Animal Farm (1954) Gordon Heath, Maurice Denham Movie Review

Animal Farm (1954)   3/53/53/53/53/5




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Animal Farm (1954)

Revolt at Manor Farm

Having fallen on hard times Farmer Jones has taken to the drink and in turn takes out his misery on the animals that are kept captive on his run down farm. It is why the animals put aside any differences they may have and unite under the leadership of pigs Snowball and Napoleon to revolt against the farmer. Once Farmer Jones is ousted the animals set up a new order where they are all equal, working together for the good of each other. But Napoleon has other plans and sets about increasing his own power and status.

Having just watched "Animal Farm" for the first time I wonder whether if I had been shown this as a child during the 70s and 80s maybe I would have actually read some George Orwell. Yes that's right, despite having heard of Orwell and some of his works I have never read any and as such I can not say how well this British made animation from 1954 did in telling his story of revolution and betrayal.

But whilst I can't say how well "Animal Farm" does in telling Orwell's fable I can say it fascinated me on various levels starting with the political storyline of the little animals joining forces to fend of their master but then having to deal with one of their own who becomes power hungry. It isn't that the story feels like it is dumbed down but a real life aspect of revolution and betrayal told in such a way that even the young could follow it if they so wished whilst adults would be able to read in between the lines and pick up on the various references. On top of the story there is also the animation work and whilst lacking the panache of a Walt Disney animation you can still see the influence of Disney over the styling which adds to making it highly watchable.

My trouble with "Animal Farm" is that whilst fascinating the characters in it are just flat drawings and so whilst it is entertaining when the animals work together to tend the crops you feel no connection to them. It means when things turn bad for any of them you feel nothing for them and it lets the whole thing down. Quite simply characters needed to be established so that connections could be made.

What this all boils down to is that "Animal Farm" is a fascinating look at a British animation from when there weren't many with the influence of Walt Disney clear to see. But sadly what it lacks is an emotional depth so whilst it is fun to watch the animals work together, when things don't go well you don't feel anything for them.