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1984 Plays at ICON in Sioux Falls Tuesday Night

when the leaves turn from green to brown
and autumn shades come tumbling down


to leave a carpet on the ground
where we have lain….

Suzanna Hamilton as "Julia", <i>1984</i>
Suzanna Hamilton as “Julia”, 1984

Those haunting lines still echo unbidden through my mind. They come from the Eurythmics’ soundtrack to 1984. Of the nine songs on that tape (that was the medium in which I bought it, newly released, via the BMG Music Club), “Julia” is the one that sticks.

I bought that tape not long after reading George Orwell’s 1984. Junior-high sci-fi me was disappointed that Orwell didn’t craft a hero to turn the dys- of his topia to a u-. Julia is no blonde athlete hurling her hammer at the system to free everyone to buy Apples. Kirk does not bring Spock back. Luke, Leia, and Chewie do not save Han. The bad guys win.

Yet “Julia”—that’s the song I remember.

I have never seen Michael Radford’s film version. I don’t recall the John Hurt/Suzanna Hamilton vehicle coming to the West Twin Theatre in Madison; even if it did, the R would have kept junior-high me out. (Yet I could check out whatever book I wanted from the library.)

If I were in Sioux Falls or any of another 120-some American cities Tuesday night, I could catch 1984 on the big screen. Cinema Falls and the ICON Event Hall + Lounge are participating in the 1984 National Screening Day. In Orwell’s novel, April 4 is the day Winston Smith begins keeping his diary, an act of rebellion against a government that forbids speaking freely and writing down facts.

I didn’t see the connections between Orwell’s grim world and the colorful Reagan America in which I safely, contentedly read it before turning to other pleasures like Ghostbusters (oppressive EPA official!), Splash (evil military-industrial complex!), and Red Dawn (ah! real Communists! gruesome, grim… but the good guys still win!). Now every day’s newscast feels like a lesson in Newspeak, a grand exercise in satire.

I was at least as worried in junior high about saving damsels in distress as fighting any real tyrants. Now we’re all in distress. And deep down, I still won’t accept unhappy endings.

See where all this Newspeak started: 1984, playing Tuesday night at the ICON Event Hall and Lounge, doors open at 6 p.m., show starts at 6:45.

when winter leaves her branches bare
and icy breezes chill the air

O, Julia

the freezing snow lies everywhere
my darling, will we still be there….


  1. jerry 2017-04-04 02:11

    April 4, 1917 was the day, just 100 years ago, the United States formally entered into the Great War. Orwell understood one thing about his country, after that war to end all wars, it oppressed others in its role as an empire. With trump and his republican stooges running the empire today, it is clear that 1984 should be fundamental reading and viewing for our nation to understand fully the implications of the loss of freedoms for the gains of the wealthy elite.

    Of note to the Karen of South Dakota, George Orwell had so much respect for those oppressed people that he could speak Karen fluently as well as following the ways of the culture in the regards of tattoos and religion while there. Quite a fellow with a remarkable insight of the future.

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-04-04 06:23

    Orwell spoke Karen—that’s news to me! Is 1984 available in Karen translation?

  3. mike from iowa 2017-04-04 09:59

    Wiki sez 1984 translated into at least 65 different languages, but I can’t find the list.

  4. mike from iowa 2017-04-04 11:47

    Rumour has it David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album was loosely based on the novel.

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