Friday, October 24, 2008

Fahrenheit 451 sounds silly.

In my film and Lit class we are reading and watching “Fahrenheit 451” and I thought that it was interesting that the actor playing our rebellious hero (in the super space-age-y 1966 film) has a German accent.

Here is a Youtube video (that someone spent way too much time putting together) with some snippets of the actor (Oskar Werner) talking. Not to offend, but I think that his accent is kind of funny and it makes me giggle. I’m not saying all German accents are ridiculous, but his kinda is.

Anyway … here’s what I said about it all:

Did anyone else find it interesting that in the film version of “Fahrenheit 451” they made Montag German?

At first I thought that it was a not so subtle allusion to Nazism and I thought it was kind of an insensitive choice, but then I spent some more time mulling it over. Since Montag actually rebels against the book burning (and since the director makes a point of showing us that they will be burning Mein Kampf as well) I started to think that maybe making Montag German was actually an attempt to redeem the Germany of its sins in World War II.

Either way, just by choosing to give Montag that accent, the film ties the character (and maybe the whole dystopian society) to the images of Nazi book burning that we are all familiar with.

To be fair, I looked up the movie and discovered that Oskar Werner (the actor playing Montag) was actually Austrian and that during the war he tried to avoid conscription, but when we couldn’t avoid it anymore, he signed up and then quickly deserted. So even if the director wasn’t making a connection between Nazism and the world of “Fahrenheit 451”, surely the connection exists in Werner’s performance.

Did anyone else feel that Montag’s accent alluded to Nazism and maybe redemption? Or am I just crazy?

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