The movie takes place sometime in the near future in a society where all books are banned. Books are believed to lead people to individual thinking and anti-social behavior, which is strongly discouraged. The main character is a Fireman by the name of Montag. In this future, Firemen do not put out fires, they start them. They have the sole charge of burning books wherever they may be found. Montag has been with the force for five years and is up for promotion. He is an upstanding citizen and is viewed admirably by his peers. The movie Fahrenheit 451 is named for which the temperature at which books burn.
Montag is married to a woman by the name of Linda who is very shut out from the real world. They live in a modern above average house where a large television is the center point of there media. The television is interactive and Linda actually described it as being part of her ‘Family’.
During a trip home, Montag meets Clarise, a young willowy woman whom places a seed in Montag’s mind. She does this by captivating him by her flirtatious gestures and questioning him about his job. In this, she asks him if he is happy burning books and if he has ever read any of the books he burned.
Montag’s curiosity grows and he seeks out Clarise by first having lunch with her. Meanwhile Montag’s wife Linda becomes more and more controlled by the television and in turn becoming anti-social. She then overdoses on depressants and Paramedics come and revive her. Montag begins to distance himself from her.
He begins to take the books from homes he has gone to burn. He reads them and is intrigued by what he finds. At one point he responds to a home with an older woman whom has hidden hundreds of books within her large house. When the Firemen get ready to burn the books the woman refuses to leave. Montag pleads with her to save herself and she instead lights the kerosene, killing herself with the books. Montag is disturbed by what he has seen and eventually begins to read more.
Clarise and her uncle are caught with books by the Firemen, yet Clarise is able to escape. Linda cannot tolerate Montag’s interest with books and eventually turns him in. The Firemen respond with Montag to his house where they find his books. The captain threatens Montag and prepares to arrest him. Montag escapes after burning one of his fellow Firemen to death. He runs to the country where he finds Clarise and a community of people. The people of this community have each taken an identity of their own by a book they memorized. After complete memorization of the book it is then burned so they will not be caught. Their promise is to someday reprint each book that is memorized in a New World. The movie then ends leaving it very open-ended.
In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury shows how controlling the media of television will become in the future. People can interact with a television and role-play similar to the Internet of today. Books are banned in this movie because they foster creative thinking and individual thoughts. The citizens believe they are banned because they create unhappiness and anti-social behavior, when in reality, the interactive ability of the television actually creates this. The television also is the only media link to news and entertainment. Broadcasts are directed to an individual creating a sense of interactivity. Although everyone in this movie appear to be suffering from sensory depravation. Because of this people rely on drugs, including depressants and accelerates, which appear to be widely accepted.
The movie does have a significant point of view, especially for a movie created in 1966. It is almost clairvoyant in its portrayal of the modern day use of media. The example of the control of the Internet by the government could lead to a similar undoing. Instead our creativity is prosperous due to the lack of control by the government over this medium. Throughout history, societies have evolved into large civilizations and they have always attempted to control media. A look at Nazi Germany is very similar to the portrayal of this movie. The Nazi’s burned books and controlled the news given by the media by delivering their own propaganda.
This film is considered science fiction. The point of this film is to redefine creativity through the use of media. Essentially it shows a glimpse into the future of a controlled socialistic society. In the film the government is in control of the society creating a sense to the people that they have knowledge, when in turn, they really don’t know anything. The removal of books destroys the dreaming and individuality of the human being. The author also communicates through these mediums. He has made the television worshiping society the dark, conservative, uncreative side and the books the lighter, creative and beautiful side. This also gives another warning of the lack of creativity in this world will be our undoing.
I definitely agree with the assumptions of this film. Based on what has been stated already and the fact that historically similar events have occurred. This book is also based on the assumption that history repeats itself.
I enjoyed this movie and viewed it subjectively knowing it was produced in the 1960’s. I have not seen to many movies from the 60’s to know what to compare it to for its production quality. It appears to be average in quality to its time period. Its use of modern day media is outstanding; including the use of the large, wall mounted widevision television creating a strange feeling. The acting overall appears weak for its time but yet is able to get its point across.
Oscar Warner plays the very dry and conservative Montag. Improvement is needed in his transformation from conservative firemen to rebellious book reader. Actress Julie Christie plays both Clarise and Linda. I did not find this out till after watching the movie and then doing some research. This is perfect in portraying the two different extremes of society through the same person. Cyril Cusack is excellent as the Captain who comes across to Montag at first as a caring father figure then is transformed into a militaristic disciplinarian.
The story itself is an incredible story, brining media out onto a very well balance battle of good and evil. I also found that there is in the works the possibility of re-creating this film with Mel Gibson starring as Montag. I am definitely looking forward to this. I have also begun to read the novel written by Ray Bradbury.