Quality science fiction was once a hard sell with both critics and the public. A bit rigid in form and dramatically muted, Fahrenheit went against Science Fiction trends in by placing visual poetry before futuristic hardware. Directed with imagination and performed with intelligence and passion, it remains the best adaptation of a Ray Bradbury story.
Colorful visuals paint a vivid but oppressive future in a conformist, regimented society. Montag Oskar Werner has become disillusioned with his life. At work Montag must please his dictatorial but solicitous fire Captain Cyril Cusack , and fend off a co-worker who is really his enemy Anton Diffring.
Everything is convenience in the here and now, and like most citizens, Linda thinks so little of the past, that it barely exists for her.
The Setting Of The Novel Of Fahrenheit 451, By Ray Bradbury
Montag meets Clarisse Julie Christie again on the monorail, and her spirit awakens the rebel in him. He plays hooky from work to help her deal with losing her job as a teacher, and they watch a man on the street betraying his neighbor to the authorities. Montag is impressed by the Book Woman Bee Duffell , a hoarder who prefers to be burned with her books rather than live without them. All turned in memorable films, if not their best remembered, and then returned to more conventional material.
As a bibliophile, Bradbury is almost as concerned with the loss of all those first editions as he is the politics. Striking art direction, and rich cinematography by Nicolas Roeg create an impressive dystopian city of quiet houses and roads without street signs.
Sinister red fire stations display a box out front where citizens can submit the pictures of those they wish to turn in for hiding books. In familiar Orwellian fashion, people avoid talking as to not betray their own opinions.
Clarisse says that she laughed with her students, and among her fellow teachers was free with her ideas. All the details of commonplace oppression are here. The public urging for citizens to inform on one another is a product of the time when the book was written. Although perhaps easy to evade on the printed page, some concept conflicts all but leap at us from the movie screen.
Medicine bottles only have numbers and colors on them, and ID photos and the Sunday comix are likewise text-free.
Fahrenheit 451 - Themes - 60second Recap®
The book ban must be relatively recent, because the Captain is a fountain of literary knowledge. After all, most of the books we see look brand new.
Fahrenheit 451 book burning theme hotel
Who is publishing them? Montag does consult a dictionary at one point, but he must have been taught to read at some point. What are they teaching kids in school, only math? Surely not art or anything creative. One would think that the society and technology on view is too complicated to subsist on oral communication.
Politically speaking, we assume that this book-burning society covers the whole world. But there are today several police states in which absurd, soul-crushing thought-control is just as strongly enforced as seen here.
Truffaut maintains a slight distance from his alienated, slightly neurotic characters. Montag is cool and thoughtful, and Clarisse is warm and outgoing. The entire populace lives in denial of emotionalism, and many people seem stifled to the point of psychosis. People on the monorail seen distracted, adrift with odd neurotic behaviors. Montag copes by affecting an emotionless professionalism.
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The Captain berates two cadets as if they were bad dogs. Perhaps the Captain, uncomfortable with his own sexual preference, is hyper-repulsed by the cadets that persist in sitting together. Most of the population is addicted to pills and TV, both of which relieve the anxiety of an existence without purpose.
Linda is constantly throwing out things so that she can buy new ones. Her TV life is more real to her than her body — which we see her touching, as if it were some unknown object — or her marriage.
Montag cannot even get her attention, and all she wants to talk about are her adventures in the make-believe show.
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Bradbury borrowed liberally from Aldous Huxley as well. By not reading, by abandoning learning and ideas to the noise from the TV, the populace has become tame and stupid, conformists that deny their essential humanity. An odd prototype? Its firemen ride while standing on their feet, as if in a chariot. The director works overtime to suggest the future through stylized visual details.
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As fitting a non-reading society, the main titles are spoken aloud, over zooms to radio and TV aerials. Cuts and fades are conventional, but on occasion Truffaut will optically mask off parts of the frame, sort of a futuristic take on a silent-movie iris effect.
The firemen abhor books, but the camera embraces close-ups of book covers, everything from James Joyce to Cahiers du cinema. Simple film tricks borrowed from Cocteau add to the sensation of a dream. Reverse printing is used when Montag dons his flamethrower rig, and for a reverse fire-pole slide where Montag slides up, not down.
Ray Bradbury 's Fahrenheit 451
Hinting at some kind of spiritual dimension, after Montag begins his illicit late-night reading the fire pole balks at accommodating him. Little individual effects are mysteries meant to keep us off balance. The fire truck music cue stresses ant-like industry and rigid conformity on the job.
Montag and Clarisse may not be the greatest lovers in the world, but they are loving idealists, and the main theme seems a call to humanist idealism. Even the quizzical ending works on the plane of style — the movie seems to end in a glass snow globe.
Yes, these outcasts in the wintry forest have their books, but how do they eat and stay warm? Books make good heater fuel! On first viewing, Fahrenheit seems to reach perhaps a touch too far in the direction of poetic fantasy. Oskar Werner is an interestingly sad hero and Julie Christie has good scenes in her double role as the two women in his life. The support is flawless. Anton Diffring is instantly acceptable as a jealous conniver thanks to his effective chiller roles, especially Circus of Horrors.
Actor spotters will have no trouble identifying little Mark Lester Oliver! The new scan and clean-up cures all ills except the faulty traveling mattes in the monorail sequences. Roeg may not have supervised those optical effects, that not only have heavy matte lines, but show density shifts and even scratches in the foreground elements.
This new scan minimizes them. Producer Lewis Allen explains why Julie Christie ended up in a dual role. Thom Noble has seemingly forgotten nothing about the picture, and has in the Herrmann piece a great story to tell about serving as a reluctant bilingual intermediary between the director and the composer.
A sit-down interview with Ray Bradbury allows the author to explain what it was like back in the s when the book was published, when he was a famous yet impoverished fantasy writer. Also recycled is a photo and poster gallery.
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The promising alternate title sequence turns out to be different only in that it uses another voice artist. The full feature commentary is by a gracious Julie Christie.
She starts by describing what she is seeing, but soon improves; she also shares the track with a number of crew people and contributors.
Fahrenheit is presently a discounted big-box store exclusive, but will reach normal outlets early in June. Customers complaining about the cost of Blu-rays should note that Universal will be selling Fahrenheit at the exact same price charged for the DVD back in when we were invading Iraq. Home Video is surely a luxury, but the bulk of the discs are cheaper than ever. Deaf and Hearing-impaired Friendly? Glenn's Site.