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Kraft Suspense Theatre: Leviathan Five (1964)
Season 1, Episode 14
Great Adaptation of Speluncean Explorers
13 May 2006
This was a playlet based more or less on Harvard law professor Lon Fuller's article, The Case of the Speluncean Explorers. Fuller's article dealt with explorers trapped in a cave who resort to cannibalism-by-lottery in order to survive until rescued. In this version, five scientists and a security guard are trapped in a scientific installation deep underground when the only elevator shaft collapses. Having calculated their air supply, they find that survival is only possible if one of their number dies. All agree to a lottery: each will draw a computer knob from a basket (?) and withdraw to a private office, having first placed the security guard's gun on a table in the central office area. Whoever gets the black knob will have the choice of either killing himself or one of the others. If he decides to kill one of the others, the gun is to be wiped of prints and replaced on the table. After the shot, all will wait for some minutes before coming out to see what has happened.

As he himself predicts, the security guard gets it. Following the rescue, the five survivors are put on trial jointly for murder. Somewhat like the law article, the attorneys and the scientists argue over the legal issues involved. The title refers to Hobbes' Leviathan and his description of the social contract, the object of which is to ensure survival; in any case where survival is threatened, men can be said to leave civil society and to have returned to a state of nature where civil law simply does not apply.
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Brilliant film making
23 June 2004
Brilliant adaptation (and improvement) of the Moravia work, with the entire structure revolving around Plato's Republic added by Bertolucci. As a meditation on both tyranny and the tyrannized, it is unsurpassed in cinema.

The center of the film explicitly discusses the cave image in the Republic (the topic of Marcello's abortive thesis when he was Quadri's student). But that is not all: a reading of the immediately relevant sections of the Plato will make it obvious that it provided Bertolucci with a stream of imagery for the film. A reading of the entire work will reveal an even greater stream, largely taken from the discussions of tyranny and the tyrannic man (who, like the philosopher, is the same both dreaming and awake). In turn, this all ties in nicely with both Spider's Stratagem and Before the Revolution, among others of his films.
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