My first and only submission to Michael Rsadford‘s 1984 (20th Century Fox) happened in the late summer or early fall of ’84. A private viewing at the Samuel Goldwyn Co., where I was freelancing as a press kit writer. Myself and the whole crew at the time (including Samuel Goldwyn Jr. himself, Larry Jackson, Jeff Lipsky, Laurette Hayden).

The screening-room mood was funereal, to put it mildly. Radford’s film certainly delivered the chilly Orwellian dread, but it also made you feel narcotized. A discussion session followed. They all conveyed the same cautious, qualified opinions: “Somber…okay, downish but very well made…excellent John Hurt…good reviews assured…Richard Burton on his last legs…a possible awards contender,” etc.

I can’t recall if I expressed my own view during that meeting or later in an inter-office memo, but I’m pretty sure I the only one to share how this gloomy dystopian vision of British totalitarianism had actually made me feel. Six words: “It’s a movie FOR DEAD PEOPLE.”

1984 opened in Europe in late ’84, but the U.S. opening didn’t happen until 3.22.85.

Dr. Phil: “In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Oceania came in and said ‘we’re gonna tell you what words you can use, and what words you can’t use.’ Right now…what Oceania, 1984’s government, was doing, we’re now doing to each other.”

Bill Maher: “I understand. I couldn’t agree more.”