Between the Scylla of Estrangement and the Charybdis of Naturalisation: Two Television Adaptations of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: Grzegorz Maziarczyk
Between the Scylla of Estrangement and the Charybdis of Naturalisation: Two Television Adaptations of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Given the canonical status of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and the film industry’s “hunger for stories or merely for promising ideas for stories” (Thompson 80), it should not come as a surprise that the novel has been transferred to the screen. However, contrary to what might be expected, and in contrast to such dystopian classics as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, Huxley’s book has not been adapted into a major feature film. The two adaptations that have been made to date are TV productions, originally broadcast by the same cable network—NBC. The first filmic Brave New World, in 1980, took the form of a two-part three-hour-long mini-series directed by Burt Brinckerhoff. In 1998, NBC aired a new, recycled version of Brave New World—a stand-alone film, based on a completely new screenplay and directed by Leslie Libman and Larry Williams.
The reluctance of the film industry proper, so to speak, to exploit the lure of a well-known title can be interpreted as an indication of Brave New World’s resistance to straightforward adaptation. Huxley’s literary output is often cited as the primary example of the novel of ideas (cf. Hoffman; Kolek), a type of narrative fiction in which “conversation, intellectual discussion and debate predominate, and in which plot, narrative, emotional conflict and psychological...
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