Let's give some credit to the unsung artisans responsible for setting the mood at the beginning of a film, or…
Aflame with the excitement and emotions of tomorrow!
In the future, an oppressive government maintains control of public opinion by outlawing literature and maintaining a group of enforcers known as "firemen" to perform the necessary book burnings. This is the premise of Ray Bradbury's acclaimed science-fiction novel Fahrenheit 451, which became the source material for French director François Truffaut's English-language debut. While some liberties are taken with the description of the world, the narrative remains the same, as fireman Montag (Oskar Werner) begins to question the morality of his vocation. Curious about the world of books, he soon falls in love with a beautiful young member of a pro-literature underground -- and with literature itself.
Adaptation to film of novels that are so intrinsically about books doesn't (or shouldn't) really make any sense. Francois Truffaut's first colour film, and his only in English, overcomes this hurdle well, adding some distinctly cinematic touches to add extra depth to the already strongly thematic source novel.
What makes the films of the French New Wave is the eternal desire for experimentation. Although the playful use of unconventional techniques is not as prevalent in 'Fahrenheit 451' as in Godard's similar 'Alphaville', it still gives the film energy that it would otherwise lack. A particularly nice, subtle touch was the initial titles being spoken, hinting to the abolition of books and writing in general that is the main focus of…
"Every book burned enlightens the world," says Emerson. François Truffaut in London’s Pinewood Studios, uneasy with the language but with Nicolas Roeg’s camera and Bernard Herrmann’s violins on his side. As in Godard (Alphaville) and Losey (The Damned), the Future is Now: Ray Bradbury’s visionary regime is recognizably a mid-Sixties English tangle of antennas and wall screens, with both kook and conformist played by Julie Christie. Society has become somnolent and onanistic, pacified by pills and TV programs ("brothers" and "sisters" are too intimate terms for the zombies, the state addresses them as "cousins"). The word has been banned, books are forbidden and tracked down; firemen once extinguished pyres, now they’re the crypto-Nazis providing them. Oskar Werner is one of…
Well... That whomped. Truffaut + (Future-dystopia + the 60s) = a pretty awful idea. Honestly that equation probably works just the same without throwing Truffaut into it, but as the director and a screenwriters he must be held responsible. Why are there soooo many shots of the fire truck speeding to its location? Why did it all look like a sitcom set? Why does the future look so much like the 60s? Why did no one even try to get that Frenchman to speak English? Why did that woman who set herself on fire look so much like Jack Black? Why did they even attempt to show the flying jet pack guys towards the end? And beyond that, why did…
While it lacks the energy of Truffaut's earlier movies, it does contain several moments of fun. In his only English speaking movie, Truffaut pays great homage to the Master of Suspense but falls short of the psychological suspense and paranoia that Hitchcock embodied so well. There are great touches, the score by Bernard Herrmann, the dream sequence, the love of literature and the distain for totalitarianism and television.
Not all movies need to be great movies. Sometimes, they just need to give us enough to keep the gears turning. If one views FAHRENHEIT 451 as a work from a world class auteur, then it is decisively lesser-Truffaut. But if one views this as Sci-Fi B-Movie, then it is quite enjoyable with just enough to chew on to leave a mark.
Film 37 of The December Project
Oh dear. Julie Christie marooned in Thunderbirds? And by Francois Truffaut of all people?
Not that all of Fahrenheit 451 is that bad, but the camp, wooden acting in much of it is spectacularly inappropriate for an adaptation of a moving dystopian classic. It's not even funny because the context is too serious (unlike an early Doctor Who, say) and most scenes are not quite bad enough to be amusing regardless. And that's despite the lack of convincing explanation of the regime's ideology, and several gaping plot-holes (Why does resistance-reader Clarisse trust Fireman Montag in the first place? How does a man go from burning books for a living to calling them his family…
Though it has some logistical problems, Fahrenheit 451 is an intelligent and inventive sci-fi film--not to mention a very clever adaptation of the original novel.
A classic 1960's film.
You can't judge a book by it's cover
and you can't judge a film by it's poster.
Films like books have the power to connect with an audience,
move them to tears, or make them cry out with joy.
I recently read the book on which this film is based for the first time, so I thought it would be a good idea to watch the movie. The film has a checkered past, coming as it does from French New Wave hero Francois Truffaut who throws out the majority of the sci-fi trappings of the story to tell a fascist fairy tale. As an adaptation of Fahrenheit 451, the movie is a total failure. It takes the bare bones of the book and refuses to include all the little details that flesh out the world and deepen Bradbury's thoughts on self-censorship and war and media. And there's no mechanical hound! Somebody needs to make a modern adaptation and get…
Satisfying adaptation of Ray Bradbury classic is a strong directorial effort from Truffaut.
Deceitfully simple and full of subtle symbolism.
Julie Christie is wonderful as both the wife and the revolutionary though she may not be pleasing to all.
Not at all the normal science fiction film but more of a psychological thriller-which leads to its own list of pros and cons, but mostly pros.
Truly stunning and poetic ending(which is true to the book) feels like a wonderful cinematic moment.
Only in the final scene in the snow does Truffaut catch the poetry of the novel. Yet it's a fascinating film: Nicholas Roeg's crystal clear cinematography; the dominance of primary colours, especially red, which reinforce the blankness and conformity of the fascist state; the juxtaposition of retro-décor with futuristic technology like the wall screens, mono-rail and flying policemen; Truffaut's witty, inventive direction; and Bernard Herrmann's elegant score. Visually, it's a smart and imaginative adaptation. However, it was a difficult shoot, with Truffaut barely understanding a word of English and clashing with his star, Werner. Truffaut's tone-deaf English dialogue is in clear evidence, and the performances by the two leads are mediocre. Montag's transformation to revolutionary has no clear motivation, and…
Yes it is a Truffaut classic.
Seen in old battered 35mm print at MoMA -- went as much for Bernard Herrmann's music and Nic Roeg's photography as anything else. My memories of the 3 or 4 times I've seen this in the past weren't great, apart from certain sequences, and I generally don't like anything from Truffaut between 1960 and 1980 (though I must say, discovering Just How MUCH I like his post-1980 work has been a great recent pleasure).
I liked this better on a big screen -- the performances work a lot better. The special effects seem a little more shoddy though, and I was surprised at just how much I was catching Truffaut nicking visual ideas from Hitchcock -- I didn't think he…
Awesome Film. The book is so much hotter though.
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- One from the Heart
- Ed Wood
- Napoleon Dynamite
- Fahrenheit 451
- To Our Loves
- Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein
- The Abominable Dr. Phibes
- Adam's Rib
Missing films I can't locate on Letterboxd:
Blonde Ambition (1981)
The Devil in Miss Jones (1972)
Strohfeuer / Summer Lightning…
- Twelve Monkeys
- A Boy and His Dog
- A Clockwork Orange
- The Adjustment Bureau
- A.I. Artificial Intelligence
The good and the bad of a world gone wrong.
Likely somewhat subjective, though I've tried to maintain consistency. See…