The CIA and George Orwell – The CIA and Hollywood episode 01

In this opening episode of the new series Pearse and Tom look into the CIA’s adaptations of George Orwell’s two most famous novels – Animal Farm and 1984.  We focus primarily on Animal Farm, a revolutionary animated film in several senses of the word, produced by Louis De Rochemont – a man who had worked with several other government agencies prior to making Animal Farm with the CIA.  The animation was does by British firm Halas and Bachelor, and we also discuss their background.  This episode also examines the paper trail, looking in Orwell’s FBI file and the MI5 records on actor Michael Redgrave, who starred in 1984 despite being a suspected Communist.  We conclude that the CIA had something of an obsession with Orwell at this time, and were subverting his works quite radically in these films.

 

Sources

Animal Farm (1954 film)

1984 (1956 film)

Halas and Batchelor

Animal Farm Making Of

Animal Farm film production documents

The cartoon that came in from the cold

CIA documents on George Orwell’s books

FBI file on George Orwell

George Orwell MI5 and Special Branch files

Orwell’s List

MI5 file on Michael Redgrave

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