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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "1984")

 

Directed by Michael Radford
UK 1984

 

This masterly adaptation of George Orwell’s chilling parable about totalitarian oppression gives harrowing cinematic expression to the book’s prophetic dystopia. In a rubble-strewn surveillance state where an endless overseas war props up the repressive regime of the all-seeing Big Brother, and all dissent is promptly squashed, a profoundly alienated citizen, Winston Smith (thrillingly played by John Hurt), risks everything for an illicit affair with the rebellious Julia (Suzanna Hamilton), defiantly asserting his humanity in the face of soul-crushing conformity. Through vividly grim production design and expressionistically desaturated cinematography by Roger Deakins, Michael Radford’s 1984 conjures a bleak vision of postwar Britain as fascistic nightmare—a world all too recognizable as our own.

***

Directed by British filmmaker Michael Radford, Nineteen Eighty-Four is the second film adaptation of the George Orwell novel. The film is set during April of 1984 in post-atomic war London, the capital city of the repressive totalitarian state of Oceania. Winston Smith (John Hurt) is a government bureaucrat whose job is rewriting history and erasing people from existence. While his co-worker Parsons (Gregor Fisher) seems content to follow the state's laws, Winston starts to write in a secret diary despite the fact the "Big Brother" is watching everyone at all times by way of monitors. He silently suffers and tries to comprehend his oppression, which forbids individual human behaviors such as free thinking and sex. He meets Julia (Suzanna Hamilton), who works for the Ministry of Truth, and they engage in a stoic love affair. They are soon found out, and Winston is interrogated and tortured by his former friend O'Brien (Richard Burton in his final film appearance).

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters and one cool book cover

Theatrical Release: October 10th, 1984

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:50:38.673        
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,845,980,397 bytes

Feature: 35,390,269,440 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.04 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,845,980,397 bytes

Feature: 35,390,269,440 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.04 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Two scores: one by Eurythmics and one by composer Dominic Muldowney
• New interviews with director Michael Radford (22:11) and Deakins (20:24)
• New interview with David Ryan, author of George Orwell on Screen (21:42)
• Behind-the-scenes footage (4:42)
• Trailer (2:20)
PLUS: An essay by writer and performer A. L. Kennedy
New cover by Fred Davis


Blu-ray Release Date:
July 23rd, 2019
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 14

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion Blu-ray (July 2019): Criterion bring Michael Radford's Nineteen Eighty-Four to a 'Director Approved Special Edition' Blu-ray. It is transferred via a "New 4K digital restoration, supervised by cinematographer Roger Deakins". It looks very impressive - the, intentional, theatrical desaturated color palette image is rich with consistent grain texture and deep colors (blues and grays) via a dual-layered rendering with a max'ed out bitrate. This looks just gorgeous on my system with fine detail in close-ups and a wonderful use of the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The visuals carry depth and exceptional contrast and shadow detail. The image quality is magnificent.

NOTE: We have added 38 more large resolution Criterion Blu-ray captures for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE.

On their Blu-ray, Criterion use linear PCM mono tracks (24-bit) in the original English language with the option of two film scores: one by the British musical duo Eurythmics (Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart) deriving songs like "Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)" and "Julia" although the majority of the tracks are instrumental. Also another important option is an orchestral one by composer Dominic Muldowney which includes the opening Aria, This Is Our Land, the main title "Oceania, 'Tis for Thee" etc.. I was keen to hear the Eurythmics score which exports a different tone to the film, although still dystopian, and even the 'Big Brother' dialogue sounds different (not as imposing and less echo-y.) The option is certainly appreciated although after sampling - I think I prefer Muldowney's. Director Radford objected to Virgin Film's insistence on using the more pop-oriented electronic score by the Eurythmics. He expressed his displeasure during his acceptance speech at the Evening Standard British Film Awards and it is pleasing to have both included here. I believe this was a similar option on the Twilight Time Blu-ray release (which I do not own.) Criterion offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

Supplements include new interviews with director Michael Radford for about 22-minutes - recorded by the Criterion Collection in London in March 2019. He details his experiences making the film, how quickly the project evolved, requesting Richard Branson's support etc.. There is also one with cinematographer Roger Deakins recorded at the same time. He talks about the in-camera appearance that he deems primitive now, the low budget for building sets, his relationship with Radford etc. There is also a new interview with David Ryan, author of George Orwell on Screen running shy of 22-minutes. He relates how he read some essays and was, eventually, hooked on Orwell. He details many of the film versions of 1984. There is less than 5-minutes of Behind-the-scenes footage featuring interviews with director Michael Radford and actors John Hurt and Suzanna Hamilton. There is also a trailer and the package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by writer and performer A. L. Kennedy.

This is a brilliant visual experience. It has both the Totalitarian-warning and is a sexual story (more than a love affair with sex portrayed as an act of rebellion). There are themes of oppression and control venturing to the physical sense with the harrowing torture scenes. I was thrilled with the 4K Blu-ray presentation, the extras and the fascinating, faithful, adaptation. Strongly recommended!  

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

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Distribution Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 

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