Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fails to catch fire..., 9 April 2012
This review is from: Fahrenheit 451 [DVD] [1966] (DVD)
Fahrenheit 451 is a curiously flat and uninvolving affair despite the promising source material of Ray Bradbury's classic sci-fi novel where in a future society reading is banned and books are burned by law. A fascinating premise but this 1966 film adaptation was a resoundingly dull and awkward failure. This is largely down to a static central performance by Oskar Werner as Montag, a 'fireman' who rebels against the fascistic doctrine. A truly interesting character which provided the opportunity for a bravura performance but Werner looks uncomfortable throughout, seemingly wishing he were anywhere else but in front of Truffaut's camera. Julie Christie too is beyond bland in the dual roles of Montag's conformist wife and the idealistic young teacher who befriends him. The director's European art-house direction is also ill-suited to the dynamite premise, delivering an underdeveloped and tedious succession of images where a more colourful interpretation was needed. It could have been a precursor to rich dystopian classics such as Blade Runner, or even Soylent Green. Instead it resembles an early Logan's Run and looks just as low-budget despite moments where it does hit the mark such as Cyril Cusack's superb turn as the fire-chief (whose dialogue is a rare high point) and the truly haunting sequence where a elderly lady's entire hidden library is burned along with herself as she martyrs herself for the cause. A more worthy take on this material is surely long overdue for production.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Nov 2013 01:40:52 GMT
Tim says:
You have to understand the world political climate and film technology of the day. This is actually a classic. Even to-day if you think you have rights you are seriously deluded. Yes a modern update is overdue. BLU RAY would be blaze

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Nov 2013 08:39:38 GMT
rj groves says:
I think behind the scenes tensions between Werner and Truffaut spoiled it. Werner sabotaged his own performance (even getting his hair cut someway through filming!) to the point where you never truly believe in Montag's conversion. It's a shame, you can get away with low budget provided the performances are good. As I said in the review, Cusack is brilliant as is the always scary Anton Diffring. I think an improvement is overdue and a remake was mooted some time ago. An update in this current climate would be more prescient than ever.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Nov 2013 18:22:03 GMT
Tim says:
I agree. The film has faults but the idea's and use of police/firemen flying with thruster packs to pursue the book readers and using petrol instead of water was inventive and we have similar state controlled /dictatorships to-day that are far worse in that in that books are not allowed except specific ones. There is no fire service as such to burn them but a bullet/ stoning/gas or fatwa is the preferred method. However petrol is also used. The film is by no means far fetched.
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