Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Flashback song: "For the Love of Big Brother"

Michael Radford's film version of the Orwell classic 1984 is brilliant; it captures the moodiness of the Big Brother era nicely, although what no one realized is that Big Brother would be clean and pretty and really friendly. And the state news chirping "double plus good" would actually be Fox & Friends anchors. "Hooray, we finally invaded Iraq, we're much safer."

Today's Richard Burton's birthday, and it was speculated that he would finally win an Oscar for supporting actor for 1984. He had been nominated 7 times with no wins, and the movie came out shortly after his death in 1984. Somehow Ralph Richardson ended up securing the posthumous supporting actor nomination for Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes.

1984 is a really well done movie, but so depressing that I never actually want to watch it again. I mean just dark as fuck. Still John Hurt, Richard Burton and Suzanna Hamilton are all great. I don't know why it didn't get more acclaim--even if only for its production design and its cinematography by Roger Deakins (another one of my favorites and probably one of yours considering he shot Fargo and The Shawshank Redemption and you know you think those movies are beautiful--Deakins is truly long overdue for an Oscar and when he finally wins you'll see the audience [or at least me] go nuts, mark my words...). Director Radford went on to make Il Postino about 10 years later which racked up a slew of Oscar nominations.

The main cluster fuck around the movie was when Eurythmics were asked by Virgin Films to compose an original song score that director Radford didn't want. He preferred a traditional orchestral score. The compromise pissed everybody off, which is what compromises do. Especially compromises in the creative process.

But the outcome was that the "music from and inspired by" album that Eurythmics produced has some compelling stuff, including "Sex Crime (1984)" (which was an awful title for a song released to pop radio) and this flashback song. Of all the tracks, this one fits best into the washed out future scape of the movie. Enjoy.

And happy birthday Richard Burton.

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