Howard Hunt, the CIA man,
bought the film rights to Animal Farm
and helped set up the first film production
of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

1984 MOVIE 1984 IS BAD

On the list of the ten worst movies I've ever seen (and I can't remember the names of the other nine) "1984" is near the top. It came out in 1984 and so misrepresents Orwell's masterpiece that I tell people not to watch it. It is so monosyllabic and boring and grey that I've only ever watched it myself using the fast forward button. Julia and Winston are not portrayed accurately and the sex scenes gross people out. It was Richard Burton's last movie and it's too bad he didn't die sooner. And John Hurt looked better as Elephant Man than he does in portraying Winston Smith. The movie is actually so lame it gives Orwell a bad name, which is exactly what its producers intended.

In his recent biography, INSIDE GEORGE ORWELL, Gordon Bowker says that after Orwell's death the CIA got control of the film rights for Animal Farm and 1984:

excerpts from pages 421 to 423:

"...Three weeks after Orwell was buried, Muggeridge and Tosco Fyvel went with Sonia to discuss with Fredric Warburg the future publication of his work. The meeting, at which Warburg presided, agreed that the next George Orwell book should be a collection of essays to be called Shooting An Elephant - his idea, according to Muggeridge. Sonia's part in the discussion was not recorded. Richard Rees, it seems, although named as joint literary executor in Orwell's will was not present. What Sonia was not to know was that Muggeridge and Fyvel, through their wartime intelligence work, had contacts with the CIA, and shortly afterwards, with Warburg, would be involved in the CIA-backed Congress for Cultural Freedom....Later Warburg would become even more involved with this shadowy organization when he published and distributed Encounter magazine secretly funded by the CIA. With these influential advisers helping Sonia decide what happened to Orwell's work from early on, it is not difficult to see how decisions were made which served the interests of Secker and Warburg, and the ideological aims of her three advisers, as much as the literary estate, and affected the author's reputation."

"Orwell's two last novels soon became weapons in the hands of anti-Communist defenders of capitalism opposed to even the democratic socialism for which he himself stood. The fate of these two books at the hands of CIA-backed Hollywood production companies, which Frances Stonar Saunders exposed in her book Who Paid the Piper?, has been blamed on Sonia. She had been charged with allowing his works to be misrepresented in the service of the right-wing Cold War cause, while all the time it appears that Warburg and others were guiding her in that direction. Orwell himself had been alive to these dangers and would have avoided them, as he had in standing up to the Book-of-the-Month Committee and complaining about the misrepresentation of Nineteen Eighty-Four in Life magazine. But Sonia was politically naive and, once film rights were sold, control of any resulting script and film would have been out of her hands."

"In her book Stonar Saunders notes that Warburg took a close interest in the screenplays of both Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. This seems to point to his hand being somewhere in the deal with Howard Hunt*, the CIA man who bought the film rights to the former from Sonia shortly after Orwell's death, and helped set up the first film production of the latter....Warburg's main purpose would have been the effect of the huge film publicity on his sales (in 1954 he published an edition of Animal Farm with illustrations from the CIA-backed Halas and Bachelor cartoon), though he had also come to commit himself to the Cold War offensive, and was fully aware of the true funding behind Encounter. Later Sonia quarelled with Warburg, but at the outset of her literary executorship (from which Rees seems to have been simply excluded either by the 'bustling' Sonia or the calculating Warburg) she must have put her trust in the publisher's judgement and that of advisers such as Fyvel and Muggeridge."

"Inevitably, the takeover of the film rights of Orwell's last two books produced movies tailored to ideological ends. In the cartoon version of Animal Farm the banquet at which the pigs become indistinguishable from their human oppressors was changed. Orwell's pessimistic intention was thereby obscured and the messge that the tyrannical Stalinist pigs are no different from the cruel capitalist farmers was lost. In the Hollywood Nineteen Eighty-Four the pessimistic conclusion - that Winston, the spark of individualism snuffed out, is reduced to loving Big Brother and awaiting the bullet in the back of the neck - was again replaced by the optimistic message that the individual is uncrushable, and Winston dies with the cry of 'Down with Big Brother!' on his lips. Among the critics who damned the cartoon Animal Farm when it appeared was David Sylvester, Orwell's old Tribune contributor, who called it 'a failure aesthetically, imaginatively and intellectually...The essential weakness of the film lies, not in the realisation of detail...but in its willful misinterpretation of Orwell's central intention.' The right-wing press, on the other hand, was mostly encomiastic [giving high praise, eulogistic - jj]. To her credit, when Sonia saw the Animal Farm film at a Hollywood preview, she hated it and blocked an attempt later to make it available to schools and colleges. Francis Wyndham remembers her being very bitter about it and feeling that once again she had let George down."[end quoting]

Regrettably it seems to be the case these days that when it comes to studying 1984 in school, teachers are using the movie version. They plug the video into the machine and thus the students receive "prolefeed" created by the CIA instead of being taught the message of the book by a teacher who understands its importance. Unless students do independent learning they won't realize that there is a lot more to the book than Winston and Julia having sex and O'Brien upping the dial on the torture machine. ~ Jackie Jura



Reader asks about Orwell's film rights. Nov 10, 2004. Go to ORWELL A WRITER WRONGED

"...The entire page [of the Dallas Morning News] was devoted to an advertisement, ominously bordered in black like an announcement of mourning. Under the sardonic heading, "WELCOME MR KENNEDY TO DALLAS," an organization styling itself as "The American Fact-Finding Committee" -- a local coordinator of the John Birch Society and Nelson Bunker Hunt, *the son of H. L. Hunt, it later developed, were the committee's most prominent members....The ad declared that he was selling food to the Communist party, and asked, among other things, 'Why have you ordered or permitted your brother Bobby, the Attorney General, to go soft on Communists, fellow-travelers, and ultra-leftists in America, while permitting him to persecute loyal Americans who criticize you, your administration, and your leadership?'..."


Broadway's "1984" is Orwell for Dummies
(a stone dud from very first scene)
1984BroadwayRestricted 1984BroadwayFlop
"1984" on Broadway scenes so graphic people fainting
(jagged bursts of neon strip lighting shock the senses)
Huff/Gothamist, Jun 29, 2017
1984 MOVIE 1984 IS BAD
& Prolefeed


Victoria says the movie "1984" speaks the truth about what's going to happen in our future

Erik says "1984" is once again being made into a movie

Brenda asks where to buy a copy of the original 1984 movie

Betty asks where she can get the movie "1984" but doesn't specify which version

Dave wonders how and why Niven became involved in that low budget "1984" radio production

Dave sends a link to the 1949 radio play of "1984" starring David Niven as Winston Smith

Cliff's question about the 1956 version of 1984 reminds Jackie to order it

BBC'S 1954 TV VERSION OF 1984 (Mary asks where to obtain a copy)

Craig says 1984 was an awful movie

Fred says thanks for finding the 1956 version of 1984 and sends kudos for the website

Lola is looking for the original Edmund O'Brien version of 1984 and can't find it

Fred is seeking the 1950s, Edmund O'Brien movie version of "1984"

Daniel says: "...I am trying to find a copy of the ORIGINAL "1984" movie which was filmed in black and white, starred Edmund O'brien as Winston, and was produced in about 1958. I have viewed it twice about 1960 or so, and it is memorable! I have been looking for the original ever since the atrocity of that god-awful, god-damnable color-perversity version came out..."

Kellie is a theatre student directing and re-writing an adaptation of 1984 for her senior class

Mathiew saw bits of the 1984 movie years ago and it was so bad he thought the book was bad too (again, the pervert effect of that bad movie)..."

ORWELL'S VOICE & BLUE EYES (wish there was a recording of Orwell's BBC broadcasts). Go to 17.Falsificatin of Past & 20.Thought Police. Mar 28, 2004

Reader says images of movie of 1984 imprinted on his mind

16.Ministry of Truth and 2.Prolefeed


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~