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1984 Movie Review

michael film edmond redgrave

To make a movie like 1984 IN 1984, as Michael Radford did, is to make a quaint period piece by default. It's bleak, it's interesting, but the whole raison d'etre for the film (to scare us out of our wits at what COULD happen!) is missing. When the novel was written in 1948, fears about the future had many people wondering if any of us would survive until 1984. Seven years later, in an edgy, Cold War – ridden world, Orwell's dark visions were still quite persuasive to 1950s audiences. A film noir atmosphere pervades the original film by Michael Anderson in 1956, enhanced by the casting of American noir icons like Edmond O'Brien as Winston Smith and Jan Sterling as Julia. Smith's great fear of rats is successfully exploited in the creepy Orwellian universe presided over by Michael Redgrave as O'Connor. Julia, too, is confronted with her greatest fear, and each betrays the other and their mutual dreams of love. They know that Big Brother is always watching. And WE know there are always more rats in the dark, the better to give us nightmares, My Dears…no 1980s special effects can compete with our terrorized imaginations…definitely worth a reissue on video!

1956 90m/B GB Edmond O'Brien, Jan Sterling, Michael Redgrave, David Kossoff, Mervyn Johns, Donald Pleasence, Carol Wolveridge, Ernest Clark, Ronan O'Casey, Kenneth Griffith; D: Michael Anderson Sr.; W: William Templeton, Ralph Gilbert Bettinson; C: N. Peter Rathvon.

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