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Based on the 1951 Ray Bradbury novel of the same name. Guy Montag is a firefighter who lives in a lonely, isolated society where books have been outlawed by a government fearing an independent-thinking public. It is the duty of firefighters to burn any books on sight or said collections that have been reported by informants. People in this society including Montag's wife are drugged into compliancy and get their information from wall-length television screens. After Montag falls in love with book-hoarding Clarisse, he begins to read confiscated books. It is through this relationship that he begins to question the government's motives behind book-burning. Montag is soon found out, and he must decide whether to return to his job or run away knowing full well the consequences that he could face if captured.Written by
Brian Rathjen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During the filming of the scene where the woman's house is being burned, Oskar Werner refused to have anything to do with flames. François Truffaut said he must have known there would be flames because he was playing a fireman. But Werner wouldn't appear in the scene, so they had to use a double. [Ref: Nic Roeg (director of photography) in 80-Minute Documentary on François Truffaut: "The Man Who Loved Cinema, Part Two: Love & Death" 10:20] See more »
While the foliage indicates that most of the film was shot in late winter into early spring, the trees are in full leaf as the fire engine is going to Montag's house. See more »
An Enterprise Vineyard Production. Oskar Werner, Julie Christie... in Fahrenheit four-five-one.
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The beginning credits are spoken instead of written on the screen. See more »
Originally Noel Davis (who plays Cousin Midge) did the opening voice over. In the current version it is done by Alex Scott ("The Life of Henry Brulard" Book Person). See more »
Reading Is Bad For Children And Other Living Things
Ray Bradbury's disturbing vision of a possible future comes vividly alive in this film adaption of Fahrenheit 451. Reading for pleasure is now banned although I imagine you must have a certain degree of literacy to read food can labels and directions to operate all kinds of machinery. But read for enjoyment or for education about the world beyond the small space of earth you frequent, that's a big no-no in this future America.
Oskar Werner stars in Fahrenheit 451, he plays a fireman who have a different function in this society. Buildings and such are now fireproof so fireman have become the enforcers of the ban against books. They seek and burn books in whatever quantities they find. A good job in a police state, but not a good one if you have an inquiring mind such as Werner has.
Julie Christie plays two roles, Werner's pleasure driven wife and a schoolteacher whose unorthodox for that society's teaching methods have brought her under scrutiny. She does a good job in both characterizations.
Bradbury's themes are grounded in reality. Looking at American history it was a crime in many slave holding states to educate a slave. Let them be happy in their ignorance and they might not get ideas about a better life and won't rebel.
But this is a society that's beyond that kind of formal slavery so the answer is the old Roman one of bread&circuses. The circus in this case is television which has evolved into an interactive medium. The vast wasteland that Newton Minow characterized television as back in the day has gone beyond anything Minow was having visions about. Entertainment has really dumbed down and the circuses aren't too far from what used to entertain the Romans.
In the supporting cast you will remember Cyril Cusack as the fire brigade captain who functions as the spokesman for this new world and Bee Duffring as the book lady who martyrs herself for knowledge in an unforgettable scene.
The ending is not Bradbury's, but one written by director Francois Truffaut. It is very much however in the spirit of the novel and a tribute to mankind's unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Don't miss Fahrenheit 451 when broadcast.
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