the nations of the world controlled by imperialists on the Pequod and their quest to defeat the great white whale of Western European imperialism in Herman Melville’s allegorical classic, Moby-Dick (1851). Baum underlined Victoria’s link to the Wicked Witch of the West by making the Witch a funny and solitary old woman with one eye in his tale, reminding us that the Queen was an ailing, solitary and widowed old woman by 1900. This continued a tradition of lampooning Queen Victoria in fantastic children’s tales, for Lewis Carroll’s tyrannical Queen of Hearts in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1870) also appeared to be a satirical look at Queen Victoria, an impression reinforced by the tale’s original illustrations by John Tenniel. The four fantastic lands of Oz-the lands of the Gillikins, Munchkins, Quadlings and Winkies-also reminded us that the four lands of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales still made up the United Kingdom at that time, implying again that Baum was satirizing the United Kingdom in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

 

However, while linking Baum’s tale to Victorian England, the four lands and nations of Oz and the four companions of Dorothy also evoked the four elements, the four directions, the four great winds, the four phases of the moon, the four seasons and the four ages of a person’s life. Indeed, the Scarecrow was a perfect eastern wind and new moon guardian of Earth and youthful Spring, the Cowardly Lion evoked southern winds and summer Fire, the waxing moon and young adulthood, the Great Oz was an Airy and garrulous, western winds and waning and autumnal middle aged figure, and the Tin Man was a frozen Water personification of the wintry north and its frigid northern winds, the dying moon and old age. These additional links of the four companions of Dorothy emphasized the healing nature of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Palace of the Great Oz also emphasized this centring nature of the four Ozian companions and of Baum’s tale, for it was located in the centre of the Emerald City, a city located in the centre of the four lands of Oz-itself centred between the Deadly Desert, the Great Sandy Waste, the Impassable Desert, and the Shifting Sands. These deserts in turn supported the fact that Oz symbolized the United Kingdom, for the four deserts reminded us that the United Kingdom was surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel, the Irish Sea, and the North Sea. Significantly, the elemental trio of the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodsman also evoked some of the great trios of fiction prior to 1900, particularly Great Serpent, Bounding Elk and Hawkeye the Ranger in James Fenimore Cooper’s influential novel The Last of the Mohicans (1826), the three indomitable musketeers Aramis, Athos and Porthos of the Alexandre Dumas reply to Cooper, The Three Musketeers (1844), and Conseil, Captain Nemo and Ned Land of Jules Verne’s openly anti-British imperialist and Moby-dick influenced neo-Odyssey, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870). Thus, the implication was that the liquefying, healing and centring elemental triumph of the orphan Kansas waif Dorothy, her indomitable dog Toto, and her four Ozian companions over the Wicked Witch of the West and her journey back from Oz to Kansas symbolized Baum’s hope that Lady Liberty and the people of the United States and its commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness-and its own unique literature-would best Ahab and Nemo and finally triumph over European monarchs and imperialism and liberate the world in the Twentieth Century after the death of Queen Victoria.

 

This implied triumph clearly pleased North American audiences, for American and Canadian theatregoers thronged to see the first Baum approved musical adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that appeared on stage in 1902, the year after the death of Queen Victoria. Indeed, that North American audiences were celebrating the end of the Victorian age was implied by the fact that the Wicked Witch of the West did not appear in this first theatrical production. In her place was an evil King named Pastoria, whose name evoked Victoria, and whose presence evoked Victoria’s son King Edward VII, the monarch who succeeded Victoria. In fact, the Wicked Witch of the West did not appear in any film or stage adaption of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz until the 1939 MGM classic. Until 1939, the Wicked Witch of the West was always replaced with an evil King in North American film and stage productions, just as a succession of Kings followed the death of Queen Victoria (Swartz 27-158). This emphasis on wicked Kings ended in North America with the arrival of a homegrown Wicked Witch of the West, an American woman with an unsavoury reputation by the name of Bessiewallis Warfield Simpson.

 

The Wicked Simpson was the brash American woman who stole the heart of King Edward VIII-some said with sexual magic!-and caused him to abdicate from the throne of England in 1936 in order to marry and live with her as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, despite her attempt to end the relationship in mid September of 1936 (Bloch 232-37). To say that Simpson was not liked and that this was an embarrassing situation indeed, for the people and governments of the Empire, the United Kingdom and the United States, was really putting it mildly. In fact, Simpson aroused such popular loathing at the time, it was not surprising that Margaret Hamilton’s wicked spinster Mira Gulch in the Depression era prologue of THE WIZARD OF OZ and her famously green and diseased reappearance in Oz as the Wicked Witch of the West both looked like the Duchess of Windsor. In fact, ‘Mira’ was a diminutive of ‘Almira’, a name that could be translated as ‘princess’, underlining Mira’s link to the Duchess (Fields 120). ‘Gulch’ for that matter meant a steep ravine, implying that the makers of THE WIZARD OF OZ felt that ‘Princess’ Simpson had dragged the reputation of the United States down into a deep and difficult depression, indeed. Philip Ziegler’s excellent book Edward VIII: the official biography (1990) confirmed the link, featuring several pictures of the Duke and Duchess with cairn terriers like Toto pictures that would have been widely seen at the time and which would have prepared viewers for the arrival of another cairn terrier named Toto-played by Terry-in THE WIZARD OF OZ. These were not the only pictures that were seen at the time, for newsreel footage of the Duke and Duchess visiting the Third Reich in 1937 and bowing to Hitler as they shook his hand infuriated the public of the Empire, United Kingdom and the United States. Indeed, public outcry was so great in the United States that the wicked pair were forced to cancel a tour of the United States shortly after their visit to Germany (Ziegler 386-401).

 

As Hamilton resembled the Wicked Duchess and THE WIZARD OF OZ appeared only two years after this cancelled visit, MGM clearly sided with the people against the Wicked Simpson and Edward, her enslaved Nikko monkey king and head flying monkey. Indeed, David, the last of the seven names by which King Edward VIII was known by his royal circle, had the same number of letters and the same syllable cadence as Nikko. In addition, the Kansas prologue to the film took place in Depression era Kansas and not the late Nineteenth century of the Baum tale, underlining the link of the film and of Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West to contemporary events. Thus, the centring and healing elemental triumph of Judy Garland’s Dorothy Gale and her four Ozian companions-including Jack Haley’s Tin Man, Frank Morgan’s Great Oz, and Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion, allowed to talk, sing, and dance like the others for the first time in a film or theatrical version of the Baum tale-was not just a triumph over her wicked and diseased spinster side that healed and centred the poor orphan waif who had been knocked out and sent down into the dreaming and healing inner spiritworld of Oz by flying tornado debris at the beginning of the film, allowing her to accept Ray Bolger’s lonely farmhand Hunk Andrews as her Scarecrow man, in the end. It was also a triumph over the Wicked Duchess that allowed the United States to distance itself from Simpson and her link to the Third Reich, to reassert its more virtuous, Lady Liberty qualities, to reassure England and its Empire that it had not been led astray by the Wicked Simpson or by Nazi Germany just in time for World War II and the final showdown with wicked global imperialism and fascism, and to anticipate winning that showdown and returning safely home.

            However, while THE WIZARD OF OZ was well received after its release-and frequently compared to the Walt Disney animated film SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937), whose evil Queen was perhaps also an allusion to the Duchess of Windsor-the film was not financially successful. Indeed, the film cost $2,777,000 to make and needed nearly one million dollars for advertisement, distribution and print costs, but grossed only $3,017,000 (Harmetz 288). However, the main problem for the film was not its subject matter, but its August 15, 1939 release date in Los Angeles. For only two weeks after its debut, Germany invaded Poland and kicked off the European theatre of the Second World War. The film was quickly overshadowed by the war, and the more riveting spectacle of the ancient Rome-like imperial age of Western Europe being swept away yet again by the Germanic hordes. Not surprisingly, the rival Fleming directed film GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) was the monster hit of the year. For its stirring saga of an imperialist and white supremacist Southern world swept away by the forces of freedom in a huge and transformative war was perfectly in tune with the fascist and imperialist beating mood of the times, a mood that bode well for the end of American isolationism and the beginning of American involvement in World War II.

 

John Ford’s allegorical film STAGECOACH (1939) also summed up the anti-tyranny fighting spirit of the time, with John Wayne’s uncommon common man Ringo Kid facing down a trio a bad guys-played by Vester Pegg, Joe Rickson and Tom Tyler-that could be seen on one level as the evil trinity of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo, and killing them all, in the end. Indeed, the feared and penniless Kid rose up to take out the terrible trio like the feared and penniless Depression era men of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and the rest of the free world would rise up to take on and take out the Axis powers in World War II. This fighting theme continued for Ford in 1939 when Peter Fonda’s Gilbert Martin and his fellow Revolutionary pioneers rose up to fight off the English and their Iroquois allies in their log fort in the wilderness of upstate New York in DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK (1939), a sight that reminded the United Kingdom that the United States disliked imperialism as much as facism. His third film of 1939, YOUNG MR. LINCOLN, also had a fighting theme, for it reminded us that the future President Abraham Lincoln would eventually lead his country into the biggest war in its early history, a warrior leadership that would soon be imitated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

 

Thus, the popularity of DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK, GONE WITH THE WIND, STAGECOACH and YOUNG MR. LINCOLN in the United States underlined that the American people were not as indifferent to the war as was suggested by their neutral and isolationist status. This interest was reiterated by the arrival of Lester Dent’s Doctor Clark Savage jr. in 1933 in The Man of Bronze, a new Euro-Indigenous hero for the masses-literally, for the bronze skinned Savage was adopted by the lost Maya of the Valley of the Vanished in the mysterious Central American country of Hidalgo after saving them from the Red Death in this opening adventure-whose goal was to rid the world of evil. The arrival of Siegel and Shuster’s Doc Savage influenced Superman in the allegorical Action Comics in 1938 also affirmed that Americans wanted a change. Indeed, Superman’s home city of Metropolis emphasized that Americans wanted to take super action against German Ubermenschen, for Clark Kent’s adopted city evoked Fritz Lang’s influential allegorical film, METROPOLIS (1927), one of the favourite films of Hitler. Of course, the arrival of Kal-El in the United States also symbolized the arrival of the Jewish people in North America, and their battle against the word-or lex-of Martin Luther and his Protestant followers, as symbolized by Superman’s arch nemesis Lex Luthor. American restlessness and uneasiness was also underlined by the popular hysteria that greeted the Orson Welles and Mercury Players radio theatre production of H.G. Wells’ allegorical classic The War of the Worlds (1898) on the night of October 30, 1938. For thousands of New York and New Jersey citizens fled their homes that night as if fleeing a Guernica-like German aerial assault rather than a Martian invasion from space, underlying the restless unease of supposedly neutral America.

 

Still, in spite of the overwhelming dominance of World War II and GONE WITH THE WIND in that fateful blitzkrieg year, THE WIZARD OF OZ still won three of five nominated Academy Awards at the ceremony the following spring, including Best Song-for ‘Over the Rainbow’-Best Original Score by Herbert Stothart, and a Special Academy for the performance of Judy Garland. THE WIZARD OF OZ may have also inspired the Michael Curtiz hit, CASABLANCA (1942), making it the first of many films to adopt an Ozian structure and paving the way for Lucas. For like THE WIZARD OF OZ, this film also featured four men who centred, harmonized and ultimately rescued a beautiful and single young woman from an exotic world. Indeed, these four men evoked the four spiritworld heroes of THE WIZARD OF OZ, with Paul Henreid’s scar faced Victor Laszlo-a name that evoked THE WIZARD OF OZ director Victor Fleming-making a perfect and scarey Scarecrow lover; Dooley Wilson’s piano playing Sam making a truly African Cowardly Lion; Claude Rains’ Capitaine Renault making a charmingly amoral French Great Oz ruler of Casablanca; and Humphrey Bogart’s lovelorn Rick Blaine making a perfect frozen by alcohol Tin Man. The fantastic four’s rescue of Ingrid Bergman’s Dorothy-like Ilsa from the clutches of Conrad Veidt’s black clad and Wicked Major Heinrich Strasser-a rescue that allowed her to escape by balloon-like plane to Lisbon from the exotic and fantastic Ozian world of wartime Casablanca-underlined the Ozian cadence. Indeed, from Lisbon Ilsa and her Scarecrow lover Laszlo sailed to safety in New York-where they no doubt caught the first train to Kansas so as to be finally home, at last, and far, far away from the war in Europe that ultimately resulted in the triumph of an American Victor.

 

Ironically, while CASABLANCA bested its inspiration by being one of the most popular films of all time, the film’s Ozian cadence was also overshadowed by the Second World War. The end of the war in Europe in May of 1945 was also quickly overshadowed by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended the Pacific War in August of 1945. These twin bombings brought the world into the atomic age, and soon after brought the anxious and tense nuclear standoff of the Cold War.   With its terrifying nuclear power, the United States and then the Soviet Union suddenly seemed as potentially evil as the defeated Axis powers. This evil potential created a new ambiguity, a new uncertainty as to who was truly good and who was truly evil. This new uncertainty led Andre Bazin of France to proclaim in his film journal Cahiers du Cinema in the Fifties that film should reflect this new era of uncertainty with a style of filmmaking that forced the viewer to figure out who was good or bad and what was really going on. A film style that turned the camera into a passive instrument that captured unedited and documentary-like scenes occurring live in long takes complete with ad-libbed dialogue and unscripted movement in a style that Bazin called mise-en-scene. This docufeature style was a significant change from the exactingly rehearsed and directed films that were carefully edited and arranged in a self explaining sequence called montage that characterized the pre-World War II approach to film, a change that had an enormous influence on Lucas and his contemporaries and was featured prominently in THX 1138 (Turner 32-3).

 

Right around the time that film began to change its approach, and the blues were sped up to become the rebel rock ‘n’ roll that would inspire white undershirt wearing youthful Boomers to rise up and fight off the Cold War blues and its fear of planetary apocalypse, the triumphant popular ascent of the healing and elemental THE WIZARD OF OZ began in 1956. Significantly, this ascent began not long after J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (1954-55) also began its own triumphantly healing and anti-imperialist ascent. This epic allegorical saga continued, expanded, and ultimately resolved the anti-imperialist themes of Tolkien’s prequel fantastic allegorical tale, The Hobbit (1937). For Tolkien blasted the imperialist nations of Europe in The Hobbit, comparing them to twelve morally and physically stunted madcap adults lusting after imperialist dragon loot in a way that evoked Robert Stevenson’s comparison of English imperialists to booty obsessed and rum soaked pirates in his allegorical classic, Treasure Island (1883).   In The Lord of the Rings, however, Tolkien continued the hope seen in The Hobbit to triumph over dark lusts for wealth and power with a rousing victory by the Aragorn and Frodo led forces of good over Sauron, the Dark Lord within who leads one astray with persuasive arguments about the goodness of violence, greed and avarice. An important triumph of Aragorn and Frodo indeed, allowing Tolkien to turn the bleak and pessimistic endings of fantastic anti-imperialist tales like Moby-Dick and the Moby-Dick inspired Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea-which turned the monstrous and freedom battering whale of European imperialism into a monstrous submarine of anti-British imperialist ship battering terror-Aldous Huxley bitterly satirical classic Brave New World (1932), and George Orwell’s realist novel Burmese Days (1934) on their heads and allowed the Euro-Indigenous hero to triumph over the European empires for the first major time in Western literature. Intriguingly, this triumph by Strider, the raised by Elves forest Ranger who evoked Natty Bumppo, the raised by Mohicans Loyalist forest Ranger in The Last of the Mohicans, had been announced by Tolkien as early as Farmer Giles of Ham (1949), an amusing and overlooked allegorical dragon besting fairy tale that reiterated the main themes of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

 

For this short and sarcastic fairy tale was about a pompous and vainglorious King who lost a vanquished dragon’s hoard due to the quick thinking guile of an independent everyman farmer named Aegidius de Hammo. Indeed, de Hammo cowed the evil, wealthy and supposedly Christ loving dragon Chrysophylax the Rich into surrendering its hoard without a fight by threatening to kill it with an intimidating magic sword named Tailbiter. The wily farmer with the Natty Bumppo-like name and Hawkeye-like fondness for a blunderbuss rifle then kept the hoard by forcing the dragon to fend off the avaricious King of the Little Kingdom and his forces or else taste the sting of Tailbiter. Giles then spent the hoard on his fellow citizens of the Little Kingdom, who gratefully appointed the guileful Giles the new King, Aegidius Draconarius, ushering in a peaceful new age. Thus, Tolkien openly urged England to keep its monarchy but defeat its imperialist and dragon loot loving Dark Side and openly condemned the greedy and supposedly Christ loving imperialists of the United Kingdom, and, by extension, the rest of imperialist Western Europe, in this allegorical amusing tale that revealed the anti-imperialist meaning of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for all to see.

 

This anti-Imperial theme was quickly confirmed in The Lord of the Rings when the reader discovered in Chapter 2 of Book One that Gollum’s real name was Smeagol, and that his murderous lust for a golden ring discovered by his brother Deagol turned him into the evil Gollum. For this lust for gold and the name ‘Smeagol’ evoked the dragon Smaug and his own greedy lust for the gold cup stolen by invisible thief Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, making Smeagol a symbolic and dimunitive symbol of Smaug and imperialist greed lurking in the new tale. Gollum’s link to Smaug was also confirmed by his death, for in the end this ultimate simpering wallah fell backwards to his death into the lava of Mount Doom after stealing the Ring from Frodo like the equally evil and duplicitous Magua fell to his doom at the end of The Last of the Mohicans. This backwards death reminded us that Smaug fell backwards from the sky like a bellyup fish and down onto the lake city of Esgaroth after being slain by the arrow of Bard at the end of the Beowulf-like The Hobbit, underlining Gollum’s link to Smaug.

 

Gollum’s familiar death was not the only sign that the evil, covetous and violent imperialist dragon was alive and well and manipulating characters in The Lord of the Rings. For Chapter 2 revealed that Bilbo’s nephew Frodo was the son of Drogo-a forebear whose name sounded like dragon. The name of his friend Sam Gamgee evoked Nat Bumppo and was almost an anagram of Smeagol, connecting both intrepid Hobbit heroes to cunning dragons. The name of later Ring fellow Aragorn was also only one letter away from being transformed into Dragorn, underlining how close he stood to his Dark Side. Indeed, Aragorn’s name reminded us that there were courageous Great Serpents in The Last of the Mohicans and The Lord of the Rings, as well as evil snakes in the primeval forest like Gollum and Magua. The names of head wizard Saruman and head baddie Sauron-or was that Sauronald?-also evoked the fiery Smaug, and the red Satan behind him. This link was underlined by the fact that ‘Saur’ was Greek for lizard, and by the fact that Sauron sounded like a dragonlizard soaring in flight like the furious Smaug at the end of The Hobbit. Indeed, Sauron’s link to Smaug was emphasized by the one red eye with which he watched over Middle-earth, an eye that evoked the one red left eye carefully left open by the sleeping Smaug after Bilbo visited him for the first time in his lonely mountain lair in The Hobbit. Saruman’s sibilant henchman Grima had a five letter name beginning with ‘G’ that also connected him to Smaug and Gollum, a link reinforced by his nickname ‘Wormtongue’. The flying dragon mounts of the Ringwraiths and the huge oliphants of the Southron allies of Sauron also evoked the huge bulk of Smaug.

 

The Lord of the Rings also continued the anti-imperialist work begun in Farmer Giles of Ham. Indeed, like Aegidius de Hammo, Aragorn the forest Ranger triumphed in the end as a populist Natty Bumppo-style King dedicated to the freedom of all of the different United Nations people of Middle-earth, an embattled but healing triumph that Tolkien called an ‘eucatastrophe’. This healing triumph of King Aragorn that righted all wrongs also revealed that while anti-imperialist and Republican leaning, Tolkien was not necessarily a pro-Republican anti-monarchist. Of course, Frodo and Sam contributed to Aragorn’s triumph, winning the more difficult battle within by defeating the inner lust for money and power in the hellish depths of Mount Doom after Treebeard and his studEnts had earlier defeated the outer signs of evil with the defeat of Saruman at scholarly Isengard. Significantly, Isengard not only had the same number of letters and the syllable cadence as Oxenford, but also the same vowel/consonant combination. This implied that on one level Tolkien used The Lord of the Rings to free his beloved Oxford University from an evil imperialist mindset, reminding us that Hitler transformed his country between 1933-39 by taking over the schools and the young minds of Germany. Tolkien also implied that he used his famous fantasy epic to come to grips with his fear that by sticking with the security of teaching at Oxford to support his wife and children instead of fleeing with his family to Cooper’s America, he had aided and abetted the evil imperialist mindset in England.   Indeed, that he had knowingly warped the minds of generations of English students, like an evil Saruman or Wormtongue! In this sense, the simple gold One Ring represented Tolkien’s simple gold wedding ring, and Gollum’s inner turmoil represented the struggle that raged within Tollers over his decision to stay with his family in Oxford and change the venerable but diseased university for the good from the inside like a green great healing worm. Perhaps his wife had increased his guilty frustration, refusing to leave England for the US and tying him to England like Shelob tied up Frodo.

 

Thus, personal fears as well as evil imperialist education and Christ loving England’s lust for dragon loot and power were swept away in the liberating, United Nations end of The Lord of the Rings. Indeed, Tolkien emphasised this end of the age of imperialism by making all sorts of allusions to the anti-imperialist fantastic fiction of writers like Cooper, Dumas, Melville, Stevenson, and Wells in his own fantastic tales. Indeed, this multi-allusive style underlined that Tolkien brought the anti-imperialist undercurrents in fantastic fiction to their triumphant, liberating and eucatastrophic climax in a way that encouraged the real life dissolution of empire in the post-World War II era. And a Catholic tinged era, for Aragorn’s name evoked D’Artagnan, the fourth Musketeer of The Three Musketeers. This implied that the Catholic Tolkien wistfully hoped for a return of a Catholic king to the throne of England, a nostalgic yearning for an older era that was underlined by the medieval, hand crafted, pre-capitalist and pre-industrialist tone of the trilogy and the healing touch of King Aragorn. Significantly, this liberated and wholesome United Nations end was anticipated decades earlier at the end of The Hobbit, when the thirteen madcap dwarves arrived at the Lonely Mountain like the lost tribes of Israel to reclaim their lost land, liberty and wealth and eventually gave up their lusts for the dragon loot of Smaug to live instead in a new and peaceful freedom with their elvish and human neighbours after the Great Crash of titanic Smaug, the greedy capitalist dragon. ‘Natty’ Aragorn’s success was also repeated in Sam Gamgee’s election as Mayor of the Little Kingdom of the Shire at the end of The Lord of the Rings, a truly democratic and republican election that reminded us that the garden loving Sam was the son of Hamfast-or was that the son of the wily farmer ‘de Hammo’?

 

Intriguingly, the optimistic certainty with which Tolkien invested the liberation of the two Little Kingdoms stood in marked contrast to the pessimistic and gloomy eye with which Orwell looked on the prospects of post-war English life in his own allegorical fairy tale, Animal Farm (1945)-influenced by Wells’ 1896 allegorical classic The Island of Doctor Moreau-and his other allegorical tale, Nineteen Eighty-four (1949). Thus, the tales of Tolkien were a refreshing antidote to Orwell, as Stevenson’s allegorical tales-particularlyTreasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)-had once been a refreshing antidote to the imperialist propaganda of H. Rider Haggard, particularly his allegorical African adventure novel, King Solomon’s Mines (1885). Significant developments and undercurrents, indeed, as the healing or eucatastrophic as Tolkien called it-that is a catastrophe like the death of Sauron at the end of The Lord of the Rings that returned health and harmony to people and the world-and multi-allusive style of Tolkien and the use of fantastic allegorical tales to come to grips with one’s life and times also returned in the films of Lucas. Indeed, the high quality and popularity of the famous tales of Orwell and Tolkien no doubt contributed to the sudden and unexpected explosion in post-war fantastic fiction and film in the United States. For, as it had with anti-imperialist Europeans, fantastic fiction and film allowed American intellectuals to reach, shape and mould young minds and criticize post-World War II policies of the United States without appearing to criticize those post-war American policies. Thus, these critical observers hid in open view and escaped being labelled communist sympathisers or ‘un-Americans’ and being blacklisted by society for criticizing the anti-communist hysteria of the United States and the stockpiling of nuclear weapons as a deterrent to the global designs of the Soviet Union. One of these writers who reached out to young Americans with dense allegories, metaphors and symbols was Rod Serling in his Twilight Zone television series. However, after a tentative beginning, American writers soon left behind the obscuring mists of fantastic allegories like Ray Bradbury’s allegorical classic The Martian Chronicles (1950) and Alfred Bester’s equally classic allegory The Stars, My Destination (1956) and openly questioned the policies of the United States, particularly Walter M. Miller, jr, in his pessimistic and thought provoking best seller, A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959).

 

Significantly, as allegorical fiction, film and television the Euro-Indigenous hero began to reassert his Bumppo-like figure on the post-World War II milieu in the form of Aragorn and Farmer Giles-and the raised by Lenni Lenape teenager in the Conrad Richter’s The Light in the Forest (1953)-a huge shift in culture and technology also began to transform North America. Black and white film, slower journeys, crowded trains and fantastic adventures set off by words over the radio gave way to colour film, fast planes, solitary cars and solitary visual adventures in front of television sets. This passing of the old world order was lamented in Jack Finney’s allegorical novel The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1955), and in Don Siegel’s allegorical film THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956), which no doubt lamented the passing of the old film world and the rise of the age in television in particular, as seen in the pods arriving in every house. Indeed, the climax of Irvin S. Yeaworth‘s THE BLOB (1958) saw the unstoppable extraterrestrial blob attack an audience in a movie theatre, making it clear that the film world was worried that the cloying and all encompassing commercialism of television would wipe out film. Thus, it was fitting that Richard Fleischer and Walt Disney brought 20, 000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954) and Bradbury and John Huston brought MOBY DICK (1956) to the big screen in the mid-Fifties, for the two spectacular and effects filled productions made it clear that Hollywood was worried that it was now joining James Mason’s Captain Nemo and Gregory Peck’s Captain Ahab on doomed quests to defeat the threat of television by luring young audiences back to the theatres with blockbuster and effects filled films, a strategy that continued to this day. Tolkien in a way anticipated this new direction in The Lord of the Rings, in the form of the equally hypnotic ‘palantir’ crystal balls that evoked the crystal ball of the Wicked Duchess of the West in THE WIZARD OF OZ as much as the glass screen of television.

 

A fitting link to the Wicked Witch, for as this cultural shift was occurring in 1956, CBS tried to buy the licence to broadcast GONE WITH THE WIND on television from MGM. However, the nascent station balked at MGM’s asking price for the rights to GONE WITH THE WIND, and instead bought the cheaper rights for THE WIZARD OF OZ. This chance decision turned out to be of huge import for the low performing film, for from its first black and white telecast in 1956 THE WIZARD OF OZ was an instant hit with the post-war generation that flocked eagerly to the new crystal ball medium of television. Given the implied link of Baum’s Wicked Witch of the West to Queen Victoria and Fleming’s Wicked Witch of the West to Simpson, one wondered if the televised cornonation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 influenced the popularity of the television Wicked Witch of the West and THE WIZARD OF OZ in North America. At any rate, Judy Garland’s healing adventures in Oz had finally found a home, and a new television star was born. In fact, from 1956 until recently THE WIZARD OF OZ was televised annually in North America, increasing in popularity with each year and becoming a pop phenomena. This incredible popularity also helped THE WIZARD OF OZ leave the red behind forever, earning over $10,000,000 in television licensing fees for MGM from CBS and then NBC by the mid 1970’s (Bowen 34-7 and Harmetz 19 and 288-91).

 

It was fitting that THE WIZARD OF OZ began its popular television ascent around the same time as Tolkien’s beloved and freedom loving classic, for both healing narratives sought to free the world of inner evil and outer imperialism and usher in a more harmonious United Nations era. Both tales also featured crystal balls, feisty talking trees and wonderful Wizards, affirming the link to each other. Both tales also featured heroic trios, with the Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man linking neatly with the leonine Legolas, the ragged Aragorn and the axe wielding Gimli in their epic quest to find Merry and Pippin in The Two Towers-trios that evoked Bounding Elk, Hawkeye and Great Serpent and their epic quest to find the kidnapped Munro sisters in The Last of the Mohicans, Aramis, Athos and Porthos and their quest to save Constance, the love of D’Artagnan, in The Three Musketeers, and Captain Nemo, Conseil and Ned Land in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Tolkien’s link to THE WIZARD OF OZ was further emphasized by the inclusion of an irrepressible Hobbit family with the surname of Bolger in Tolkien’s trilogy, a surname that reminded us that Ray Bolger played the Scarecrow in THE WIZARD OF OZ. Significantly, Fatty Bolger was one of the most visible members of the Bolger clan in The Lord of the Rings, a fitting visibility as his name was another nod to Natty ‘Hawkeye’ Bumppo in the tales of Tolkien once again. In addition, both fantastic healing adventures ultimately featured fictional personas of Queen Victoria-in the form of the Wicked Witch of the West and the elvish Queen Galadriel-that underlined how differently the United States and the United Kingdom looked at the monarchy.

 

This triumphant new Empire free Spring ushered in by The Lord of the Rings and THE WIZARD OF OZ was soon celebrated in the character of Chief Broom Bromden, the literally Euro-Indigenous mixed race hero of Ken Kesey’s liberating allegorical classic, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962). Indeed, Bromden freed himself from the New World Christian imperialist asylum with a battering ram that only he could wield in Odyssean fashion after being baptised in the living Force by the Christ-like McMurphy and his twelve mad Apostles. This liberating act transformed Bromden into both latter day Odysseus and Euro-Indigenous Saint Paul freed to spread the good word among the people, evoking Aragorn, John Butler, Farmer Giles, Doc Savage, and Edgar Burroughs’ JC hero John Carter in his Martian books. A fitting Martian link, as Bromden set the stage for the full Force throttle triumph of the ultimate messianic, Egypto-Graeco-Roman, Judea-Christian, Euro-Indigenous, quasi-Bedouin, anti-technological, presciently dreaming and psychically transforming neo-Martian hero Paul ‘Maud’dib’ Atreides in Frank Herbert’s epic 1965 novel, Dune.

 

Indeed, in this allegorical classic, Paul Atreides-the descendant of the ancient Greek hero Atreus, father of Agamemnon and Menelaus-travelled from the Earth-like and Canada-cadenced planet of Caladan to the desert planet of Arrakis or Dune, like the soul of John Carter transmigrated from Earth to Mars in time for his first allegorical Martian adventure in Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars (1912). Once on Dune, Atreides followed in Carter’s footsteps by uniting the bitterly opposed local tribes and using these bearded indigenous Fremen tribal followers, his messianic powers, his Tarzan-like crysknife, and his sandworm surfing mastery to best the Pequod and the Nautilus and finally batter the Emperor, his legions, his female priestesses, his wicked capitalist collaborators and his atomic weapons into submission with the phallic and Moby Dick-like sandworms of Arrakis in a triumphant and eucatastrophic conclusion that evoked The Lord of the Rings to reaffirm the end of the age of European empire. And signal the rise of the age of Herbert, for mastering the worms of Arrakis clearly symbolized the successful mastery of the power of creative writing needed to taste the sweet melange nectar of success. Significantly, this pentultimate triumph of Maud’dib also recalled Farmer Giles of Ham, for mastering the dragon worms of Arrakis allowed Atreides to conquer the Emperor and keep the melange wealth of the planet for himself and his people, as the triumph of the guileful farmer Giles had allowed Aegidius Draconarius to keep the hoard of Chrysophylax for himself and his people.

A fitting allusion, as Herbert continued the multi-allusive and allegorical style mastered by Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings. Indeed, Herbert’s many allusions to the works of fantastic fiction writers like Bester, Bradbury, Burroughs, Miller and Robert A. Heinlein-as well as Cooper, Melville, Stevenson, Tolkien, Verne and even Samuel Butler’s rant against machines in his allegorical satire Erewhon (1873), openly evoked in the Dune books in the form of the anti-machine Butlerian Jihad-implied that the life enhancing spice melange fought over in the book referred to the heady mixture of influences Herbert drew upon to create Dune. In fact, as Paul’s Fremen name Maud’dib contained the letters for Baum, Herbert may also have linked the desert world of Arrakis to the four deserts that surrounded Oz in Baum’s tale, giving Dune an Ozian structure. The elite Fremen bodyguard of Maud’dib reiterated that intriguing possibility, for the name of the Fedaykin evoked that of the Munchkin. Maud’dib also took Bounding Elk’s place as legendary lost chief of the Fremen Mohicans, becoming not the last but the first of the Mohicans. Dune also saw Maud’dib and his Fremen triumph over the unprincipled and ruthless corporatism of the evil, red haired Harkonnens, continuing the work of the previous writers by ushering in a new age of anti-corporatist and anti-capitalist fantastic fiction and film. This new anti-corporatist outlook and the Tolkien-like, allegorical and multi-allusive style, as well as the desert planets, sand people, rebel messiahs and uprisings against evil Emperors of Herbert also continued in the films of Lucas.  

 

Even Canadian writer and exuberant patriot Pierre Berton responded to Baum and Tolkien by penning his own allegorical children’s classic, The Secret World of Og (1961). The underworld city of this amusing tale combined the sneaking goblins and Gollums of The Lord of the Rings with the fantastic flora of Munchkinland, and also allowed children to meet and triumph over the little green inner children of adults. The book was well timed, for shortly after THE WIZARD OF OZ became a smash hit on television, the mysterious land of Oz also returned in a new film that was, unlike CASABLANCA, definitely and openly based on the Fleming classic and its new status as a television icon, Alfred Hitchcock’s allegorical thriller, VERTIGO (1958). In this film, Kim Novak’s Judy Barton, the tough and experienced Selina, Kansas girl with the Judy Garland-like name, wickedly agreed to transform into the bewitchingly beautiful and Glinda-like high society girl, Madeleine Elster. Barton agreed to this transformation in order to fool Jimmy Stewart’s police detective John Ferguson and help Ferguson’s old college friend, Tom Helmore’s Gavin Elster, murder his wife. However, Barton’s wicked duplicity came crashing down in the end when Ferguson figured out her game, allowing him to triumph over her and Elster. And literally crashing down, as Barton pulled out of the arms of Ferguson and threw herself out of a church bell tower and fell to her doom in an inner tumult of guilt in the climatic end.

 

This suicidal leap ironically evoked Dorothy’s less deadly fall down to Oz, and implied that Hitchcock hoped that THE WIZARD OF OZ and television would also die out and cause viewers to return to theatres to watch more artistic and less commercial films. For the fear that commercial television was betraying and even killing more artistic film by drawing viewers away from cinemas as THE WIZARD OF OZ was doing was a fear that was a constant theme in the final films of Hitchcock and no doubt explained why Hitchcock singled out THE WIZARD OF OZ for special treatment in VERTIGO. The fact that Stewart played Ferguson underlined that fear, for Stewart was a living symbol of film and its golden age before the Second World War. Indeed, Cary Grant, another living symbol of film and veteran of the golden age of film, would be captured by the communist baddies when the presence of his character Roger O. Thornhill was betrayed by being reflected in the glass face of a turned off television set at the end of Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959), making it clear that Hitchcock had added television to his list of many fears. Significantly, Barton was frightened into carrying out her deadly leap by the sight of a mysterious and black clad ghost that suddenly appeared behind her and Ferguson in the church tower. However, this black clad ghost turned out to be a nun and not the Wicked Witch of the West when it stepped into the light, increasing the irony of Barton’s leap. Nonetheless, the appearance of the black clad nun emphasized Barton’s wicked status, a status reiterated by the clinging and wicked black dress she was wearing, a wicked black dress that prepared us for her liquidation, in the end. This wicked black dress joined Ferguson’s Scarecrow brown hat and suit and an expensive ruby red necklace as one of the many colourful visual links to THE WIZARD OF OZ in the film. The wealthy and Wicked murderer Gavin Elster also underlined VERTIGO’s links to THE WIZARD OF OZ, for he looked like L. Frank Baum, and his name was a reversed male echo of Elmira Gulch.

 

Significantly, VERTIGO was one of the first major post-World War II films to openly address the threat of television and THE WIZARD OF OZ, establishing and popularizing the idea and setting the stage for the Ozian themed films of Lucas to follow. VERTIGO was also the first Ozian film to take the troubled and diseased inner Ozian landscape and project that fantastic landscape onto the outside world. This innovative variation on the Ozian theme set the stage for the Wicked Dorothys and climatic and deadly falls at the end of other Ozian themed films like William Friedkin’s allegorical film THE EXORCIST (1970) and Ang Lee’s mythic allegorical masterpiece CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (2000), as well as David Lynch’s equally allegorical, haunting and surreal ode to VERTIGO and THE WIZARD OF OZ, BLUE VELVET (1986). Significantly, the Ozian themed VERTIGO was joined the same year by Akira Kurosawa’s equally Ozian themed jidai-geki/historical period film, HIDDEN FORTRESS.

 

As in VERTIGO, this film projected an inner Ozian world onto the real world when it featured an elemental quartet of four male heroes-two peasants and two indomitable samurai swordsmen-who joined forces to save Misa Uehara’s beautiful but curt and imperious Princess Yuki Akizuki from a rival kingdom that sought her capture and death. Humourously, the two peasants who helped lead the Princess to safety in Hayakansas-Minoru Chiaki’s Tahei and Kamatari Fujiwara’s Matashichi-did so only out of a desire for a reward in gold like Harrison Ford’s Han Solo and Peter Mayhew’s Chewbacca would later initially do when they reluctantly agreed to rescure Princess Leia in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, in effect following a literally golden yellow brick road to rescue the pretty Princess. Of course, the pretty but imperious young Princess herself evoked the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II, reminding us that Queen Victoria had inspired the first Wicked Witch of the West. Perhaps the film warned Queen Elizabeth II not to give in to her curt and imperious Dark Side and turn into that Wicked Witch, and instead to continue overseeing the release of her country from imperialist chains, in the centred, elemental and harmonious end. If so, this nod to England linked HIDDEN FORTRESS to Kurosawa’s gloomy and pessimistic allegorical film THRONE OF BLOOD (1957), a dark and troubled film inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the 1952-54 testing of American and Soviet hydrogen bombs.

 

A significant darkness indeed, as prior to the hydrogen bomb testings Kurosawa’s previous films had optimistically hoped and worked for a virtuous, strong, independent, and honest Japan free from American, corporate, criminal, and fascist control. This virtuous strength was symbolized by Susumu Fujita’s Sugata, the indomitable but pure young master of the new judo martial arts tradition and his triumph over the old jujitsu tradition in Kurosawa’s first allegorical film, SANSHIRO SUGATA (1943), and by the benevolent, unstoppable and virtuous samurai of the allegorical film, SEVEN SAMURAI (1954). Thus, by saving Princess Yuki with another elemental foursome in HIDDEN FORTRESS, Kurosawa implied that he was shaking off his fears of newly crowned English Queens and global hydrogen bomb annihilation and was committing himself again to healing and transforming cinema. A powerful message indeed, no doubt partly explaining why Lucas drew upon the film, its feisty princess, its indomitable samurai general and its quarrelling peasants in STAR WAR EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.

 

Seeing Toshiro Mifune’s indomitable samurai General Makabe selflessly battle to save pretty Princess Akizuki evoked the numerous Westerns featuring selfless heroes that were made in the US in the Fifties. These films wistfully attempted to return the violent and diseased forces let loose by World War II, the Cold War and the Korean War back into Pandora’s box, and lure citizens away from violence and anarchy and back onto the upright path of law, order and the truth. The first major Western of this nature was Ford’s first post-war film, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946), a favourite of Kurasawa. In this film Fonda’s indomitable lawman Wyatt Earp reluctantly donned his guns again in order to shoot down the lawless Clantons at the OK Corral in the end. This evoked the Ringo Kid’s triumph over the Axis trio at the end of STAGECOACH, but in a way that condemned rather than condoned violence, setting the grim and preachy tone for the Westerns to come. Unfortunately, at the same time that Hollywood was preaching respect for law and order and the establishment, the military-industrial complex was preaching the value of stockpiling nuclear weapons in order to prevent the Soviet Union from bombing the United States. Of course, stockpiling nuclear weapons increased the likelihood that these weapons would be used to destroy the world in a nightmarish strategy known as Mutually Assured Destruction.

 

This MAD strategy led to the creation of an equally MAD comic magazine to lampoon the establishment and these MAD schemes that could lead to the whole world singing in the black rain, as well as a suspiciously MAD and monstrous television series that explored the horrific new role of the atoms and the mathematical add ‘ems that had created the bomb in THE ADDAMS FAMILY. At the same time as it was stockpiling nuclear annihilation, the United States was also collaborating with the old imperialist powers of Western Europe to prevent communist governments from taking over its ex-colonies. This dragged the United States into European wars with anti-imperialist nationalist forces. These strategies also led angry and indignant United Nations youth to reject the nightmarish scenario and the establishment, turning instead to customizing hot rod cars and rebel rock and roll. Their behaviour led Hollywood to release Western-like preachy youth films that condemned anti-establishment, rock and roll youth. Indeed, in many ways there was little difference between Fred Zinneman’s Western HIGH NOON (1952) and Laslo Benedek’s rebel youth film THE WILD ONE (1953), and Richard Brooks’ gritty teen angst classic, BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (1955) and Ford’s allegorical Western classic THE SEARCHERS (1956). For all four films revolved around an older establishment fighting off and putting down rebel youth gangs. However, the message was lost on post-war youth, as a primly moralizing establishment did not stop preaching MAD global destruction.

 

This sense that the establishment was not just hypocritical, but had lost its way and was truly MAD indeed, was courageously roasted in Stanley Kubrick’s epic satirical farce, DR. STRANGELOVE, OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964). Kubrick even linked the establishment to its preachy Westerns in this darkly humourous film, allowing Slim Pickens to don a cowboy hat and ride the nuclear lightning like a bucking bronc, in the insanely gunslinging and orgasmically apocalyptic end. Significantly, the viewer had been set up for this apocalyptic ending from the outset by the surname of Pickens’ character, for Major T.J. ‘King’ Kong evoked the climatic fall of King Kong from the top of the Empire State Building at the end of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack‘s allegorical classic, KING KONG (1933). A curious link, as KING KONG cautioned directors to not to get too close to the blockbuster beast in order to not be brought down by their hubris and lust for blockbuster fortune and glory, implying that Kubrick wanted not only the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union to not destroy themselves and the world with their swollen and stubborn egos but filmmakers as well, in the end. The film also ended the charade of a benevolent and trustworthy establishment, no doubt encouraging young Civil Rights marchers and anti-Vietnam War protesters to take to the streets. DR. STRANGELOVE’s wild west antics no doubt also led to the release of satirical Westerns like Elliot Silverstein’s hit film, CAT BALLOU (1965).

 

Significantly, this popular film saw Jane Fonda’s naïve and sweet school marm Catherine Ballou saved by four men from the hangman’s noose, an healing and elemental foursome and climatic rescue that recalled CASABLANCA, HIDDEN FORTRESS and THE WIZARD OF OZ. A fitting Ozian structure, for as tensions broke out into mass movements in the Sixties, the popularity of the healing tales of Middle-earth, Oz and Wonderland also rose dramatically. This linked Baum, Carroll, and Tolkien yet again to wicked imperialist warfare, American style. During the Sixties the magical lands of Middle-earth, Oz and Wonderland were also reinterpreted, this time cautioning against becoming lost in fantastic psychedelic lands caused by illicit drug use. Frodo and Dorothy and Alice were now seen on one level as naïve innocents in adult themed tales that cautioned against drug use, cautionary tales set in culturally turbulent real life landscapes that recalled Orwell’s dropping of Dorothy Hare into the horrors of homeless Great Depression unemployment in his Little Orphan Annie, Oz and Wonderland themed novel, A Clergyman’s Daughter (1935). This new interpretation of Alice in Wonderland, The Lord of the Rings, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and THE WIZARD OF OZ was heard in Jefferson Airplane’s famous song ‘White Rabbit’, and was also seen in Roger Vadim’s Ozian themed allegorical film, BARBARELLA (1968).

 

Indeed, this film took a bold stand for a middle ground of common sense and intelligence, by not only bravely and satirically roasting the Sixties counterculture, its liberating pill and its enchaining drugs, but also by mocking the establishment and its Cold War nuclear politics, international espionage, and apocalyptic delusions. BARBARELLA did this by dropping Fonda’s beautiful and naïve space waif Barbarella down like Dorothy and another Cat Ballou onto the Ozian planet 16 of the Tau Ceti system on a secret spying mission to find Milo O’Shea’s missing mad scientist Duran Duran and his apocalyptic positronic ray for Claude Dauphin’s President of the Republic of Earth. Along the way beautiful Barbarella made love in some fashion in turn to four new characters representing the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Great Oz. This injected and centred her with their primal and healing elemental energy as Fonda had already been transformed in CAT BALLOU, turning her into a living Fifth Element-anticipating Milla Jovovich’s equally Fifth Elemental Leeloo in Luc Besson’s wholly remarkable and Ozian themed allegorical blast of Lucas, THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997)-and allowed her to succeed in her inter-galactic, Cold War superspy adventure and defeat the mad Great Oz scientist Duran Duran, his twisted sexual excessor machine, and his positronic ray. This primal Ozian energy also allowed her to convert Anita Pallenberg’s Wicked Witch of the West-like and openly sexually Wicked Great Tyrant to her cause and sensibly and triumphantly fly away from wicked television witches, establishment psychosis and counter-cultural excess into the world of truly healing and artistic film in the arms of her blind angel lover Pygar, in the end. Significantly, John Law’s Tin Man angel Pygar carried Barbarella to safety in the end in his arm of right, but also carried the Great Tyrant away from harm in his sinister arm of left to emphasize that he was truly in balance, a healthy and harmonized state summed up by his last line‘...an angel has no memory’, a line that was also the last line of BARBARELLA. This balanced Pygar between the good and bad sides of his conscience, underlining that the film had walked an independent, common sensical and artistic middle path between the establishment and the counterculture.

 

Significantly, the Great Tyrant was played by an English actress, and her Black Castle was called Sogo, the City of Night. This actress, castle and city evoked London’s Soho, openly linking the Wicked Witch of the West to England and its monarch for the first time. Of course, the four men that Barbarella made love to were mostly handsome and virile young things, designed to remind us of Cold War superspy James Bond and his effortless seductions of only the most beautiful and alluring young women in the films that were inspired by the novels of Ian Fleming. This link to Bond underlined that BARBARELLA fused an adult themed spoof of wide eyed Dorothy and THE WIZARD OF OZ with a gleefully feminist and satirical look at the Bond films, preparing us for the kick ass ultra-feminist heroines of fantastic films to come. This catty scratch at Bond and England’s sudden transformation from imperialist baddie to communist fighting good guy and rebel rock and roller was underlined by the zero gravity spacesuit striptease sequence that accompanied the opening titles, a sequence that alluded to similar sequences that accompanied the opening credits of Bond films. Clearly, Miss Moneypenny freed herself from her desk and let the hair down in BARBARELLA!

 

This significant new feminist, anti-television, anti-establishment and anti-counterculture reimagining of Dorothy’s adventures influenced Boomers who grew up with the atomic and hydrogen bombs, the Cold War, the emerging United Nations, mise-en-scene film, rock and roll, the return and triumph of the Euro-Indigenous hero, preachy Westerns and allegorical fantastic fiction, films and television sexual revolutions, social unrest, war protests, youth rebellion, the Twilight Zone and THE WIZARD OF OZ on television and Ozian and television themed films in the theatre. One of those irrepressible post-war boomers was a shy Northern California lad named George Walton Lucas jr. Born on May 14, 1944-fittingly, a day before L. Frank Baum’s birthday on May 15th-to George and Dorothy Lucas-also a fitting name for a mother given junior’s later interest in Ozian themed film-‘Georgie’ was the third child and only son in a brood of three daughters. The modest future filmmaker fittingly grew up in a small town called Modesto, located several hours southeast of San Francisco. Back then it was a quiet place with little to do, home to several walnut farms and the Gallo winery. The lonely nature of life in Modesto was enhanced by the Lucas family life, for Mrs. Lucas was often ill and bedridden and the stern and uncompromisingly Republican Mr. Lucas was usually away working long hours as owner/manager of the local stationary store. This left Lucas to his own devices, usually in the company of his younger sister, Wendy.

 

            The quiet boy became an introverted young fellow, devoted to comic books and fantastic features on television like Adventure Theatre’s Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and no doubt healing films like THE WIZARD OF OZ. He also developed an interest in drawing, modelmaking, photography and, as he got older, in cars. Cars led Lucas to stock car racing, and away from good marks at Thomas Downey High School. Cars also led Lucas to a pivotal and life changing car accident shortly before the end of his final year of high school in the spring of 1962. On his way home from studying at the local library for his final exams, Lucas forgot to check his rear view mirror while turning left into his parent’s driveway and hit his friend Frank Ferreira as Ferreira passed Lucas in his Chevy Impala. The impact of the collision rolled his souped up Fiat Bianchina end over end and wrapped the car around a nearby walnut tree. Luckily, Lucas was thrown from the car to injured safety and taken to the local hospital when his regulation steel plated stock car racing seat belt miraculously snapped, against all odds. Significantly, like Dorothy’s Kansas twister, this Great Crash of 1962 was the tornado that threw Lucas grievously injured from his car and out of his underachieving teenage dreamworld forever.

 

Indeed, the sudden and unexpected crash left him in the local hospital’s emergency room fighting for his life in an inner Ozian spiritworld midway between life and death like Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ. When he finally and successfully emerged from his spiritworld journey after weeks of recuperation in hospital, this sobering and unanticipated brush with mortality left him determined to do something with the gift of life that had been returned to him. Indeed, Lucas surprised everyone-particularly himself!-by turning his back on his stock car racing dreams and heading to a local community college on the strength of the High School Diploma given him in sympathy for his car accident by Thomas Downey High. Two years of majoring in Social Sciences at Modesto Junior College led Lucas to the University of Southern California film school program. Here Lucas showcased his drawing and photography skills in a number of short films, particularly his award winning allegorical effort, ELECTRONIC LABYRINTH THX 1138: 4EB (1967).

 

This short film likened his quest to escape establishment control and film school and succeed as an independent film artist to the battle of a young man codenamed THX 1138-played by Lucas look-alike Don Natcsheim-to escape from the white and black uniformed overseers of Authority and free himself from a repressive and underground society. Significantly, this futuristic Authority was clearly paternal, as all of the overseers were men, preparing us for the all male Empire and its Dark Father and Wicked Emperor in the STAR WARS films to come. The successful escape of THX 1138 also broke him free from a mate named YYO 7117 played by Joy Carmichael, curiously anticipating the Great Divorce of George and Marcia Lucas in 1983. For during this USC period, Lucas met and later married an attractive brunette named Marcia Griffin. Lucas also met aspiring young filmmaker Francis Coppola shortly after his film school years ended at USC. Coppola soon convinced Lucas to become co-head of their own San Francisco based independent film studio-American Zoetrope-despite Coppola being an Oscar personality type to the Felix of Lucas. This cinematic odd couple even managed to persuade Warner Brothers to sign a five picture deal with them, a deal that started with the first film of Lucas, the allegorical film, THX 1138 (Maxford 12-22, Pollock xiii-xvii and 1-106 and Baxter 1-46).  

 

This first film was a more elaborate feature length recreation of ELECTRONIC LABYRINTH THX 1138:4EB that reiterated the desire of Lucas to break free from establishment control and now from the youthful underground and succeed as an independent film artist. This desire to break free from the underground was reiterated by the return of an underground setting, and by its many underground film characteristics, such as off centre and unbalanced frame compositions, lack of plot, lifeless acting and mysterious dialogue. Significantly, THX 1138 also made clear that Lucas was continuing the long established tradition of using multi-allusive fantastic fiction or film as an ambiguous allegory to satirize contemporary society first used by perfected by Herbert, Hitchcock, Kesey, Kurosawa, Orwell, Tolkien and Vadim in the post-WWII era. This allowed Lucas to lash out at his rebellious generation without appearing to do so, no doubt so as to avoid being seen as supporting the anti-Boomer mindset of all those evil establishment types over thirty and the anti-establishment mentality of all those rebel youth types under thirty, thus following in the pragmatic and level headed footsteps of Vadim in BARBARELLA. Lucas underlined this satirical nature of THX 1138 and that he also continued the multi-allusive tradition by including many allusions to THE WIZARD OF OZ and other fantastic fiction and films in THX 1138.

 

In fact, the unisexually bald men and women with their alphanumerical designations and identical clothing from Yevgeny Zamyatin’s caustic allegorical blast of the Russian Revolution in We (1924) reappeared in the film. The test tube people, hierarchical society and government sponsored drug abuse designed to keep everyone in line returned to the world of THX 1138 via Huxley’s equally caustic and satirical Brave New World. The two way telescreens, constant supervision and enforced sexual abstinence of Nineteen Eighty-four also returned in THX 1138. The unthinking, unimaginative, unemotional and out of touch pod people of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS also resurfaced in the crowded subterranean hallways of THX 1138. THX 1138 also took the absurdist humour, real life sterile buildings, labyrinthine hallways and streets of post-war Paris and the visual surrealism of Jean-Luc Godard’s mordantly allegorical ALPHAVILLE (1965) and recreated these elements with its own absurdist humour and the surreal and sterile landscape of post-war San Francisco. Lucas also incorporated the French nouvelle vague emphasis on realistic docufeature cinema verite in allegorical film, seen already in fantastic films like Franklin J. Schaffner’s satirical film, PLANET OF THE APES (1967) and Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) in THX 1138. The vaguely Ozian structure, embrace of artistic independence and rejection of the counterculture’s dissipated drug use, as well as the labyrinth under the Wicked Tyrant’s City of Night of BARBARELLA, also returned in THX 1138. These many allusions to previous allegorical classics gave the odd and baffling film a sense of continuity in spite of its unusual nature, and also underlined the meaning of THX 1138. In addition, by portraying an individual’s struggle to break free from an asexual and robotic underground society rendered somnambulistic and impotent by state enforced drug addiction, THX 1138 often seemed like the story of a frustrated underground Odysseus struggling to continue his journey by escaping a dystopia that was a mixture of the drugged up land of the Lotus Eaters and the ghostly underworld of Hades. However, despite incorporating and alluding to all of these previous films and legends, Lucas proceeded to head off in his own idiosyncratic and Ozian tinged direction in THX 1138. Indeed, Lucas gave ample indication of the sexually diseased but elementally healing Ozian shape of things to come in THX 1138-even including an Associate Producer named Ed Folger in the opening credits.

 

In the first nod to this emergent direction, THX 1138 opened unexpectedly with a rousing black and white BUCK ROGERS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY trailer from the Thirties. The ironic contrast between the incredible world of the future of Buster Crabbe’s handsome and healthy Buck and the bleak and diseased dystopia of THX 1138 that followed was obvious and enormous. Lucas underlined this unhealthy direction when THX 1138 began, for the film immediately established a low and despondent mood with sickly green credits that drifted quickly and inexorably downwards into the abyss, sickly green like the Wicked Witch of the West. These sinking credits reminded the viewer of the first quick sinking credits of ALPHAVILLE, and were in complete contrast to the upbeat and cheery world of Buck Rogers. These credits were also mixed with a deliberate edited arrangement of strange and unexplained images, indicating from the outset that the new director liked a film to be a fusion of the montage and mise-en-scene methods, an approach to film that might best be called mise-en-montage.

 

These disjointed images set the stage for the fractured and non-linear style of THX 1138, with its unbalanced frame arrangements and claustrophobic atmosphere, underlining the diseased nature of the film. These sinking credits also reminded us that after Dorothy and her farmhouse were carried up by the tornado, she then fell down in her house into the inner Ozian dreamworld. The descent brought the viewer down with her, down into the healing dreamworld like these inexorably descending credits. Indeed, on one level these falling credits were an interesting and effective visual variation on the falling house of Dorothy, and the first Ozian and hence television linked imagery in the films of Lucas. In fact, these descending credits were so effective at pulling the viewer down into the diseased and Ozian television dreamworld, they were later transformed into the falling green alphanumeric imagery seen at the beginning of the Wachowski Brothers’ embattled, THX 1138-like, and James Cameron infused allegorical reflection on the dread Zone Wars, THE MATRIX (1999).

 

After touchdown in the new Oz, visual slices of a maze-like, subterranean asylum Munchkinland full of bald and drugged citizen inmates straight of We and robot police officers were presented to the viewer. This strange asylum world was like a vast bomb shelter labyrinth, full of cowering people afraid to return to the real world above for fear of the Cold War planetary apocalypse or for fear of having their film aspirations mocked. This bomb shelter asylum world was also part sterile underground shopping mall, complete with escalators, muzak and a public address system spouting inane mantras to ‘…buy more now’. Overseeing this strange subterranean world were pictures of the great OMM seen in telephone booth-style confessional cubicles called unichapels. High priests in hooded black and grey robes that anticipated David Prowse’ Darth Vader and Ian McDiarmid’s Emperor ruled over this world on behalf of OMM with the help of the robot police officers. These disjointed images gradually centred on one drugged, robotic and shaven headed citizen inmate police robot assembly worker named THX 1138. THX 1138 was played by Robert Duvall, who was fittingly last seen on film prior to descending into the subterranean asylum being driven to an asylum in Robert Altman’s acerbic Korean/Vietnam War film, M.A.S.H. (1970). Ominously, Duval also openly linked Lucas to the Twilight Zone and television from his first feature film via Duval’s role as Charley Parkes in the Walter Grauman directed allegorical episode ‘Miniature’ from the first season of the original Twilight Zone television series.

 

An equally bald man and woman who we came to know as SEN 5241 and LUH 3417-played by Donald Pleasance and Maggie McOmie-were also gradually picked out for special attention. Ominously, Pleasance also linked Lucas and his films to the television Twilight Zone again via his role as Professor Ellis Fowler in ‘The Changing of the Guard’, a season three episode of the original Twilight Zone series. Fittingly, LUH 3417 and SEN 5241 underlined the link of the underground labyrinth to television by working in the computer and television monitor control room that oversaw all of the citizen inmates of this underground asylum world. This all seeing and all knowing television and computer monitoring centre reminded us of the watchful and distant eyes of Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West in THE WIZARD OF OZ, and anticipated the computer and television command rooms of the evil Empire in the Classic Trilogy. The monitoring centre also evoked the security cameras linked to the office telescreen of Alfred Abel’s Joh Fredersen, the upper world master of METROPOLIS. SEN 5241’s alphabetic prefix underlined the link, evoking the ‘-sen’ at the end of Fredersen.

           

            A fitting link to METROPOLIS, for a number of anonymous human robot workers in Red Section L-14 were soon killed in an industrial explosion. This fatal accident evoked a similar subterranean industrial accident at the beginning of METROPOLIS that led to a revolt of the underground workers of the city of the future against Joh Fredersen. Curiously, one of those underground workers was Erwin Biswanger’s Georgy, otherwise known as worker # 11811, a name and number that fittingly linked METROPOLIS to Georgie Lucas and THX 1138. Significantly, the underground workers’ communist-like popular revolt against fascist and enslaving capitalism was ended by the sympathetic and understanding intervention of the upper world master’s son, Freder, and his girlfriend Maria-played by Gustav Froehlich and Brigitte Helm. This intervention saw the heart mediate between the head and the hands, allowing a happy ending that had philanthropic and filmmaking capitalism triumphing over European fascism and communism in a way that did not happen in reality until the late Eighties. Or did the end of METROPOLIS see reality triumph over the out of control hubris of Directors, as Freder defeated Joh’s mad scientist mentor Rotwang and saved Maria prior to the triumphant ending reconciliation, preparing us for the many battles against the symbolic and twilit and out of control Directos in the post-TZ disaster films of Lucas and Spielberg? An intriguing possibility, as Rotwang actor Rudolf Klein-Rogge played the master criminal Dr. Mabuse in Lang’s allegorical film DR. MABUSE, THE GAMBLER (1922), a film that openly linked criminal direction to film direction.

 

Allusions to METROPOLIS also reminded us that shaven headed men were forced to build an insidious Tower of Babel for a demon called Molech-a demonic tower that might have symbolized the arrival of talking pictures, for prior to 1927 the verbally silent and visual status of film had allowed viewers all over the world to understand film regardless of their language, reiterating that METROPOLIS was a cinematic discourse on film like most films-legions of shaven headed men that clearly had returned full Force throttle in THX 1138. At any rate, this allusion to the uprising of METROPOLIS prepared us for another revolt against overlord authority by THX 1138 in THX 1138, and for more heartfelt struggles between a father and son in the Classic Trilogy. The death of these male workers here in THX 1138 also reminded us of the early death of the Wicked Witch of the East in THE WIZARD OF OZ. A significant reminder, for as in THE WIZARD OF OZ the deaths of these human robots unlocked the gates to the spiritworld dream, allowing THX 1138’s healing adventures to truly begin.

 

Indeed, soon after these deaths, THX 1138 received a ruby red polygon. This red polygon reminded us of the ruby red high heels Dorothy received after the death of the Wicked Witch of the East, implying that the object was the film’s physically, psychologically and even sexually invigorating power object. Ironically, however, the drugged up THX 1138 took the red polygon home after another robotic shift at work, and unwittingly allowed it to be sucked up a vacuum trash chute back at his apartment. This banished the red power object, preventing THX 1138 from using its emboldening power to aid his liberation. While humourous, this incident was also the first reference to garbage and garbage chutes in the films of Lucas. Indeed, garbage and garbage chutes would be a popular and recurring theme in his movies, climaxing in the liberating toss of the evil Emperor down the garbage chute at the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI. After unknowingly getting rid of this ruby red power object, THX 1138 then met his lovely shaven headed roommate, LUH 3417, who we had already become familiar with from seeing her in the all seeing monitoring centre with SEN 5421.

 

LUH 3417 was a mysterious female character, for the viewer never found out if she was THX 1138’s cousin, girlfriend, sister, or wife. Girlfriend seemed likely, for LUH 3417 soon introduced the listless and doped up Adam to the forbidden knowledge of love and sexuality like a bald Eve. Indeed, to increase THX 1138’s libido, LUH 3417 changed his medication, substituting a virile ruby red pill for a blue pill that apparently had laid THX 1138 low with a bad case of the listless and impotent blues. This red pill substitution evoked the ruby red slippers of the Wicked Witch of the East again and the ruby red polygon. The pill substitution also evoked Glinda and the help she provided the heroes throughout their healing Ozian journey, linking LUH 3417 to Glinda rather than Dorothy. The pill substitution had the desired effect, increasing THX 1138’s virility like Dorothy’s ruby red high heels and negating the earlier loss of the ruby red polygon. Significantly, the pill change also occurred while THX 1138 was watching male and female Afro-American dancers gyrate erotically to primal rhythms on holocast television. These two dancers introduced Afro-American virility into the films of Lucas for the first time, an important infusion that prepared us for the arrival of an Afro-American Cowardly Lion later in THX 1138 and for more Afro-American mojo in all of the later films of Lucas.

 

            The afrodisiac infusion and pill change worked. Indeed, the two combined to free THX 1138’s mind and awaken his virility, leading to illegal sex between the two roommates. This love scene was strange, intensifying the mystery surrounding LUH 3417’s status. Indeed, with the shaven heads of the two lovers, the scene was curiously androgynous, making it hard to tell if THX 1138 and LUH 3417 were of the same sex, were of the opposite sex, or were twin Jedi siblings. However, due to this sexual awakening, THX 1138 left behind the mind control of the priests of OMM and his impotent and robotic state and moved into a more aware, assertive and sexually potent stage. This effectively transformed him from an old, frozen and impotent Tin Man into a virile young Scarecrow, despite later attempts by the subterranean state to refreeze him with mind blocks and electro staffs. This transformation was important, for it was the first time that a physical, psychological and spiritual transformation from one Ozian element to another occurred in the same character in a Lucas film. Indeed, this transformation became the idiosyncratic hallmark of the early films of Lucas, and the major innovation Lucas brought to the static characters of THE WIZARD OF OZ. In fact, this transformation anticipated the virile transformations of psychologically frozen Tin Men Luke and Anakin Skywalker, and the carbon frozen Han Solo-played by Mark Hamill, Sebastian Shaw and Harrison Ford, respectively-in the trimatic and allegorical Lucas executive produced and Richard Marquand directed film, STAR WAR EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983). Little wonder that Keanu Reeves’ similarly old and impotent young X gang member John Anderson preferred the ruby red pill over the TZ disaster blues pill when offered up both at his first meeting with Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus in THE MATRIX-clearly, Anderson had seen THX 1138 and knew the transformative power of the ruby red pill, turning THE MATRIX into THE MATRHX.

 

            With his ruby red virility regained and his inquiring mind reawakened, THX 1138 suddenly realized that he was not living in the pristine Emerald City but in an underworld similar to Sogo, the drugged out subterranean labyrinth beneath the Black Castle of the Wicked Witch of the West on planet 16 of the Tau Ceti system in BARBARELLA. A timely reminder, reiterating that Lucas was satirizing his drug obsessed and underground counter-cultural generation in darker but still absurdist fashion in THX 1138 as Vadim did in BARBARELLA. Indeed, for the crimes of drug evasion and monogamous sexuality, THX 1138 and LUH 3417 were soon solemnly branded enemies of the state at a mock trial that underlined that the film’s subterranean future state actually symbolized the youthful, drug obsessed and free loving underground of the counter-cultural rebels of the Sixties, a mock trial that ironically reversed the absurd grilling Charlton Heston’s hippy bearded Taylor received by the establishment orangutans of PLANET OF THE APES. After being found guilty, the tall robot police officers in black uniforms with silver faces-kind of a cross between Vader, the Imperial Stormtroopers (most commonly referred to as Imps), the Black Guards of the Wicked Tyrant and the Castle Soldiers of THE WIZARD OF OZ-took THX 1138 away for reprogramming and conditioning in detention. These robot officers initially carried white batons on hip loops. Later these batons were exchanged for long black humming electro-shock staffs-early lightsabers that recalled the samurai swords of the films of Kurosawa and that linked well with the lonely and haunting notes of a Japanese-like flute that were heard intermittently in the soundtrack by Lalo Schifrin, an organic flute that contrasted hopefully with the inorganic, sterile and technological environment of THX 1138-that were used to stun THX 1138 into submission for reprogramming.

 

Significantly, prior to reprogramming, THX 1138 was probed by impersonal machines in a way that anticipated the robotic medical treatment Luke Skywalker received on Hoth after escaping the wampa in the Lucas executive produced and Irvin Kershner directed allegorical sequel, STAR WARS EPISODE V:THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980) and the later and machine aided dark transformation of Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH. This impersonal medical machine attention reminded us of the thorough medical treatment Lucas received after his near fatal car accident in 1962. In fact, this real hospital drama link was underlined when THX 1138 was taken afterwards to the detention area, a surreal and ghostly white sensory deprived lunar landscape. For with its eerie white surreality and its white smocked inmates debating the cosmic order, the detention area evoked a hospital lounge full of quietly recuperating and commiserating patients. This hospital lounge quality was underlined by the fact that THX 1138 realized here how much he wanted to live and be with LUH 3417. This realization reminded us of the teenaged Lucas, and how he decided to leave stock car racing behind and do something more with his life after recovering in hospital from his near fatal car crash. The lunar detention area also suggested a student lounge full of commiserating film students at USC. One of its members, a bearded dwarf called a shell dweller and played by Mark Lawhead, anticipated the mysterious DJ Wolfman Jack-played by Robert Smith-in AMERICAN GRAFFITI. This lunar twilight zone also anticipated the post-apocalyptic, Cold War desert wastes of Tatooine and the equally white lunar snowscape of Hoth. And, while ominous, this lunar area was also a positive omen for THX 1138, for it reminded us that the Wicked Witch of the West melted like the Winter snow at the end of THE WIZARD OF OZ, leading to the whole and harmonious springing escape of Dorothy from Oz and back to health in harmony in Kansas.

 

            In this detention area THX 1138 renewed his acquaintance with SEN 5241, a sentient and crazed Kenobish figure who was part grandiose Great Oz and part ludicrously sinister Vader. In Vader mode, he tried to convince THX 1138 to join him on a break for freedom where they could form a New Republic-style ‘…new alignment’, anticipating Vader’s efforts to persuade Luke to join him at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. As Darth Vader symbolized the ‘Dark Father’ of Lucas in the Classic Trilogy-indeed, Darth Vader was literally a Dutch phrase for ‘Dark Father’-the dramatized conflict between father and son clearly received first airing in the conflict between SEN 5241 and THX 1138 here in the detention area. Indeed, this implication that SEN 5241 was a symbolic father of THX 1138 was reinforced by the fact that SEN 5241’s name had already evoked Fredersen and his conflict with his son, the idealistic Freder, in METROPOLIS. A significant reinforcement, as SEN 5241 had revealed an insen plot to have his onanistic roommate ONA replaced with THX 1138 earlier in the film. This strange revelation suggested that SEN 5241 was eager to leave onanism behind and begin a sexual relationship with his symbolic son, THX 1138, a bizarre plot that linked SEN to incestuous sin. While not treated as significant in THX 1138, this incestuous theme returned and assumed greater importance in each new Lucas directed or produced film, climaxing in RETURN OF THE JEDI.   Indeed, this revelation raised the spectre of incest and even homosexuality for the first time in the films of Lucas, leading to the dire threats of Darth Vader and the Emperor to turn Leia and Luke to the Dark Side in the Classic Trilogy. A sexual assault by an older male on a sleeping younger male in the detention area also underlined that dark and diseased sexual forces were at work in the films of Lucas starting with THX 1138.

 

Curiously, a thoughtful and philosophic old man-played by Ian Wolfe, who also ominously linked Lucas and THX 1138 to television and the Twilight Zone like Duval and Pleasance via a small role as Schwimmer in ‘Uncle Simon’, a season five episode of the original Twilight Zone series in a twilit trio of links for Lucas-who was also imprisoned in the surreal lunar emptiness with SEN 5241 and THX 1138 could be seen as the true frozen and impotent Tin Man of THX 1138. Luckily for THX 1138, despite Wolfe’s link to the Twilight Zone, an emboldening and elemental Ozian conjunction seemed to take place with the arrival and the reassuring and thoughtful advice of this old Tin Man. For the Great SEN and the THX Crow soon decided to flee the directionless detention area, and find and rescue LUH 3417 from her cell in the underground Black Castle. This rescue mission was provoked by an unexpected and dreamy meeting THX 1138 had with LUH 3417 in the detention area. At this meeting LUH 3417 quickly revealed that she was pregnant, and then the two eerily similar lovers made love again. Afterwards, and while still wrapped in each other’s arms, robot police officers surprised the two lovers and led them both away to their separate fates. This dreamy encounter with LUH 3417 led to electro-staff shock reprogramming for THX 1138 by a twilit trio of robot police officers, and finally to his escape with SEN 5241 and their attempted rescue of LUH 3417 from the Wicked OMM. They fled into the white emptiness, anticipating Luke Skywalker’s flight from the wampa’s cave in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. However, the surreal and directionless lunar landscape did not change no matter how far they walked, neither receding nor advancing. This was the ultimate impotent moment in this impotent underworld dream, as disorienting and frustrating for viewer as escaper-an eerie experience straight out of the Twilight Zone.

 

After some time, a mysterious figure slowly emerged in front of SEN 5241 and THX 1138, anticipating the emergence of the figure of Han Solo on tauntaun back in front of the frozen figure of Luke in the surreal and lunar white snowscape of Hoth in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. This unusual figure was a huge Afro-American man named SRT-played by Don Pedro Colley-who recalled the Afro-American holo-television dancers who had earlier injected THX 1138 with their Afro mojo. SRT was an odd, virile and jocular character-sort of a cross between the Cowardly Lion, Chewbacca, Lando, Ahmed Best’s Jar Jar Binks and Samuel L. Jackson’s Mace Windu-who anticipated the arrival of Morpheus in THE MATRIX TRILOGY. And like Lando rescuing Luke at the end of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, SRT casually and jovially led SEN 5241 and THX 1138 to freedom and safety. Thus, another Ozian conjunction of sorts occurred at last in THX 1138, as the airy and garrulous Great SEN, the earthy and virile THX-Crow, and the fiery and imposing Cowardly SRT united to escape the lunar void and complete the healing quest by rescuing LUH 3417 and saving her from wicked underworlds, OMMs and television in classic Ozian fashion. The heroic threesome also evoked all of the other great heroic threesomes in the history of fantastic literature-from Bounding Elk, Great Serpent and Hawkeye tracking the lost Munro sisters in The Last of the Mohicans and Aramis, Athos and Porthos coming to the aid of D’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers, to Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas tracking Merry and Pippin in The Two Towers. And the Cowardly SRT led the way like a dreamworld frontier scout, pointing to a door behind the Great SEN and the THX-Crow that was in the whiteout wall of this surreal and lunar womb. The door led to rebirth from the white womb into the maddening and crushing castle inmate crowds in the corridors of the subterranean labyrinth.

 

The Great SEN was quickly carried away by the relentless press and flow of the anonymous shaven headed inmate throngs of the underground labyrinth in the first narrative split in the films of Lucas. A fitting sight, reminding us that the Great Oz drifted away in his phallic hot air balloon before Dorothy and Toto could ride with him in his basket at the end of THE WIZARD OF OZ. The sight of SEN 5241 drifting away also underlined how eager Lucas was to escape from the grip of his father by succeeding as an independent director. At any rate, the Great SEN soon got into trouble while lost on his solo odyssey. In fact, the Great SEN attacked a blue and black robed holo-tv priest of OMM from behind when this priest tried to contact the robot police after catching him in OMM’s holocast television studio. The wild and grandiose SEN 5241 then knocked out or even killed the priest by throwing him to the ground from behind. Significantly, this knockout not only anticipated a similar knockout of a pesky and inquiring Nazi by Ford’s Indiana Jones in the Lucas executive produced and Spielberg directed allegorical film RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), but also exactly anticipated the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI. Indeed, Darth Vader also eventually picked up the similarly black robed and quasi-religious Emperor from behind and threw him down the pentultimate garbage chute at the conclusion of the Classic Trilogy. Significantly, Vader was also initially a dutiful and obedient servant of the subterranean machineworld like the Great SEN before he rebelled and joined the ‘New Alignment’ of the Rebellion, underlining the link between the two spiritually emancipated heroes.

 

Thus, this link to Vader implied again that SEN 5241 was the first satirical jab at Lucas’ stubborn and intractable, small town Republican and sexually diseased ‘Dark Father’ in a Lucas film. Linking SEN 5241 to Vader and Lucas sr. also reiterated that THX 1138 was the first manifestation of the cinematic alter ego of George Lucas in the films of Lucas, underlying the personal nature of the satire in THX 1138. This was an important milestone, for linking Lucas to THX 1138 confirmed that the labyrinthine underworld of the film was on one level the underground film student world of Lucas. These links reiterated the importance of the transformation of THX 1138 from frozen and impotent Tin Man to virile and vigorous Scarecrow with the help of LUH 3417, and how the transformation anticipated Lucas’ own triumphant transformation into virile and successful J.D. Jedi filmmaker with the help of the success of AMERICAN GRAFFITI and the Classic Trilogy.

 

The Great SEN’s quick exit also ended the triumphant Ozian trio, taking the healing and airy energy of the Great Oz away from viewers and characters. This disappearance in a way briefly transformed the THX-Crow and the Cowardly SRT into a Dorothy and guardian Toto pair. At one point, THX 1138 also briefly went through a Cowardly Lion phase after the disappearance of the Great Sen, lying on a morgue stretcher and pretending he was dead to avoid being captured at one point by two pursuing robot police officers. Thus, THX 1138 went through another Ozian phase, a transformative journey that came full elemental circle when he came across a computer terminal in his frantic underground odyssey with SRT. This terminal allowed THX 1138 to make like the Great SEN in his underworld monitoring centre job. Thus, THX 1138 completed a full circle transformative journey in THX 1138 that carried him through each Ozian elemental personification in turn, making him a whole and holy man. This was an extremely important innovation in the films of Lucas, underlining the healing nature of his films and anticipating a similar holy journey completed by the priest-like Jedi Knight, Luke Skywalker, in the Classic Trilogy.

 

However, this healing and holy transformation was a bittersweet victory for the newly emancipated THX 1138. For the terminal allowed the whole and harmonious THX 1138 to track down LUH 3417 and discover that she had been terminated, and that her alphanumeric code has been reassigned to another Brave New World-style test tube foetus, a sight that prepared us for the Clone troopers of the Millenial Trilogy. Curiously, this disappointing revelation anticipated Lucas’ real life divorce, and the departure of his wife Marcia from his life forever after TZ disaster and the critical and popular failure of RETURN OF THE JEDI. This revelation also ended the healing Ozian cadence of the film, as there was now no need to find, liberate and heal Dorothy in the form of LUH 3417. However, despite the death of LUH 3417, the now harmonious THX 1138 and the virile and healthy SRT still stood in complete contrast to the drugged up and sickly inmates of the underground society, and quickly decided to escape the underworld. Ironically, however, while a symbol of virile life Force, SRT was not actually alive. In fact, he insisted in his jovial, Jar Jar Binks-like fashion that he was actually just a hologram. This definitely linked him to the male and female Afro-American holocast television dancers seen earlier in the movie. Thus, it was not surprising that SRT did not succeed in escaping the television linked underground labyrinth. Indeed, after leaping free of the endless underground hallway maze and from robot police pursuit and out into an underground parking lot, SRT and THX 1138 broke into separate rocket cars and attempted to blast away to freedom. However, the rocket car of SRT was a wicked black car to the sinister left of the virtuous white rocket car of THX 1138, a colour and position that spelled doom for the jovial hologram. Not surprisingly, the naïve and literally unworldly hologram proved to be too non-human and unknowledgeable to successfully operate his phallic car. He promptly lost control and crashed prematurely into a pillar, trapping him in the twilit television zone forever.

 

This was a pivotal and seminal car crash and death that evoked Lucas’ own pivotal and seminal car crash. And like the real Great Crash of ’62, this car crash both ended a way of life and began a liberating new way of life. For robot police officers stopped to examine the wreck, allowing THX 1138 to escape the labyrinth and blast out of the subterranean underworld in his virtuous white rocket car and down a long and winding escape tunnel that anticipated the Death Star trench at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Ominously, one of the pursuing robot officers was numbered 23, linking Lucas to the wreck of a helicopter in the future TZ disaster on July 23, 1982. However, despite this ominous and twilit link, the rocketing white car of THX 1138 was an important symbol, like the ruby red polygon, the ruby red pill and the three Afro-American holograms. For the car represented virility, harmonious and healthy life Force, and the side of Good. Of course, these qualities anticipated the arrival of the equally harmonious and powerful J.D.s, Jedettes and Jedi in AMERICAN GRAFFITI, the Classic Trilogy and the Millenium Trilogy. The white rocket car also clearly represented liberation from underground youth society and all of its somnambulistic and unimaginative pod people, from draconian and sterile overlord establishment authority and its prying television, and from one’s own inner subconscious maze of fears and anxieties.

 

Of course, linking cars to freedom came naturally to a filmmaker who spent so much time as a teenager stock car racing. Indeed, a powerful and liberating yellow brick road coloured race car had already appeared in his student film 1:42:08 (1966), and rocket cars or spaceships would also appear in most of the subsequent films and telefilms of Lucas, from the rocketing hot rods of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, to the Deathpod racers and rocket ships of the STAR WARS films. In fact, wholey THX 1138 even suffered from an engine temperature overheat problem that temporarily stopped his rocket car at one point in his desperate escape, anticipating a similar overheating problem that temporarily halted Jake Lloyd’s equally wholey Anakin Skywalker in his Death pod race against his evil Dark Side Sebulba-voiced by Lewis MacLeod-in STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE. After solving his heating problem, the healing and wholey Ozian Force was clearly now with the harmonious THX 1138 as he made his liberating escape in his rocketing car. However, racing down the winding and Yellow Lined Road of the escape tunnel-a Yellow Lined Road that returned in AMERICAN GRAFFITI-THX 1138 was pursued by two of the tall, black clad, robot police officers.

 

These two officers rode two white jetcycles in a tight tandem, hunched over their bikes in relentlessly roaring pursuit of THX 1138 like two hellbent flying monkeys trying to take him back to the Black Castle, or like two Wicked Witch sisters on horsey broomsticks. The sight of the two officers was ironic, reminding us that Duval played a pursuing highway patrol motorcyclist named Gordon in Coppola’s film, THE RAIN PEOPLE (1969). They also made an ominous pair, darkly foreboding the two TIE fighters that accompanied Darth Vader on his relentless pursuit of Luke Skywalker down the Death Star trench at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This link to the climatic end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE was reinforced by the radio chatter and the scenes of the underground control room that were interspersed with the rocketing cars and bikes throughout the relentless chase. In fact, all of these control room elements anticipated similar Imperial and Rebel control room activity throughout the Classic Trilogy. Indeed, in one snippet of control room chatter heard earlier in the movie we heard a male voice say, ‘…OK start your descent’ to THX 1138 when he was at work making robot police officers, a voice and phrase that was repeated in the Rebel cockpit chatter at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Of course, this time the control room scenes and chatter were linked to the evil underworld Empire that was trying to capture instead of aid the rocketing hero. And the first Empire monitored the progress of THX 1138 down the trench tunnel with amusingly detached and drugged incomprehension, abruptly calling off the chase when a computer impersonally signalled that expenditure for the chase had exceeded the allotted budget. Ironically, this ending anticipated the ending of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, where success was also achieved when a computer was shut down, and a man was left to his own intuitive devices.

 

And left alone he was, as THX 1138 crashed his rocket car at an almost TZ disaster day predicting 235 mph into some unavoidable construction crew obstacles and leapt from the freedom machine to faithfully continue his race for life. Humourously, he was quickly swarmed by a group of dwarven-and, in the 2004 CGI Special Edition, simian-‘shell dwellers’. In the original version of the film, these shell dwellers were mostly alienated Munchkin dwarves like the shell dweller previously met in the detention area that attacked and attempted to capture THX 1138, as if in bitter reminder of the miserable fate that befell people who refused to leave behind childhood and adolescence. Fortunately, THX 1138’s transformative Ozian journey had left him a whole and harmonious adult who was easily able to fend off these warped Munchkins and leave Oz behind forever. Indeed, THX 1138 soon found a tunnel ladder that allowed him to climb up, up and out of the subterranean labyrinth, looking with his bald head like a determinedly rising human erection. The steadily climbing figure of THX 1138 also evoked the determinedly climbing heroic duo of Freder and his friend Josaphat-played by Theodor Loos-who climbed resolutely up two ladders and out of the subterranean worker underworld to unite the underworld and upperworld populations at the end of METROPOLIS. Significantly, the two men united the two populations in part by rescuing Maria and the children of the underworld workers before they were drowned by the rising waters of a burst underground reservoir, ominously linking Lucas and his first film again to accidents involving children years before the TZ disaster. Freder also united the two populations of METROPOLIS by using his big heart to triumph over mad scientist Rotwang and his evil and enslaving machine man, and to mediate between the cold mind of his father and the hot hands of Heinrich George’s Grot, the foreman leader of the underworld workers.   However, this time Freder was leaving his possible father SEN behind, rather than heading towards a reconciliation with him as in METROPOLIS or RETURN OF THE JEDI.

 

A lone police robot monkey followed him up the ladder in despairing pursuit, its Tin Man figure reminding us that THX 1138 began the movie as a robotic human Tin Man before the start of his invigorating and transformative journey. Amusingly, this Tin Officer taunted the steadily climbing hero like an insipid Darth Vader, inanely telling THX 1138 to ‘…please turn back…this is your last chance’. But THX 1138 had clearly defeated his impotent Tin Man Dark Side. Indeed, he simply ignored the robot monkey, who soon stopped and turned back when the control room called off the overly expensive chase. This was an unnoticed but significant milestone in the films of Lucas, marking the first time that the Forces of Evil were defeated not by an hero, but by their own dimwitted greed and incomprehension, in the end. In fact, this distinctive and idiosyncratic ending prepared the viewer for the self destruction of Ford’s Bob Falfa, Paul Freeman’s Rene Belloq, McDiarmid’s Emperor and Christensen’s Skyfaller at the end of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI and STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH.

 

Then swelling 2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY-style music played as THX 1138 scrambled up the last few rungs of the tunnel ladder to freedom from youthful student underground worlds and their underground films with their disharmonic framing and soundscapes. Finally, the embattled and wholey hero escaped the diseased and drugged underworld labyrinth with its hints of incest, and stood harmonious and free of establishment cameras and tv monitors in the fresh air of a sunlit day. And here in the healthy open air and blazing sunlight of Kansas reality, THX 1138 stood triumphantly erect and reborn in front of an huge, apocalyptic and mushroom cloud-like setting sun like a true silhouetted Scarecrow. Clearly, his subterranean life was setting and a new day was rising for THX 1138 as well, and he was united with an organic universe and with God, at last. This sunset vista anticipated the setting sun that began AMERICAN GRAFFITI, and the twin setting suns of Tatooine at the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and the end of STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH. Unfortunately, the setting sun also brought with it twilight, bringing Lucas closer to his own journey through the Twilight Zone, an ominous journey affirmed by the presence of Duval. The sunlit vista also hinted of a real world rendezvous with the African queen of his holo-tv dreams, like Dorothy’s real world rendezvous with Hunk Andrews, a rendezvous that came true in the new millennium when Lucas began to be seen with Mellody Hobson. An intriguing possibility, for at the moment THX 1138 had triumphed in the end but had not got the girl, linking him to D’Artagnan and Hawkeye and anticipating other triumphant but single heroes like John Milner, Luke Skywalker and Indiana Jones at the end of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, and INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE.  

 

And so, like Barbarella and Pygar, THX 1138 was at last free from the disaffected, drugged, frustrated and impotent youthful underground labyrinth mentality and the establishment and its exuberantly gloomy planetary nuclear apocalypse. At last Lucas left behind establishment and film school pessimism and his generation’s wild underground rebellion and openly embraced a harmonious world free of disease and drugs. This evoked the daylit and harmonious ending of THE WIZARD OF OZ and prepared the viewer for similar daylit endings at the end of AMERICAN GRAFFITI and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This healing ending also broke the viewer away from the pessimistic and sterile post-apocalyptic Cold War mentality for the first time in the films of Lucas, anticipating the triumphant endings of the Classic Trilogy to come. In fact, like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, THX 1138 was one of the first post-World War II allegorical films to escape from the Cold War in the end, making THX 1138 one of the first true post-Cold War films. Clearly, this was an important new beginning and not an ending for THX 1138, Lucas and film. Indeed, the ending of THX 1138 was a perfect and prescient metaphor for the life and films of Lucas. For the ending presaged Lucas’ own embattled and ultimately successful escape from his father, the boring, unimaginative and pod people filled small town labyrinth of Modesto and his defeatist fellow film students and the MAD establishment, and eventual triumph as an independent and imaginative Jedi filmmaker. This triumphant ending also anticipated his liberation from the benevolent but constricting influence of his mentor Coppola and his separation from his wife, Marcia. A significant farewell to hippy flower power impotence that anticipated the rise of the disciplined and determined ranks of the militant film Rebellion and its unswerving dream of restoring a bold New Hollywood Republic policed by wise but tough and unyielding and triumphant Jedi Director Knights in the Classic Trilogy. Unfortunately, however, with its three actors from the original Twilight Zone series and its desperate flight from a robot police officer numbered 23, Lucas also unknowingly anticipated his fight to escape the stain of the TZ disaster in THX 1138 and hopefully escape from its twilit grip in the end, as well.

 

            Not surprisingly, the Sixties counter-culture did not enjoy this farewell very much. Indeed, combining aspects of underground film like innovative sound and visual f/x, disharmonious, disjointed and discordant editing and framing, inspired but bizarre acting with a satirical send-up of the youth culture of the time and an anti-drug polemic to emphasize that you were breaking free from the underground to form a bold and disciplined new establishment did not prove a popular mix with young audiences. In fact, as with METROPOLIS, THX 1138 influenced the look of future allegorical film and television, but was a box office flop after its release on March 11, 1971. The public did not connect with its strange imagery, incomprehensible story and dissonant characters. Only Woody Allen took notice, gleefully lampooning the surreal oddness of the film in SLEEPER (1973), his humourous roast of early Seventies society and such allegorical films as 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, BARBARELLA, PLANET OF THE APES, and THX 1138. Indeed, the robot police officers of THX 1138 returned in SLEEPER as bumbling robot butlers, an allusion Lucas would return in the Classic Trilogy with the bumbling robot butler form of Anthony Daniels’ famous protocol droid, C3PO. Even worse, the Charles Manson Family trial concluded in L.A. two weeks after the film’s release. Manson and his family showed up for his sentencing sporting shaven heads, weird pale white cueball heads that were prominently featured on television and in the newspapers. This shaven sight may have led the public to associate THX 1138 with bizarre hippy drug mind control and shun the film, feeling the film was not only too freaky but too Squeaky in 1971. Amusingly, this fear of THX 1138 may have been increased by the fact that a Location Sound Technician with the unfortunate name of Jim Manson was listed in the downward falling opening credits of the film.

 

At any rate it was a disastrous and embarrassing film debut for American Zoetrope, Coppola, Lucas and the cast and crew of THX 1138. The triumphant THX 1138 dream of artistic independence was almost over before it began. Indeed, Warner Brothers cancelled their five film deal with American Zoetrope after seeing THX 1138 for the first time, a cancellation on Thursday, November 19, 1970 known forever after as Black Thursday to Coppola and Lucas. Warner Brothers also asked for all of their development money back, money that had already been spent buying equipment for the new studio, making THX 1138 and developing the four other films in the deal. Thus, Coppola and Lucas found themselves without the nurturing support of Warner Brothers, and in hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt with the completion of THX 1138. It was the first time, but not the last time that Lucas would get into trouble because of Warner Brothers (Maxford 11-2 and Pollock 79-106). However, the collapse of the deal was not entirely bad, as it made Coppola and Lucas more aware of the ruthless and cutthroat nature of the film business and of the major Hollywood film studios.

 

In fact, it was likely that the treatment of the two young filmmakers by Warner Brothers became the subject for a film, for the ruthless and cutthroat nature of the major film studios was similar to the ruthless and cutthroat nature of New York Mafia families in Coppola’s THE GODFATHER (1972). This interpretation of this CITIZEN CAIN film was underlined by the murder of Lenny Montana’s Luca Brasi, and the failed attempt on the life of Marlon Brando’s Don Corleone, for the scenes evoked Warner Brothers’ attempted destruction of the hopes and dreams of brash Lucas and Coppola, the Don of American Zoetrope. That Lucas was sympathetic to this interpretation of these scenes was underlined by the fact that he created the montage of newspaper articles and images that followed the attempted hit on Don Corleone. Clearly, Coppola and Lucas were scarred but wiser for the attempted hit by Warner Brothers, and would treat the major studio families with a more knowing and cautious cunning in the future. Indeed, the sight of Al Pacino’s college educated Michael Corleone and the returning Duval’s Tom Hagen orchestrating the murders of the heads of the various Mafia families at the end of the film underlined that Coppola and Lucas now aimed to defeat the Hollywood studio families at their own game. In fact, Coppola had already indicated that he was committed to attacking and defeating Hollywood at its own game by co-writing with Edmund H. North the Oscar winning screenplay for Franklin J. Schaffner’s embattled and indomitable film, PATTON (1970), which saw George C. Scott’s Patton in battle in the Second World War. The director Star Wars had begun, and when Coppola and Lucas succeeded, they would force the Hollywood studio families to accept an offer they could not refuse (Kline 61).

 

Significantly, THE GODFATHER also continued the exploration of tensions between the Old and New World and, thus, between Old and New Hollywood seen in Coppola’s first offering, the no doubt allegorical film DEMENTIA 13 (1963). Indeed, this low budget ripoff of Hitchcock’s television fearing PSYCHO (1960) saw murderous tension develop between two beautiful American blondes and an Irish family in creepy Castle Halloran in Ireland. This tension led to the murder of Luana Anders’ Louise, and the decapitation of Karl Schanzer’s old Simon the poacher, both by Bart Patton’s axe wielding young Irish psycho, Billy Halloran. Significantly, Billy went beserk due to growing internal tensions resulting from never confessing that he had drowned his younger sister Kathleen-played by Barbara Dowling-as a child in a pond on the Castle Halloran grounds. In fact, the entire Halloran family was haunted by this drowning, a drowning that was only revealed to be a murder with the outing and defeat of Billy, in the end. Thus, like Lucas, Coppola was ominously linked to the death of a child, two other murders, a decapitation and a possible coverup of these deaths as early as 1963, more haunting memories of the future that eerily anticipated the fatal disaster that claimed three lives on the set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE in 1982, setting off the dread Zone Wars.

 

Curiously, DEMENTIA 13 also anticipated Coppola’s return to studying tensions between Ireland and the US, and hence tensions between Old and New Worlds and Old and New Hollywoods as in THE GODFATHER in his musical, FINIAN’S RAINBOW (1968), and his first meeting with Lucas, visiting the set on a post-grad USC grant. The PSYCHO-style of DEMENTIA 13 also anticipated the sight of another attractive blonde-Shirly Knight’s Natalie Ravenna-driving off on her own like Vera Miles’ Marion Crane of PSYCHO and meeting up with tragedy in THE RAIN PEOPLE. Curiously, THE RAIN PEOPLE ended with James Caan’s Irish linked Kilgannon being shot dead by Marya Zimmet’s young daughter Rosalie while he fought with her motorcycle officer father Gordon-played by Duval-over Ravenna. This tragic ending linked another child to another twilit trio, in another eerie memory of the future that was reiterated in the year of the release of THX 1138 by the European theatre release of an allegorical telefilms by Spielberg called DUEL (1971), a harrowing story of a helpless and impotent driver in a television shaped car being prevented from passing, and sometimes being pursued by, a monster truck that implied that Spielberg was afraid that he would be trapped in television forever and never become a film director-indeed, a fear of television was common in his early work, particularly in the screenplay he wrote for Tobe Hooper’s POLTERGEIST (1982)-an implication underlined by the presence of Dennis Weaver as David Mann, the driver of the television shaped car. For DUEL and Spielberg were also linked to the Twilight Zone, as DUEL was based on a short story that was developed into a screenplay by Matheson, a writer for the original Twilight Zone television series. In fact, Spielberg had started off his television career with the ‘Eyes’ (1969) segment of the three segment television pilot of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery television series-which featured film star Joan Crawford as Ms. Menlo, a woman so blind to the rise of television and New Hollywood that she fell to her doom when given youthful eyes, in the end-bringing him, Coppola and Lucas closer to a fateful side trip into the Twilight Zone.