Monday May 3, 2010 22:22

Movie #0022 – Animal Farm (1954)

Posted by Michael

Directed by: John Halas, Joy Bachelor
Starring: Gordon Heath, Maurice Denham
Second Viewing

Synopsis: The animals at a farm rise up against their oppressive master, only to see their ideal of a collectively-run farm slowly crumble.

Well, this is the second time that I’ve seen Animal Farm, and I definitely liked it a bit better this time around. I still don’t think it’s a classic on the same level of some of the movies I’ve already watched for this blog, but certainly, it is a good film. The first time I watched it, I had just read George Orwell’s classic book, and some of the liberties that Halas and Bachelor took with their adaptation kind of irked me (most notably, the choice to make most of the animals mute, and the tacked-on happy ending). It’s been a few years since I’ve read the book, and now that it’s not particularly fresh in my mind, I was able to appreciate the film on its own merits.

It was actually kind of interesting to watch this so soon after 1900, which had a pretty strong pro-communist message. Obviously, Animal Farm is pretty much the opposite, as it’s well known to be an anti-communist allegory (and in fact, rumour has it that the film was partially funded by the CIA to act as a piece of anti-communist propaganda).

Just speaking as a fan of classic animation, you have to appreciate this movie just based on the visuals alone. The fluid, stylish animation is right up there with the best stuff of the era, and an iffy DVD transfer notwithstanding, this is a must-see for anyone who has any kind of interest in animated film. As for the story, it’s fairly compelling, if not quite on par with the book. The movie does a good job of making us care about the animals, and it’s hard not to get wrapped up in their plight, especially towards the end of the film when things start to really go sour for the embattled denizens of the farm.

The movie certainly has its flaws, but I can’t deny that it’s worth watching.

Buy the movie at Amazon

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