Blu-ray Disc - 2019
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A man and a woman try desperately to escape the totalitarian regime they live in that bans nearly all free-thinking and love itself. Based on the book by George Orwell. This is the version released in 1984.
Publisher: [New York] : The Criterion Collection, [2019]
Edition: Director-approved Blu-ray special edition
ISBN: 9781681436128
Branch Call Number: BLURAY NINETEE 1DISC
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (110 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in
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Nov 15, 2020

Radford's 1984 is about as strikingly stylized a movie as could be. A new manner of lighting invented for the film drains most of the color out of interior and urban scenes, while the vision of a bucolic English paradise to which Winston Smith (John Hurt) is taken or goes by himself and remembers some past events as having occurred--though its first appearance is premonitory, not recollected--is a pastel landscape of gently real colors. Medium shots predominate, with closeups and long shots used strategically to heighten the tension between what is real and what ginned up in and about Oceania and to noticeably evade the question, Why? Take lengths are fairly long, and camera movements and editing eschew shock effects so that the horror of the film's world seeps into viewers' souls rather than being shoved in their faces and down their throats. In the invaluable bonuses on the DVD, Radford's deliberateness in every aspect of the film's making is ultimately related to his conviction that faithfulness to Orwell's novel includes most importantly the sense that what we are watching is a 1948 conception, not futuristic like those of most earlier adaptations. The most latter-day contemporaneity on hand is the score made up of orchestral cues by Dominic Muldowney and soft-rock cues by the Eighties pop duo Eurhythmics, but neither element in it is intrusive rather than dramatically serviceable. And in other aspects, the movie refrains from spelling things out or hammering them home; e.g., the name--INGSOC--of the all-powerful totalitarian Party that runs Oceania is never explained (it stands for English Socialist). In short, this 1984 is ironically tasteful, the handsome realization of an ultimate ugliness. Actor Hurt, whose face naturally embodies oppressed suffering, has the role he was meant to play here. Richard Burton in his last film (he died later in the real 1984) remains charismatic but as the personification of Death. Twenty-four-year-old former adolescent star Suzanna Hamilton as Winston's deliberate lover Julia (though what the spur of her deliberation actually is, is thoroughly clouded by the end of the picture) creates a startling presence, as plain as pretty, more carnal than sensuous. I can't imagine any need for another movie of 1984. This one's a wrap. --Ray Olson

Mar 03, 2020

Deeply disturbing movie as it is so indicative of what is happening currently in this country, and all western countries. The Orwell quote at the beginning of the movie “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.” gives me the shivers when I really think about.

Feb 21, 2020

Funny how many viewers found this depressing. Orwell’s book a triumph, the film uncannily faithful to it. Hurt and Hamilton even seemed to have the correct physiognomy. Given Room 9 wasn’t as awful as it should have been, Burton not really perfect for the part. The films within the film were great: They had me jumping out of my seat and shouting curses at Eurasians. “He loved Big Brother.” That’s not a happy ending? What’s not happy about that? Disney, that’s depressing.

Dec 12, 2019

It was very daunting, dark, different and good. I recall studying and reviewing this in English Lit. in high school back then. Q: How can they know and see everything happening without the advent of 'Modern-Technology', back then in 1984??? Thx.

Nov 21, 2019

Why was George Orwell not listed in the beginning credits? How close are we getting to our own 1984 now that false statements are taken to be the truth? Freedom and Democracy no longer mean anything. As this film exemplifies, it could to you. Amazon anyone?

Sep 10, 2019

If you want socialism, government control, this is a must see. Your rights gone, forever.

Sep 03, 2019

Set in the fictitious country of Oceania (in the year 1984) this is the horribly dismal place where citizen Winston Smith ekes out his incredibly squalid existence. Working for the Ministry of Truth, Winston sits quietly inside his tiny cubicle, obediently rewriting history according to the strictest specifications of The Party (aka. Big Brother).

Oceania is run by a ruthless totalitarian government known as the Superstate. All of Oceania's laws are stringently enforced by the barbaric Thought Police.

As you are certain to find out while watching "1984" - This is one harsh and oppressive story about the drastic lengths that a powerful government will go to in order to have total control over its citizens.

🗓 This is possibly the best film of a novel that was ever made. Burton is particularly impressive in his final film role. Pro tip: It's a bit of a downer, there's not a happy ending. No gun battles, car chases, explosions. Some nudity, but if you blink, you'll miss it. Highly recommended. However, I think Huxley's "Brave New World" is closer to predicting the future than Orwell ever was.

Aug 10, 2014

The Praxis Of DoubleThink - 2 + 2 = 5

1984 quote: "Can you hold onto two completely contradictory thoughts at the same time?"

WARNING! - 'Big Brother' Is Watching!

Grim. Bleak. Depressing..... This brutally joyless film is a cold and sobering remake based upon George Orwell's famous, futuristic novel (of the same name), which was written back in 1948. The original movie-production of "1984" was released in 1956.

The soundtrack for "1984" was written and performed by pop superstars 'The Eurythmics'.

Feb 20, 2014

'1984' is based on the eerily prophetic novel of the same name by George Orwell which shows a bleak world from which there is no escape for people from the tyranny of a few as they seek to control the masses through a steady dose of patriotic wars, constant misinformation and by changing the history itself. In this world, not only saying things as they are is unimaginable but even thinking them through is a crime as the citizenry needs to be dumbed down into a servile and mindless horde. Knowledge is power and it must be destroyed so that the perceived reality can be more easily shaped by oppressors who will settle for nothing less than blind devotion from people to perpetuate their own rule. A greatly disturbing film and a wonderful adaptation of a timeless classic. This is cinema in its finest hour.

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