Nineteen Eighty-Four; Written and Directed by Michael Radford; Virgin Films.

The concept of a filmed version of 1984 wasn’t without merit. After all, the timing seemed right. And when the final credits roll, we can see how precisely writer-director Michael Rad ford timed it. That is, a title explains that the film was shot in England in April-May 1984: the period Orwell described. If that fact is supposed to make the previous 90-odd minutes any more valuable or meaningful, then only one thing is clear: that Mr. Rad ford has a curious sense of fiction and reality. Was the shade of Eric Blair supposed to be hovering over the lens es while the footage was being shot?

Rubble is the key element of the film. It’s seemingly everywhere. And there’s rubbish where there aren’t rocks. What’s more, even the acting partakes of the dominant visual imag es. Richard Burton’s final role is one that belongs in the memory hole. cc