Thursday, January 12, 2012

Open Culture - George Orwell’s Animal Farm & 1984: Watch the Films Online

Very cool . . . . via Open Culture, of course.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm & 1984: Watch the Films Online


George Orwell’s anti-totalitarian novella, Animal Farm, almost never saw the light of day. The manuscript barely survived the Nazi bombing of London during World War II, and then T.S. Eliot (an important editor at Faber & Faber) and other publishers rejected the book, partly for political reasons. Eventually Animal Farm came out in print in 1945 (download it via our Free Audio Books and Free eBooks collections) and the now-famous text became an animated film in 1954.

Produced by Halas and Batchelor (and funded by the CIA, although the animators didn’t know it), Animal Farm was the first British animated feature released worldwide, and the animation style — dubbed “Disney-turned-serious” — received critical praise. The film runs 80 minutes, and you can watch it above or here.


Orwell’s 1984 hardly needs an introduction (although Christopher Hitchens, author of Why Orwell Matters, does a nice job contextualizing the novel in this radio appearance). Originally published in 1949, the novel came to television in 1954, courtesy of the BBC. The live production, featuring scenes considered “horrific” and “subversive” at the time, shocked viewers across England. One viewer reportedly collapsed and died while watching the program. A wave of controversy followed, and, amidst it all, the BBC decided to air a second live performance and record it to 35mm film. (Watch above or here.) Years later, the British Film Institute ranked the production 73rd on its list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century.

Like Animal Farm, Orwell’s 1984 appears in our Free Audio Books and Free eBooks collections. Plus you’ll find both movies listed in our collection of Free Movies Online.
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