BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING…
In 1984, Britain is part of a totalitarian society whose leaders are eradicating human emotions; Winston Smith (John Hurt) tries to be one of the masses, but falls in love with a woman (Suzanna Hamilton). Another retelling of the futuristic George Orwell story that is now obviously an alternative nightmarish vision of our modern society. Themes of love and liberty are still as poignant as ever and director Michael Radford certainly underlines the horrors of a Stalinist universe. The script is rather literary, but it is nevertheless exciting to follow Winston’s thoughts and the authorities’ methods of terror. Strong performances by the two leads.
1984-Britain. 115 min. Color. Produced by Simon Perry. Written and directed by Michael Radford. Novel: George Orwell. Cinematography: Roger Deakins. Production Design: Allan Cameron. Songs: The Eurythmics. Cast: John Hurt (Winston Smith), Richard Burton (O’Brien), Suzanna Hamilton (Julia), Cyril Cusack, Gregor Fisher, James Walker.
Trivia: Paul Scofield, Sean Connery and Anthony Hopkins were allegedly considered for the part of O’Brien. The decision to use Eurythmics songs was made by the studio and denounced by Radford. Previously filmed as 1984 (1956).
Last word: “Richard Burton was always on the list, but he was a sort of famous drunk, so I didn’t really want a drunk around the place. And he lived in Haiti. Anyway, so I went to Sean Connery, and Sean Connery ummed and aahed and ummed and aahed, and he said he didn’t think he could do it. I mean, I spent a lot of time talking to him. And then we went to Rod Steiger, he’d had a facelift that had gone wrong. We went to Paul Scofield, who’d broken his leg. And, by the time we’d got through all these people, we were six weeks into shooting, and we still didn’t have one of the major stars! And I said look, we’d better just go for Richard Burton and hope for the best.” (Radford, Den of Geek)