Animal Farm [DVD] Special Edition
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Britain's first animated feature film is an adaptation of George Orwell's classic novel, itself an allegory for the Russian revolution. Tired of the abuse they suffer at the hands of Farmer Jones, the animals on his farm decide to revolt, led by the pigs Snowball and Napoleon. Once Jones is ousted, the animals set up a new order, stating that all are equal. However, when Napoleon decides to increase his personal power, it begins to seem that some animals are more equal than others.
A rare example of mainstream animation being used to tell a highly political story, Animal Farm retains its value as a vivid adaptation of George Orwell's classic novel. Characters were eliminated, certain elements of plot were simplified, and the book's gloomy ending was softened to offer a glimmer of hope, but Orwell's parable of the Russian revolution--retold as a revolt among not-so-equal barnyard animals--remains potently intact. As produced by the famous British animation studio run by John Halas and Joy Batchelor, this still-important 1954 film is anything but kiddie fare; it steadfastly avoids sentiment, and despite its slightly more upbeat ending this is still a story that involves exploitation, death, betrayal, and an inevitable uprising that goes a step beyond Orwell's pessimistic conclusion. With British actor Maurice Denham supplying all the voices and Gordon Heath providing newsreel-like narration, this economical, documentary-like telling of Orwell's tale was criticised for its "Disneyfied" style, but the animation is actually quite striking in its European influence and bold use of symbolism. It has aged, and some of its impact has been lost to the course of history, but it's an essential addition to any serious animation collection. Excellent commentary and a 30-minute "making of" featurette place this extraordinary milestone of British animation in proper historical context. --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
But what it lacks in polish it more then makes up for in substance.
The long suffering animals of Manor Farm have finally had enough of farmer Jones's abuses, and launch a revolution.
Driving him out,and off the farm.
But for the animals this is the start of something much worse.
George Orwell(a Democratic Socialist)and life long member of the Independent Labour party,wrote this Anti-Stalinist Allergory not as a satire against Marxism(Orwell agreed with many of Marx's policies,and respected Lenin.)but about the corruption of the Stanlinist years.
Millions of ordinary Russian's suffered and perished under his tyranny.
To Help people whom may have not read this excellent book.
Here's a list of the Main characters,and whom they represent.
Farmer Jones = Nicolas 2nd of Russia.
Napoleon = Stalin.
Snowball = Trotsky.
Napoleon's personal bodygaurd = The K.G.B.
Squealer = Pravda.
Boxer = A tragic Avatar of the Russian working class.
Benjamin = Russian Jews.
Old Major = A mixture of Lenin & Marx.
Mr Fredrick = Adolf Hitler.
Mr Pilkington = The UK & US.
When Napoleon replaces the song,"Beasts of England" with the deliberately inane "Animal Farm", this is meant to reflect when Stanlin replaced "The Internationale" with the "Hymn of the Soviet Union".
The ending of the film is much more upbeat then the Novel as it has the Animals revolting against Napoleon's regime.
But as what's happened to the Soviet Union since 1989,I'd say the Film is now more accurate.
The royalties from the book gave Mr Orwell a comfortable living for the rest of his life.
First published UK 17/8/45,US 26/8/46.
Time Magazine has had this Novel in it's all time 100 best books since published.
A Good Film and Book.Strongly Recommended.
The script is based on George Orwell's "Animal Farm" and retains much of its brilliance, and is narrated by Gordon Heath, with character actor Maurice Denham speaking all the animal parts.
Orwell wrote "Animal Farm" with the Stalinist Soviet Union in mind, but the tale could apply to any totalitarian regime, many which start with the socialistic "one for all-all for one" idealism and propaganda. The animation is fairly simple compared to what one is used to today, but the images are powerful, and very moving. The plight of Boxer the horse and his devoted friend Benjamin the donkey is wrenching, and beautifully drawn.
The sound effects are also excellent, as well as the score by Matyas Siber, which has some songs that imitate the Soviet military style, with one of them cleverly vocalized by animal sounds.
This film is now in public domain, and there are some DVDs issued at a rock bottom price, which don't include the extras; I have one that has a fairly good transfer, with an adequate (considering the price) color reproduction of its Technicolor hues.
Directed by Jay Batchelder and John Halas, this was Britain's first feature length animated film, and is a classic, but too dark and upsetting for young children. Total running time is 73 minutes.
Ground-breaking when it first appeared, this classic retains great strength from the presentation of the key characters - Napoleon, Snowball, Boxer and Old Major with his Churchillian delivery.
If you want to know what Orwell wanted to say then you have to read his book. The producers of this film had to make a compromise with the ending, one that they probably would not have made if making the film now, and however understandable the reasons for the change are, it does detract from the overall morality of the tale.
In its own right this is an excellent film. Buy it, absorb it and put it on a high shelf where young children can't reach it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
just what I wanted!! Prompted my grandchildren to ask questions. Need to watch it again. I t came the day after it was ordered in perfect condition.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Having read the other reviews which say because the film was funded by the CIA it lacks integrity and is a distortion of Orwells message, I disagree. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Margaret
This is an awful adaptation, even for it's time, of an otherwise enjoyable classic. It fails to convey the deep meaning behind Orwell's novel and misses out key details that might... Read morePublished on 20 Nov. 2013 by Zoe
What a brilliant story. My children watched this on tape nearly 30 years ago and now my grandchild. Political but funPublished on 10 Nov. 2013 by Gissi
The original is always the best.
I like it, and I recommend it, just, please, someone who understands English better than me .... but I like it too