What with a healthy proto-fascist-state dose of police repression going down at the G20 meetings, legalized government spying upheld as supposedly necessary for national “security” by the Bush-Obama administration, and myriad other troubles symptomatic of Dystopia, Orwell’s monumental science-fictional nightmare seems an entirely appropriate escape at the moment.
This version is a refreshingly un-Hollywood teleplay rendering from the BBC, with the great Peter Cushing as Winston Smith along with quite a few other wonderful British actors, including Donald Pleasence.
Cushing is probably better known for playing villains, but I always prefered him as the good guy. His non-canonical portrayal of Dr. Who was my introduction to the Time Lord (non-canonical in that the Doctor isn’t called a Time Lord); and there was the marvelously frail-but-hail Dr. Abner Perry in the 1976 fantasy At the Earth’s Core (which is a pretty awful film, except for Cushing’s performance, Doug McClure’s partly tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the hero David Innes, and Caroline Munro’s sexiness).
Here Cushing plays a more serious dramatic part, and excellently, I think.
(This is the complete teleplay available at Google Video; it’s also available–in better resolution–at Veoh.com, and it’s up on YouTube but chopped into chunks.)