STARRING: John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton, Cyril Cusack, Gregor Fisher, James Walker

1984, 120 Minutes, Directed by: Michael Radford

Description: Adaptation of George Orwell's foreboding literary premonition casts John Hurt and Suzanna Hamilton as lovers who must keep their courtship secret. Aside from criminalizing sex and interpersonal relationships, the ruling party in their country Oceania both fabricates reality and reconstructs history for the sake of oppressing the masses. They brainwash their citizens via large, propaganda-spewing TV monitors installed in their living rooms, which also inspect everyone's activities. Hurt and Hamilton are among the few we see desperately trying to fight the system by keeping control of their thoughts and beliefs. Richard Burton costars (in his final role) as a government agent who surreptitiously exposes Hurt to the ideas of resistance.  —

The book is always better and, when you think about it, it is rather futile to try to adapt a novel powerful such as Orwell's to the big screen. This adaptation, however, has its moments and is very close in tone and feeling to Orwell's novel about future authoritarianism - even down to the 1940s type decor. Like the book, a downbeat and depressing affair.

Incidentally, this was the last big screen appearance of actor Richard Burton before his death.

(This is the second movie based on Orwell's famous novel, the first being a Black & White movie made in 1956.)


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