The near-future totalitarian England of Michael Radford’s 1984, a powerful adaptation of George Orwell’s classic novel, is a very dark place indeed. The film’s brilliant production design and color-drained photography emphasize the grubby squalor and soul-crushing uniformity of the surveillance state, setting a vividly bleak tone for the story of the unlikely rebellion of a lowly bureaucrat (John Hurt). In one of the supplements on our new edition of 1984, acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins talks at length about his work on Radford’s film, along the way touching on the distinctive pallor of its images. As Deakins explains in the clip above, the “silver-tint” process pioneered by the legendary Japanese cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa became his avenue to achieving Radford’s vision of an almost colorless 1984. By omitting the bleach-bath step of the print-making process, Deakins succeeded in giving the movie a haunting “50 percent black-and-white”—though not without first setting several projectors on fire during the testing phase.
Donald Richie Uncovers the Traces of a Lost Japan
In collaboration with director Lucille Carra, the renowned writer brought his impressionistic travelogue The Inland Sea—an unusual choice for a film adaptation—to the big screen.
A Palette That Sizzles On-Screen
Filmmaker Darnell Martin and writer Nelson George discuss how vividly Do the Right Thing captures the heat of a Brooklyn summer and the diverse skin tones of its cast of color.
A Genius of French Cinema Delivers a Career-Defining Performance
Raimu is at his subtle best in one of the most moving scenes in The Baker’s Wife, a moment in which the actor channels the collective despair of France’s working class.
How Jane Fonda’s Feminist Awakening Collided with Klute
The Oscar-winning actor remembers how her heightened political consciousness in the early 1970s led to her initial hesitation to take on the leading role in Alan J. Pakula’s psychological thriller.