Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) Poster


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The movie was filmed during April, May and June 1984. The picture's closing credits declare that "this film was photographed in and around London during the period April-June 1984, the exact time and setting imagined by the author [George Orwell]".
Many of the scenes were shot on the actual days noted in Winston Smith's diary. The scene where Smith enters his apartment and writes in his diary, dating the entry April 4, 1984, was actually filmed on April 4, 1984.
This was Richard Burton's final film before his death on August 5, 1984 at the age of 58.
In poor health during most of the filming, Richard Burton had great difficulty remembering his lines and sometimes had to film a scene dozens of times before he could get it right. The scene in O'Brien's apartment where O'Brien is talking to Winston about Goldstein's book took a record of 41 takes for Burton to say his speech without fumbling his lines.
Director Michael Radford and cinematographer Roger Deakins originally wanted to shoot the film in black and white, but the financial backers of the production, Virgin Films, opposed this idea. Instead Deakins used a film processing technique called bleach bypass to create the distinctive washed-out look of the film's color visuals. The film is a very rare example of the technique being done on every release print, rather than the inter-negative or inter-positive; as the silver is retained in the print and the lab is unable to reclaim the silver, so the cost is higher, but the retained silver gives a "depth" to the projected image. The 2003 DVD release (the only release to restore Dominic Muldowney's full musical score) was mastered from the original negatives (not a release print), and thus inadvertently restored the film's original color saturation.
Director Michael Radford once said of this film: "There are attitudes of doublethink all around us. [George] Orwell pointed it out in a very extreme form. He was writing when the world had just experienced an upheaval from the Right (Nazism) but since then we have an upheaval from the Left (Soviet Communism) and now we can see both sides of it. What I have tried to do is tread a delicate path between satire and parody and make it clear that Orwell was offering a vision of totalitarianism derived from the world he knew. The film is not a pseudo-documentary about what might happen if the Soviets took over Britain. At bottom Nineteen Eighty-Four is about a human being and that's all. Orwell was a philosopher of human decency. There are no references to anything that happened after 1948. This is, in a sense, a period movie. I have tried to make the story utterly real, although the setting is utterly unreal. Everybody behaves as normally as possible, which produces a strange, surreal effect. That's how you feel when you read the book. I think this is the first ever naturalistic science-fiction movie".
Executive Producer Marvin J. Rosenblum, a Chicago lawyer, secured the film rights to the novel from Orwell's widow, Sonia Brownell, shortly before she died in 1980. It took a lot of persuading on Mr. Rosenblum's part before Mrs. Orwell eventually agreed to allow him to produce the film only under the stipulation that no futuristic sci-fi special effects be used to tell the story. Mrs. Orwell was said to have hated the 1956 version of 1984 (1956) starring Edmond O'Brien and Jan Sterling. She was also appalled when David Bowie proposed turning "Nineteen Eighty-four" into a rock musical in the mid-1970s.
In the 2006 film adaptation of V for Vendetta (2005), John Hurt played the High Chancellor Adam Sutler, who appeared Big-Brother-like on a massive television screen in several scenes.
Executive producer Marvin J. Rosenblum once said that this picture had "the greatest marketing hook that there ever was for a movie: a film of Nineteen Eighty-Four made in 1984".
Both the director and the producers were opposed to the casting of Richard Burton as O'Brien, particularly since he had not made a movie in five years and was no longer considered a box office attraction. His last films, Lovespell (1981) and Circle of Two (1981), were both filmed in 1979 and did not have a theatrical release.
In the film, Inner and Outer Party members call each other "brother" or "sister" instead of "comrade" like in the novel.
Richard Burton was fourth choice for the role of O'Brien. Actors Paul Scofield, Rod Steiger, Sean Connery and Anthony Hopkins were also considered for the part.
Richard Branson's Virgin Films, the production company bankrolling the movie, had wanted a commercially viable pop act to compose the music for the film to increase its market potential. Originally they approached David Bowie, who had used Orwell's novel as inspiration for some songs on his 1974 album, "Diamond Dogs", but he demanded too much money for the job. They opted instead for Eurythmics, who had initially turned down the offer but later accepted. Director Michael Radford was unaware of this plan and had already hired Dominic Muldowney to compose the entirety of the film's musical score. Virgin Films exercised their right of final cut and replaced most of Muldowney's score with the Eurythmics score for the film's theatrical release (some of Muldowney's score remained, particularly the state anthem, "Oceania, 'Tis for Thee"). Radford was displeased with this development and retaliated by withdrawing the film for consideration for BAFTA award for Best Picture. When the film did win the Evening Standard award for Best Film of the Year, Radford used his acceptance speech at the nationally televised ceremony to denounce the Eurythmics involvement. The Eurythmics released a statement that they were unaware of the dispute, and would not have accepted the commission if they had known it was done against the director's consent. The Eurythmics soundtrack was released as the album "1984 (For the Love of Big Brother)" in 1984; the complete Muldowney score was finally released as a limited-edition CD "Nineteen Eighty-Four: The Music of Oceania" in 1999, to commemorate the film's 15th anniversary. All home video versions have used the theatrical Eurythmics score except a 2003 DVD release that featured the Muldowney score; this version quickly went out of print. All releases of the film, with both versions of the score, have jointly credited Eurythmics and Muldowney in both the opening and closing credits.
The film's opening prologue states: "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past".
The lab were unaware of the change in the sound track and had started to produce release prints with the original sound track. All the prints were destroyed along with the original optical sound track negative.
The picture is dedicated to actor Richard Burton. The dedication during the closing credits states: "With love and admiration. Richard Burton 1925-1984".
Sonia Orwell, George Orwell's widow, signed the contract to allow this movie to be made, on 1st December 1980, whilst in hospital. Nine days later Mrs Orwell passed away. Orwell's widow had originally wanted to have full artistic control over the production but in the end relinquished this when she agreed to the terms and conditions of the contract and signed it.
One of a number of dystopian, Orwellian and Kafaesque films made during the early to mid 1980s. The pictures include Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985), Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982), Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) and the 1984 Giorgio Moroder version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927).
Producer Simon Perry once said of this movie: "The thought of making the film really excited me. I had read the book when I was fifteen and it had impressed me enormously. Making it into a film would clearly be difficult, particularly the short time available if we were going to release it in the year of the title, but it was the chance of a lifetime".
The film features a salute which never was used in the novel. It is done by holding one's arms up and making the wrists cross each other in the shape of a small V. A similar salute is seen in the film, Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982). Christine Hargreaves' who plays the soup lady in this film, played Pink's mother in "The Wall".
Richard Burton joined the production six weeks into filming. He filmed all of his scenes over a three-week period entirely in May 1984.
Publicity for this picture reported that John Hurt was the only actor producer Simon Perry and director Michael Radford ever considered to play Winston Smith.
The picture won the "Best British Film of the Year" award at the Evening Standard British Film Awards in 1984.
When released on DVD during the 2000s, due to the popularity of reality TV show series "Big Brother" around the globe, a number of DVD covers for the film featured an extreme close-up shot of the film's "Big Brother" character played by Bob Flag with the tagline "Big Brother is Watching".
Hal Ashby, Milos Forman and Francis Coppola were all asked to direct but all declined. Hugh Hudson wanted to direct the movie but was turned down by the producers as he was unknown at the time.
Christine Hargreaves who plays the minor role of Soup Lady died before the film was released.
Star billing had John Hurt be top billed first whilst Richard Burton received second billing and Suzanna Hamilton was billed third.
The movie was first released in the same year as the picture's "1984" title. The film's source original George Orwell novel of the same name was written in the digit reverse of this, about thirty-six years earlier, in 1948.
The world of the State of Oceania was created by the production utilizing technology specially invented for this picture. This included "Speakwrites" (computers) and omnipresent ubiquitous telescreens featuring Big Brother.
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Nineteen years earlier, Richard Burton (O'Brien in this film) appeared with Cyril Cusack (Charrington in this film) in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965). Cusack, who plays his boss, says that, although they are civilized and democratic, this does not prohibit them from using unorthodox practices to extract information from their enemies. This mirrors Burton's torture of Winston Smith which is done in "civilized" way.
The actors who play the roles of Parsons (Gregor Fisher) and the Telescreen Announcer (Phyllis Logan) also appeared in Michael Radford's first feature film, Another Time, Another Place (1983).
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The Oceanian soldiers in the film are wearing Soviet Red Army helmets, painted black.
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Michael Radford was initially strongly opposed to the casting of Richard Burton.
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Paul Scofield was unable to play O'Brien because he had broken his leg.
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The helicopter used by the police to peek into people's windows is a Bell 47 light helicopter that was widely used by the US during the Korean war.
The novel and movie of 1984 was the inspiration of the hit worldwide series "Big Brother" by taking a select group of people and putting them into a house shut off from the outside world where they are video taped and recorded. Some countries even have live feeds where you can watch a live internet feed of all the action in the house, run by a "Big Brother" (producers).
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John Hurt played the villain in V for Vendetta (2005). The poster of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) also has a V symbol with the numbers 1984 on it.
In the book, the Ministry of Plenty is called mini-plenty in the Newspeak; in the film its Newspeak name is mini-prod, which suggests that its full name is "Ministry of Production". Also, Winston's working place, which is called the Records Department in the novel, is referred to as mini-rec in the Newspeak language of the film.
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One of four films that lead actor John Hurt appeared in during the year of "1984". The other pictures were Champions (1984),The Hit (1984) and Success Is the Best Revenge (1984).
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Alexandra Palace, London, was built in 1873 as a "pleasure palace of the people" and named after the then-Princess of Wales. It was destroyed by fire a fortnight after opening. The present building was built in 1875 and lasted a bit longer. It was gutted by fire in 1980 and the roofless shell provided the structure for the rallies in Victory Square.
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This was the second consecutive year where actor John Hurt starred in a "surveillance movie" as Hurt had the previous year appeared in Sam Peckinpah's film of Robert Ludlum's The Osterman Weekend (1983).
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This film, a remake, was made and released about twenty-eight years after the first filmed version George Orwell's 1984 (1956) had been first released in 1956.
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According to Director Michael Radford, Richard Burton insisted that his wardrobe be created by Savile Row Tailors, despite his character (along with the rest of the cast) O'Brien wearing only Boiler Suits throughout the film.
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This is the second filmed version of George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" novel.
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The film was made and released about thirty-five years after its source novel of the same name by George Orwell had been first published in 1949.
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The movie unites John Hurt and Cyril Cusack, who have in common playing the role of Control in two different adaptations from John Le Carré novels: Cusack played Control in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) while Hurt would play in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011).
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Costume Designer Emma Porteous christens an ordnance, as in "12,300 Porteous piloted missiles." Art Department Assistant Amanda Grenville christens an ordnance, as in "3.1 million Grenville gas-operated light machine guns." Producer Simon Perry christens an ordinance, as in "9 million Perry pineapple pin grenades."

Executive Producer Marvin J. Rosenblum christens unperson, as in "Outer Party member 4392, Rosenblum, Miniprod, Light Industry Section."

Associate Producer John Davis christens an unperson, as in "Outer Party member 66755, Davis, Miniprod, Women's Section."

Art Director Grant Hicks christens an unperson, as in "Outer Party member 53922, Hicks, Minirec, Proletarian Affairs Section."

Assistant Editor Nicolette Bolgar christens an unperson, as in "Outer Party member 947743, Bolgar, Minitrue, Records Section."

Wardrobe Supervisor John Brady christens an unperson, as in "Outer Party member 5739, Brady, Minitrue, Records Section."

Co-producer Robert Devereux christens an unperson, as in "Outer Party member 984213 ,Devereux, Minitrue, Records Section."
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Annie Lennox: Uncredited, the Eurythmics lead singer as a woman at a rally.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In the final scene when Winston is playing chess in the Chestnut Tree Cafe, he picks up a white piece from the board and contemplates a move. The arrangement of the pieces on the chess board suggests that he is considering a tactic of going around and hitting the opposing black army from behind. Only minutes later, the telescreen announcer reports that the Oceanian forces had just defeated the Eurasian enemy in Africa by using the same tactic.
Cyril Cusack had also played an O'Brien-type character, the captain of the fire brigade, in François Truffaut's 1966 film of Ray Bradbury's dystopia science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451 (1966).
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