There is some kind of irony in the latest news to be making the rounds. You may have already seen this on Twitter or Facebook, but in the wake of the NSA scandal and whistleblowing by Edward Snowden about the U.S. government’s massive surveillance operation on the public at large, including tracking online communication and interaction, sales for George Orwell‘s prophetic classic novel “1984” have spiked. On Amazon, it jumped to the 100th best selling title on the site from its previous spot of 11,855, and apparently the folks buying the story about a dystopian future in which Big Brother controls almost every fact of life, engages in mind control and mass surveillance, really haven’t read the book. Or missed the point.
All this to say, that if you want another way to experience Orwell’s grim tale of the future, you’ve got a couple of options. There’s the lesser known, and largely unavailable 1954 BBC adaptation from director starring Peter Cushing in the lead as Winston Smith, who works for the propaganda arm of the Ministry Of Truth. And then there’s the 1984 take (naturally) starring John Hurt, and helmed by Michael Radford. It’s certainly much more well known, and while both attempt to bring Orwell’s terrifying vision to life, those of you sitting down with the book will get just as bracing an experience. Anyway, compare and contrast both movie efforts below.
Update: The 1954 film version has been removed by request of the Orwell Estate.