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CIA, Movie Producer

by david_axe on March 10, 2006

So the Memory Hole has posted a list of movies made or used by the CIA. Some have titles you’d expect: “Ear Wiretapping — Bugging Devices,” “Investigation of US Bacteriological Warfare.” Others seem out of place, like “Animal Farm,” the animated version of the Orwell classic.
animal_farm_cover.jpgBut, as Nick reminded me the other day, no one should be surprised to find “Animal Farm” on the list. After all, the Agency bought the movie rights to the book, a long time back. Nick dug up a Times article for 2000, which explains:

Many people remember reading George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” in high school or college, with its chilling finale in which the farm animals looked back and forth at the tyrannical pigs and the exploitative human farmers but found it “impossible to say which was which.“
That ending was altered in the 1955 animated version, which removed the humans, leaving only the nasty pigs. Another example of Hollywood butchering great literature? Yes, but in this case the film’s secret producer was the Central Intelligence Agency.
The C.I.A., it seems, was worried that the public might be too influenced by Orwell’s pox-on-both-their-houses critique of the capitalist humans and Communist pigs. So after his death in 1950, agents were dispatched (by none other than E. Howard Hunt, later of Watergate fame) to buy the film rights to “Animal Farm” from his widow to make its message more overtly anti-Communist.
Rewriting the end of “Animal Farm” is just one example of the often absurd lengths to which the C.I.A. went, as recounted in a new book, “The Cultural Cold War: The C.I.A. and the World of Arts and Letters” (The New Press) by Frances Stonor Saunders, a British journalist.

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DS March 10, 2006 at 2:34 pm

“no one should be surprised to see “Animal Farm” on the list.”
…does someone need a part-time editor perhaps?

DS March 10, 2006 at 3:57 pm

lol : )

pedestrian March 11, 2006 at 7:28 am

It sounds like another conspiracy theory. Shall we call Fox Mulder for investigations? LOL

Big D March 11, 2006 at 12:50 pm

You’re forgetting something.
In the movie, it also ends with the animals rising up and overthrowing the pigs in a revolution. The dogs are shown as too drunk to defend their masters. I was rather surprised when I read the book several years after seeing the movie and realized that it wasn’t the original ending.
If this was somebody’s idea of a psyop, it was directed more without than within.

ken lusk March 14, 2006 at 8:02 am


Me March 16, 2006 at 3:15 pm

Yes, children, it’s JUST a conspiracy theory, go back to sleep…

TeresaDavis May 29, 2008 at 2:36 pm

I am looking, seeking, a movie producer to buy
my rights for my first Novel, “LEGAL HOOPS,Vol1.,
and working on second one….if there is anyone out there who knows of somone like this, please,
contact me….

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Dipert October 20, 2008 at 3:40 am

get out to town, you mean someone did a cartoon of this. my goodness, what message are we sending our kids? A person wounder why our would is like this? Dronk pig. I realy don’t know where you are all from, and yes there are some people people here in the U.S. A. would like this also, but my good ness!

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