New release: Universal Studios Home Entertainment will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Francois Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 this summer. Adapted from the original novel by Ray Bradbury, Truffaut's 1966 film starred Oskar Werner (Spionage, Jules and Jim, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold), Julie Christie (A For Andromeda, Billy Liar, The Saint, Doctor Zhivago, Petulia), and Cyril Cusack (The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Where the Spies Are, 1984). The crew also included creative giants of the era, such as composer Bernard Herrmann (Vertigo, North By Northwest, Psycho), cinematographer Nicolas Roeg (Petulia, Performance, Walkabout, The Man Who Fell to Earth), and production designer/art director Syd Cain (Billion Dollar Brain, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, The New Avengers, Our Man in Havana, Lolita, Goldeneye, Live and Let Die, From Russia With Love, Dr. No, The Road to Hong Kong). I've always loved the film, although the pacing and dynamics can feel somewhat sleepy at times. As a fan of 1960's aesthetics, the movie stands as a beautiful time capsule of the period- especially for its stunning design and use of stark blacks and reds. It's interesting to compare the film with Goddard's Alphaville, in that both French New Wave directors chose to create sci-fi atmospheres by photographing minimal geometric shapes, lights, and modernist architecture as a way to imply futurism, or in the case of Fahrenheit, to accentuate the notion of uniformity and conformity in a society that would fear books and the potential chaos of ideas. From the press release: "Ray Bradbury's best-selling science fiction masterpiece about a future without books takes on a chillingly realistic dimension in Fahrenheit 451. Montag (Oskar Werner), a regimented fireman in charge of burning the forbidden books, meets a revolutionary school teacher (Julie Christie) who dares to read. Suddenly, he finds himself a hunted fugitive, forced to choose not only between his rebellious mistress and his pleasure-seeking conformist wife (also played by Julie Christie), but between personal safety and intellectual freedom. Directed by one of the most important screen innovators of all time, Francois Truffaut, this classic film is an eerie tale where mankind becomes the ultimate evil." The Blu-ray will be released on June 6th and will include bonus features: the making of Fahrenheit 451, a discussion about the novel with Ray Bradbury, the music of Fahrenheit 451, commentary with Julie Christie, and more! Pre-Orders are now available on Amazon for $14.99. With recent screenings of Orwell's 1984, current discussions in the culture about privacy and ideas, Bradbury's tale about protecting human creative and intellectual output may be as relevant as ever. Enjoy! By the way, have folks heard Spy Vibe's new radio segments on Cocktail Nation? More info HERE.
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