Television: Whitewashing the Farm

A sunny ending mars a strong Orwellian update

More than 50 years ago, George Orwell wrote a simple beast fable about a revolution devolving from idealism ("All animals are equal") to oppression ("...but some animals are more equal than others"). It's a sign of Animal Farm's power that it has never been wholly palatable. During World War II, the manuscript--painting Stalin as the (literally) piggish dictator who co-opts a barnyard revolution against humans--spooked publishers because the Soviets were allies against the Nazis. By the time an animated film was made, in 1955, the tale wasn't anti-pinko enough, so a propagandistic anti-swine uprising was added. The cold war over, Orwell's...

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