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  • 1984
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I read George Orwell's novel about fifty years ago, and even though I've forgotten many of the details, it was one of those stories that stayed with me all those years. As best as I can remember, the 1984 film of the same name was fairly faithful to the novel, including the one scene I've never been able to get out of my head that involved Winston Smith's worst fear - rats. (It was terrifying in the novel, and it's equally gruesome in the film version.)

1984 is arguably one of the finest and most disturbing dystopian stories ever written. I enjoyed the film, although I'm not sure if "enjoyed" is the appropriate word. Thanks to the X-ray feature in Amazon Instant Video, I picked up some of the behind-the-scenes tidbits of the film, such as the fact that this was the last film for Richard Burton, who was very sick and weak during filming, and had a lot of trouble remembering his lines. And I came to thoroughly despise the voice of Phyllis Logan, whose incessant telescreen announcements praising Big Brother and Ingsoc (the ruling party) played in the background of many scenes.

The film really belonged to John Hurt and Suzanna Hamilton, who played two Outer Party members who became lovers and flouted all the rules. It's after they were caught and arrested that the story demonstrated just how brutally repressive and insistent on total conformity the ruling party was. There's no question that George Orwell had in mind the Nazis in Germany and the Communist party in the Soviet Union, but Ingsoc went even further than those two repressive regimes for its 24/7 control of people.

The tone of the film is grim, a picture of a dystopian future that's far from the idyllic utopia that people have yearned for and even predicted for the future.
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on January 20, 2017
This scary and darkly displayed movie of forcing a tortured lifestyle on the people made of propaganda and suppression works effectively as meant to be. Winston, the main character played by John Hurt, has an unfortunate plight. He is like a leftover attempt to change this tyranny of Big Brother who is demonstrated well in the movie as 'always watching you'. So many of the new dictionary "Newspeak" terms growing in use in this cruel place shape everyone's thinking and the fanatical O'Brien, who is played by Richard Burton, believes in them but these terms and definitions are stifling and inhibiting instead of liberating. Winston dares to hope for the something better which seems never to have existed. The props and atmosphere, also including the loneliness, put into this future society drama are well created and developed. It is seriously, but entertainingly so, depressing to us the viewers given what every citizen in their tough life faces as cold, stark reality concocted from lies. The author George Orwell is like unto a 20th century "Jonathan Swift", who wrote about the Yahoos and the Lilliputians, communicating to us in his novel and this movie by a "symbolism" which intends to warn readers or viewers as to what might could possibly happen to our own situation if things are left unguarded and unchecked!
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on September 2, 2016
I found this classic movie so in tune with what is going on in the current world that I saw it for a second time. It is today with the thought police which is the media- newspapers, magazines, tv, radio, movies, and music is all written to control what the masses see, hear, and are fooled into thinking. A one world order which abolishes religion, political views, freedom of speech, any resemble to thinking your own thoughts and voicing them are already being controlled by the few powerful people in the world. The masses are to be changed into a mindless crowd that only obeys and does not become rebellious or oppose the state, Big Brother, in any way but just fits in and become completely robotic. This is not the world I want me or my family to be part of. The only solution is to fight and die for what is noble.
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on March 30, 2017
If you're not familiar with the book or the movie you should buy this. It's a dystopian view of the future, very dark, it is a warning. Many of the techniques used by the leader are starting to be recognized here and now.

Be warned!
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on April 28, 2014
A great movie, but this version (MGM 2003) is not correctly colored. The beautiful bleach bypass processing (seen in the streaming Amazon Prime version) is not used on this transfer. Instead, this DVD, taken from a film inter-positive, is garish and looks like video with cardboard sets. See the example I posted under photos. On his website, Roger Deakins, cinematographer of the film stated--

"We used a bleach bypass process for all the prints of '1984'. It was the first time that this particular process was used on a feature film, as far as I know, and was created by Kay's lab in the UK. The process adds contrast as well as desaturates the image due to the retention of the developed silver in the emulsion. It gives the projected image a kind of luminous quality. Sadly, some of the latest DVDs do not reflect our original intentions as the distributer has not matched to a print but just taken a transfer from an IP, which, of course, is in full colour. That's more than annoying as some of the costumes and sets were actually over saturated in order to compensate for the kind of processing we were using."
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on July 19, 2010
Avoid this terrible "Collector's Edition". If you compare the quality of this DVD-R with the one of the Adam Curtis Documentals, "The Century of the Self", this one is garbage. The latter has a beautiful presentation on the box and on the discs. I have just opened the box of this 1984 version and the image of the Dvd is fading in my hands. As one of the other reviewers said: "the image quality of the movie is the same as youtube". Maybe this Company is making the transfer from youtube version to DVD (it looks awfull). If this Dvd is remastered I'm The Big Brother. I know it is an excellent movie, but I have paid $25.49 for this terrible DVD transfer. Come on, I have just bought all the Sherlock Holmes Collection, with Jeff Brett (16 dvds), in Amazon UK for 30 pounds = $46 dollars. I feel cheated, what a shame. Avoid it, believe me!!!!!
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on January 10, 2015
Heh heh.... People always overlook themselves. They say, bah boo on North Korea (name your country) and wonder why their people don't get it that they live in a repressive prison full of propaganda where they are slaves. In this I say humanity is in desperate need of some serious introspection. I'd say we "all" live this way. Just some of us live comfortably enough to easily delude ourselves. No less a slave we are though.

What I like about this book is the way it is delivered. We see ourselves as Winston and since his world is so grey and drab we disassociate the possibility that we could be living in a very similar way. Because, well, we have air conditioning, cable, and sugar frosted cereal in the cupboard. And who doesn't like to project material wealth as symptom of contentment.
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on April 3, 2017
It is a really hard-watch--wouldn't recommend it if you're easily depressed. However, if you're of sturdy stock, it's a must-watch. Signs of the times that the book is on the best-seller's list. This movie drives it home with "fake news" to the hilt.
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on August 8, 2015
I gave this a four star rating because I couldn't really pinpoint why I was a little disappointed. The acting was good, it seemed to stay true to the book (from my memory, at least), and it was produced well. It seemed a little dry, it was lacking something... Can't place what it was, so I didn't think it was fair giving it a 3 star rating. Regardless, it isn't bad and I would absolutely recommend watching it (especially if you don't plan on reading the book), because the story and it's implications are so extremely important. It is a timeless story that is especially relevant in our current times. If you can read the book, do so, if not definitely watch the movie...
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on December 3, 2015
The screenplay was good, but was clearly written for those who read the book; there was far too much vocabulary and terminology which only the reader would understand. Although it was entertaining, some of the scenes at the speakwrite flashed on the screen too quickly, requiring a rewind/pause. The very end was disappointing; the 1984 remake didn't follow the book's ending, unlike the 1956 version, which in my opinion was much more effective (emotionally-speaking). I'm deliberately withholding too much analysis to keep from spoiling it for others.

As always, it is advisable to take the time to read the book first, obtain the character and scenario development, then let oneself be disappointed with the movie. Other than my own subjective take on the storyline, the movie was very well-made, and the acting was absolutely fantastic.
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