Based on the 1951 Ray Bradbury novel of the same name. Guy Montag is a firefighter who lives in a lonely, isolated society where books have been outlawed by a government fearing an independent-thinking public. It is the duty of firefighters to burn any books on sight or said collections that have been reported by informants. People in this society including Montag's wife are drugged into compliancy and get their information from wall-length television screens. After Montag falls in love with book-hoarding Clarisse, he begins to read confiscated books. It is through this relationship that he begins to question the government's motives behind book-burning. Montag is soon found out, and he must decide whether to return to his job or run away knowing full well the consequences that he could face if captured. Written by
Brian Rathjen <email@example.com>
Fahrenheit 451" is a strange film, hard to describe. No one could have interpreted the classic Bradbury novel in the same bizarre, fascinating manner as Francois Truffaut. It's a book, and a film, about freedom, choices, individuality, and intellectual repression in a future where books are forbidden; where Firemen are men who start fires...fires in which they burn books.
It was also the first color film directed by Truffaut. Although he by all accounts was not happy about making a color film and found it a bit unsettling, color is used to great effect here; sparingly, except for the extreme shade of red that is seen throughout.
"Fahrenheit 451" is supposed to be the temperature at which book paper catches fire, as the protagonist Guy Montag (Oskar Werner) explains in a scene at the beginning. Guy is a Fireman who seems happy enough with his life until he is approached by a young woman named Clarisse (Julie Christie) on his way home from work one day. She starts up a conversation with him, and the two become friendly. She bewilders him but challenges him to think and feel....and read. And when he arrives home we see his wife (also played by Julie Christie, with long hair), sedated and watching the wallscreen (TV of sorts)...we see what his life is really like, although he had told Clarisse he was "happy"...he is not.
As his friendship with Clarisse grows, he starts to secretly take home, hoard, and read some of the books he finds in the course of his daily work, and as he reads, he becomes obsessed with the books. They become his mistress, and are what finally make him feel affection and warmth. And when he starts to feel and care, so do we.
The two single best scenes are a passionate one involving an old woman who refuses to leave her books, her "children" as she calls them; and the wonderful ending of the film. The countless, painful closeups of books as they are being burned are beautifully done, and difficult to watch.
Truffaut was a well-known disciple of Alfred Hitchcock's films, so when Hitchcock fired his long-time music collaborator Bernard Herrmann during the filming of "Torn Curtain", Truffaut was thrilled to acquire his talents for his own film. The score for "F451" is beautiful, and the film would not be nearly as effective without it.
Writer/producer/director Frank Darabont ("The Green Mile", "The Shawshank Redemption") is working on a new film of "Fahrenheit 451" this year. He says it won't be a remake of the original film.
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