The Tenth Level
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2008)|
|The Tenth Level|
|Directed by||Charles S. Dubin|
|Produced by||George Bellak|
|Written by||George Bellak|
|Music by||Charles Gross|
|Edited by||George Hartman
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Release date(s)||April 3, 1976|
|Running time||94 min|
The Tenth Level is a 1976 TV-movie starring William Shatner. Inspired by the Stanley Milgram obedience research, this TV movie chronicles a psychology professor's study to determine why people, such as the Nazis, were willing to "just follow orders" and do horrible things to others. Professor Stephen Turner (Shatner) leads students to believe that they are applying increasingly painful electric shocks to other subjects when they fail to perform a task correctly, and is alarmed to see how much pain the students can be convinced to inflict "in the name of science."
In the movie dramatization there were actually 25 levels of increasing voltage/pain. However, the so-called tenth level was significant in that it was always the first time in which the actual test subject heard the other (false) test subject cry out in pain.
Rather than filmed and aired as a TV-movie, it was shot directly on videotape at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City and on location at Yale University where the original Milgram experiments had taken place, and presented as a teleplay reminiscent of the "Golden Age of Television" (the closing credits resembled those of CBS's anthology series Playhouse 90).
While never officially released on video or DVD, a low-quality video copy of the film can be purchased through websites specializing in rare films.