Action / Drama / Sci-Fi

IMDb Rating 7 10 2648


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Donald Pleasence as R. Parsons
Edmond O'Brien as Winston Smith of the Outer Party
John Vernon as Big Brother
Patrick Troughton as Man on Telescreen

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by qmtv 6 / 10

Much better than the 1984 version. Slows down toward the end.

I read the book many years ago. I remember the main plot but forgot the ending. The only other thing I recall is that they raised the price of chocolate from 25 to 30 and Winston had to rewrite the history and state they're reducing the price from 50 to 30.

I watched the 1984 version a few days ago, and now this the 1956 version yesterday. This version is better for a few reasons. Simple film making, like better actors, screenplay, sets, cinematography, music. You know, stuff that makes it interesting to sit through a movie. As mentioned previously, I have not read the book recently and will soon. And I cannot expect the movies to be like the book. They're a different medium. What I got from this version is it clearly explained the world we were entering into and the characters acted paranoid. With the 1984 version we are thrown right into the 2 minute hate. We have no idea what is going on.

Edmond O'Brien was a much better actor than John Hurt. Hurt was fine in toward the end with the torture scene. But everything else that was a mostly boring film. Richard Burton was really the only shining star in the 1984 version and he was completely underused. All the acting in this version are great. It did slow down toward the end and the ending sucked.

Rating is a B-, or 6 stars. Worth checking out.

Reviewed by mark.waltz 8 / 10

Not the type of film to watch before you go to bed.

At least the United States and its allies had laws protecting freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is an early view of a horrific future, the type of film that paranoia creates in the mind that there's more going on than meets the eye. Of course there is, and are we better off not knowing about it? That's just one of the questions asked in this first film version of the George Orwell novel, filmed again ironically in 1984 and redone as a Broadway play produced at another stage of fear, paranoia, and the unknown.

A nuclear war destroyed democracy as the world knew it, and with part of the world under the thumb of an unseen leader only known as "Big Brother", freedom is believed to be slavery, war means peace, and ignorance of the truth is a must for survival. With the government changing history, forbidding sexual relations and turning the rest of the world into an enemy demanding of hatred, this is a 1984 I'd rather not experience, and for new lovers Edmund O'Brien and Jan Sterling, the beginning of the end.

They are surrounded by a strange world of brainwashed individuals who only see big brother as an all knowing God, chances for escape are slim. Neighbors are against neighbors, little girls suspect everything you do of being a threat to big brother, and suspected traitors are not only wiped out, but eliminated from the memory of those who knew them as well. No freedom, no peace, no time to yourself, no allowance of your own thoughts and ideals. It's an ugly view of an unthinkable time, a reminder that freedom is never free, never taken for granted, and an opening to thoughts of what's going on under our noses that need to be dealt with immediately so all we cherish is never eliminated. A brilliant script with somber performances, made to keep the movie theaters it played in as quiet as quiet can be, and a numbing view of one of many forms of world domination that must be prevented. Otherwise, the only peaceful existence in a world so evil is death.

Reviewed by poe-48833 5 / 10

"History has stopped."- George Orwell

Lacking both the gritty realism and visceral violence of the 1984 version of NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, this version is the least interesting of the three that I've seen: the costumes and sets are too neat and clean, and everyone appears well-fed and, for the most part, satisfied; there's none of the EMOTIONAL impact of the 1984 version; in short, a typical '50s television view of Life. Donald Pleasance, who had a bit part as Syme in the BBC version, here plays Parsons- a much meatier part, although so much of it's missing that he doesn't have a whole lot to work with. From the book: Parsons was "one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges upon whom, more even than on the Thought Police, the stability of the Party depended." "All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism," Orwell wrote. The recent corporate coup by Donald McDonald and the Billionaire Boys Club underscores this. ("It was not the man's brain that was speaking; it was his larynx.") "It was nicknamed Muck House by the people who worked in it." "... stands had to be erected, effigies built, slogans coined, songs written, rumors circulated, photographs faked." Information is trickling out, though. "It was enough to blow the Party to atoms, if in some way it could have been published to the world and its significance made known." "It was important to write something down." ("The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, just to keep the people frightened.") And frightened they are, here in these "united" $tate$, because the Free Poor are puppets of the Fossil Fool Industry. In time, THEY'LL end up immolated in The Memory Hole... "People are being killed all the time..." and "the dangers inherent in the machine are still there." ("This is business.") ("All that is needed is that a state of war should exist.") ("... an endless catalogue of atrocities, massacres, deportations, lootings, rapings, torture of prisoners, bombing of civilians, lying propaganda, unjust aggressions, broken treaties..." In North Dakota, the Genocide of the Native Peoples continues apace...) "In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it." "The capitalists owned everything in the world, and everyone else was their slave. They owned all the land, all the houses, all the factories, and all the money." "It is necessary for us to know everything." "... if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance... in practice, the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare." "Science, in the old sense, has almost ceased to exist." "With the development of television... private life came to an end." "There were bribery, favoritism, and racketeering of every kind..." "Power is not a means; it is an end." "We are the priests of power." Sound even vaguely familiar...? ("It was too great a coincidence.") O'Brien is miscast as Smith, but, otherwise it's not a bad adaptation- for what looks like '50s American television, although "it was a peculiarly beautiful book." And, finally: "The book is indestructible."

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