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I've always thought that when Dr. Lecter was moved to see the Senator, he and the prison guard "Barney" trade a glance, and there's a scene shot of a pen that's lying around. My thought was that Barney allowed Lecter to take that pen, and that he swallowed a piece of it and kept it for that purpose.

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Question is looking little unclear to me. –  Near Jul 14 '13 at 17:21
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The main body of your question appears to be your own answer. –  Nobby Jul 14 '13 at 20:31
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This question along with others you have posted seem to be copied from Quora. As per their policies you must provide a link back to the original in order for the question to be replicated. –  TylerShads Jul 14 '13 at 22:10

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In the movie, it is implied that Lecter somehow stole Chilton's pen and used it to fashion a key for the handcuffs that he expects the Tennessee police to use to restrain him.

In the book, he's been in possession of the key for some time in anticipation of a chance. His interest is piqued by the Senator's offer in part due to the fact that Chilton tells him that the Tennessee police will get custody of him (and he will be out of Crawford's jurisdiction). Quoting from the book:

At Last Dr. Chilton has said something interesting, and he doesn't even know what it is. Dr. Lecter pursed his red lips behind the mask. The custody of police. Police are not as wise as Barney. Police are accustomed to handling criminals. They're inclined to use leg irons and handcuffs. Handcuffs and leg irons open with a handcuff key. Like mine.

Later, Crawford reads the following message on his computer screen:

MEMPHIS POX RECOVERED 2 ITEMS IN SEARCH OF LECTER'S CELL.

(1) IMPROVISED HANDCUFF KEY MADE FROM BALLPOINT TUBE. INCISIONS BY ABRASION, BALTIMORE REQUESTED TO CHECK HOSPITAL CELL FOR TRACES OF MANUFACTURE, AUTH COPLEY, SAC MEMPHIS.

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The metal pin is the pen tip from Chilton's pen, which he stole. He held it in his mouth to hide it until he was ready to use it.

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Could you provide some more explanations of when he took that pen? I think you are right, but cannot remember it that well. Was it during the signing of his contract with the senator? –  Sonny Burnett Jul 15 '13 at 7:19
    
I do not believe the movie ever makes that clear. I just watched some key scenes over again and saw no good evidence of how it was taken. I also did a text search of the script and saw no telling references to a pen. The book (unsurprisingly) is more detailed. –  Tortilla Jul 15 '13 at 7:35

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