totalitarian novel about the death of books is brought to the screen by French director Francois
Truffaut in his only Hollywood film. The hard and frightening edge of the book is somehow lost in
this very cold and distant translation.
In this vision of the future the Nazi-like book-burners of the State are called
Firemen. Peerless Fireman Montag, looking confidentially toward promotion, encounters a strange
woman on the way home from a little bit of burning. She turns out to be part of a revolutionary
cult of book lovers whose sole purpose in life seems to be to save books, in whatever form
possible. Montag is irresistibly attracted to her and then, because of her, to the books he burns.
The ordered, State planned life he lives begins to fall apart. His wife, a comfort creature
transfixed by State controlled television, questions the change in Montag's
Firemen on the job..İMCA-Universal
demeanor. His Chief begins to sense that Montag has
lost some dedication, and the mysterious Firemen's pole no longer is receptive to Montag's altered
Truffaut tries to bring some added interest to Montag's predicament by
casting Julie Christie in the dual roles of wife Linda and lover Clarisse. While I love Christie, I
am not sure this works to advantage. Montag is played by European star Oskar Werner with cold
detachment in contrast to his hot job. Werner is so subtle in this film one can hardly detect a
change even after the character is doubly seduced by Clarisse and books. Cyril Cusack strikes the
perfect note as Montag's superior.
Presented in widescreen 1.85:1, Fahrenheit 451 (the temperature
at which book paper burns) is a good looking DVD. The image is sharp and colors are bold. Contrast
could have been more consistently strong, however, the filmmaker's palette may well have determined
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