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1984 (1956)

 |  Drama, Sci-Fi  |  September 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,908 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 11 critic

George Orwell's novel of a totalitarian future society in which a man whose daily work is rewriting history tries to rebel by falling in love.

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(freely adapted from the novel by: "1984"), (screenplay) (as William P. Templeton) , 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
O'Connor of the Inner Party
...
David Kossoff ...
Mervyn Johns ...
...
R. Parsons (as Donald Pleasance)
Carol Wolveridge ...
Ernest Clark ...
Outer Party Announcer
Patrick Allen ...
Inner Party Official
Ronan O'Casey ...
Michael Ripper ...
Outer Party Orator
Ewen Solon ...
Outer Party Orator
Kenneth Griffith ...
Prisoner (as Kenneth Griffiths)
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Storyline

In a futuristic, state-run society controlled by "Big Brother" in which love is outlawed, employee of the state Winston Smith falls for Julia, and is tortured and brainwashed for his crime. Written by Marty McKee <mmckee@wkio.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SEX OUTLAWED...in the terrifying world of tomorrow! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

September 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

1984  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Barry Sullivan was among the actors thought suitable for Winston Smith. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Patty Duke Show: Big Sister Is Watching (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No.9 Fourth Movement
(uncredited)
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Cold War 1984
27 December 2013 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

It's been too long since I read the book, so I'm just concerned with the movie as a movie. And what a downer the 90-minutes is for the generally sunny 1950's. Hard to think of a grimmer storyline or more downbeat ending for that period. I take the film's anomalous presence as a useful Cold War commentary on the Soviet Union, the rivalry then at its peak.

Anyhow, the sets are grim, even the one outdoor scene is drained of any natural beauty, while the photography remains dull gray, as it should be given the dystopian subject matter. Then too, the two leads, O'Brien and Sterling, are not exactly marquee names. However, they are excellent actors, as the storyline requires—you don't want "movie stars" competing with the plot-heavy symbolism. In short, the production, though clearly economical, is pretty uncompromising.

Story-wise we're plunged into the middle of the dystopian society without much explanation of how it got that way or why. Instead, the narrative emphasizes the tools of thought control among Party members, who are subjected to all sorts of thought conditioning techniques, such as the histrionic hate sessions. Just how the non-party people live is not really portrayed. However, love may be forbidden among Party members, but I doubt that it was among the common people, otherwise how would re-population take place.

Besides dwelling on Winston's (O'Brien) efforts at contacting the political underground, the script dwells on the forbidden love affair between Winston and Julia (Sterling). And I had to laugh when Julia sheds her shapeless Party uniform for a flowing white gown right out of the Loretta Young Show of the time. This may be the movie's one concession to 1950's norms. The film does manage a few twists, one of which I didn't see coming. But, if I have one complaint, it's that Redgrave's high Party official lacks subtlety, in pretty much a one-note performance. This can be seen as a defect if you think about his official's changing roles.

Anyway, the film remains a visual oddity for then as well as now. However, its thought- control message, though crudely put, may be more relevant in our digitalized age than it was then. At the same time, this is one of the few subjects that I think needs a bigger budget remake to do it justice. I haven't seen the latest remake from 1984, so I can't comment on its worth. All in all, this version maintains a grimly narrow, but thought-provoking focus.

(In passing—having seen the movie on first release, I seem to remember the "rat cage" sequence as being longer, more detailed with glowing eyes, and much scarier than my DVD version. But then that was well over 50-years ago.)


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