Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The CIA Funded the Film Version of 'Animal Farm' and They Changed the Ending!

Martin Chilton writes:
The film version of Animal Farm was released to acclaim 60 years ago. There was a gala launch at the United Nations in New York and the film was praised by national newspapers. "The British out-Disney Disney" was one headline.
George Orwell's novella remains a set book on school curriculums, and his satire has lost none of its relevance in the modern age ("All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others"). The story of how his book was turned into Britain's first animated feature film is fascinating, not least because the movie was funded by America's Central Intelligence Agency.
The truth about the CIA's involvement was kept hidden for 20 years until, in 1974, Everette Howard Hunt revealed the story in his book Undercover: Memoirs of an American Secret Agent. In January 1950, when Orwell died at the age of 46, New Yorker Hunt had been part of the CIA's Psychological Warfare Workshop and he had been sent to obtain the screen rights to Animal Farm from Orwell's widow Sonia... 
Work on the film began in 1951 and took three years to complete. Watching it 60 years on is an unemotional experience. The satire is still powerful and Napoleon, the tyrant pig who represents Joseph Stalin, is an unforgettable character. Although the animation is good – grey and grim and completely against the cheery Disney grain – the film itself is a historical curiosity rather than a piece of entertainment.
You are certainly left with admiration for the work of veteran character actor Maurice Denham, who provides the voices of every human and animal in the film. His angry pig noises are exquisite and it is amusing to consider, in the mix of all the political intrigue, that the main concern from the British authorities was that Denham was making Old Major pig sound too much like Winston Churchill.
But he also notes that the final scene was changed by the CIA:
In Orwell’s pessimistic conclusion to Animal Farm, the pigs become indistinguishable from their human masters of old. In the optimistic CIA-approved ending to the film, the (non-pig) animals ask for help from the outside. They are helped, enabling them to crush the evil Stalin ruler. Some endings are more equal than others, it seems.
Ah yes, an ending neocons must love, the Empire to the rescue!


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