1984 Except in 1956

So when I started watching the movie, I noticed some things, the obvious one being the fact that it was in black and white, which is expected for its time. It’s just that I’m so used to everything being in color. Another thing I noticed was that the movie starts differently from the book. It actually starts with explosions and people moving to find shelter. One of those people being Winston, who just so happens to run into Julia. I feel like them meeting right at the beginning adds more impact to the scenes they’re in together.

Speaking of Julia and Winston, their appearances in the movie were drastically different from what I imagined based on the book. Instead of being lanky, he was portrayed by Edmond O’Brien, who is by no means as skinny as a twig. It takes away from Winston’s character because I couldn’t imagine someone like that getting manhandled and not at least injuring someone in the process. I half expected him to sucker punched Mr. Charrington and O’Brien, who was renamed to O’Connor (I’ll come back to that). Julia, however is far less of a problem. The only gripe I had with her was the color of her hair. She was supposed to be dark-haired, specifically a brunette. However, she was blonde in this adaptation, but honestly didn’t take away or change anything from the story.

The sneaky bastard whose last name is O’Brien was depicted very accurately in my opinion. I think the actor fit the part and played him well. I don’t know why they changed his name though, probably because of Edmond. Mr. Charrington was okay however. They cast an old man for the role, which makes sense, but like I said, his part was okay.

Something I didn’t point out was that at the early beginning, I noticed there was already propaganda being shown. I saw a sign that said “Hate Eurasia” and another one being “Big Brother is Watching You.” The movie starts off strong with the bit of foreshadowing. If I didn’t read the novel, I would probably ignore those signs and see them as meaningless. Also, the layout of the city. I know that it’s obviously full of people, but I got a vibe of abandonment and emptiness from just the buildings. The fact that the movie was in black and white only helped support that idea. It could have been due to the bombings and it does make the most sense. However I’m not too sure if the bombings are actually from Eurasia or the Party reinforcing their hatred. I don’t remember if they talk about it in the movie but I wouldn’t put it past the Party if they were the ones behind it.

At the end of the movie, when Winston was getting “cured,” his appearance was becoming rugged and decrepit the more he got tortured to the point that he was put in front of a mirror and he couldn’t believe that was what he became. But eventually he is “cured” and released and finds Julia again, but the contact is a bit…..awkward. Julia looks distant and Winston is just surprised to see her.

Removing Blindfolds

This version of the film has both very strong similarities and very strong differences. The first major difference would be the open scenes. Here the film gives a back story of how the world has come to be at its current state. When reading the book I always wondered how and why the society has gotten to this point. I understood that a world war kind of situations lead the party to become a totalitarian ruler but never truly understood why. They only insight of the past given to us from the book were Winston’s flash backs to the past in dreams, which were kind of sporadic. The fact that the film showed the world in its original condition then its final condition is significant because it gives the viewers, like myself, a more in-depth understanding of how drastically things have changed for the worst. It also makes it easier to relate to Winston’s emotions of sadness when he has flashbacks to the past, because I now understood how good life was, I can feel his pain of knowing how far gone society has come.

The film doesn’t show Winston purchasing the diary, but at 5:09 we are first introduced to it. In this scene, he enters his apartment and begins to kick it along the ground out of sight of the monitors. Although the way the book is introduced is different, there is a mutual understanding between the book and the novel that the diary is to be hidden, and will lead to his demise if found.  Something I found to be a significant detail in the film would be when he sat down at his desk to write in his diary and crossed out the date 1960 and put 1984. In the novel, there was an in-depth description of Winston’s diary to give the readers the understanding of how old the book was, it was from a time before the party’s ruling, a time of freedom. The diary symbolized freedom, Winston’s mental freedom. The film summed all that up into one simple scene / action, successfully and clearly showing the age of the diary and showcasing its importance.

The film had lots of foreshadowing but the clearest example would be at 8:30 when one of Winston’s friend’s daughter comes into the apartment immediately accusing Winston of thought crime, pointing out the fact that the desk he writes at is too far from the monitor which is suspicions, and threatens to report him to the authorities. This was significant to me because I know everyone is monitored and listened to at all times, so someone from the party had to hear that, this could very much so have been the beginning of the end for Winston. The party from that point could have been watching his every move and waiting to figure out all his allies, Julia, to basically kill 2 birds with one stone.

When Winston and Julia were caught in the room by the hidden monitor, I questioned why they didn’t apprehend him earlier since they knew of his actions. But the party was smarter than that, they used Winston to lure in, and seek out other members of the opposing side. Basically, getting more bang from their buck. For some reason, I never realized or thought of that until I watched this version of the film. In both films and the novel, the idea of Winston being caught is thrown around left and right, most likely because Winston was in fact caught long before we were actually told, but we all knew it just like the party knew of his disloyalty.

Two Extra Credit Opportunities: ‘1984’ Movies

I am offering two extra credit blogs based on two different movie versions of 1984 (please categorize appropriately). For each blog, you should provide a response based on a comparative analysis of the novel and the particular film (this response can also include your thoughts on/opinions of/reactions to the film).  You may choose to write just one blog or both (or neither), but all blogs are due Tu 4/18 and should be a minimum of 500 words.

Here are links to the two versions of the movie:

As you watch the film(s) and draft your response(s), you should definitely take stock of similarities and differences between the novel and the film, but this is only a first (pre-draft) step. Don’t forget to take notes during the films, so you can include concrete details from the events in your blogs.

Your response blog should not only note key similarities and/or differences but also (and this is the crucial part!) discuss the significance of these similarities and/or differences.  Putting two texts in dialogue with each other allows you to create a more nuanced argument about them. Remember, your goal is not to simply list your observations (for example: these are the things than are different in the film) but to critically analyze these differences (how do omitted/added/revised characters, plot details, conflicts, etc. change our understanding of the text?).

Extra credit blogs will replace missing blogs (or count as additional credit if you’ve done all of them already). There are only two grades for these extra credit blogs (100 and 0). If you watch the films & blog your responses/reflections completely (in terms of length and content) and thoughtfully, you will receive 100% (an “A”) for the assignment. If you do not turn in the assignment (or if it is too short/not fulfilling the purposes of the assignment), you will receive a “0.”