Fahrenheit 451

Indiana University Cinema Bloomington, IN


Dr. Jonathan Eller

Director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies; Professor of English, Indiana University-Purdue University


Dr. Phil Nichols

University of Wolverhampton, UK; Senior Advisor to the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies

Fahrenheit 451— Using Mass Media to Control Individual Action

Dr. Jonathan R. Eller and Dr. Phil Nichols introduced the film and led a panel discussion on the psychological control of individuals via technology and mass media.

Indiana University Cinema Bloomington, IN

Film Synopsis

In an oppressive future, a fireman whose duty is to destroy all books begins to question his task.

Based on the 1951 Ray Bradbury novel of the same name, Fahrenheit 451 tells the story of Guy Montag (Oskar Werner), a firefighter who lives in a dystopian future society where books have been outlawed by a government fearing a freethinking public. It is the duty of firefighters to burn any books on sight or said collections that have been reported by informants. People in this society, including Montag's wife (Julie Christie), are drugged into compliance and get their information from wall-length television screens. After Montag falls in love with revolutionary schoolteacher Clarisse (also played by Christie), he begins to read confiscated books. Montag is soon discovered and finds himself forced to choose between personal safety and intellectual freedom.

About the Speaker

Dr. Jonathan R. Eller is a professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, the senior textual editor of the Institute for American Thought, and the co-founder of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI. He is the co-author of Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction and the textual editor of The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury, Volume 1: 1938–1943.

Dr. Phil Nichols holds an MA in screenwriting, has a background in video production, and teaches all aspects of video and film production. He is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is currently working on his PhD at Liverpool University, supervised by Professor David Seed.

His research interest is in the screenplay as an interface between film production and literature, and adaptations to/from literature, film, and other media. His primary focus is Ray Bradbury, who is best known for his short stories and novels in the popular genres of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, but is also the writer whose authorship is most heavily engaged with self-adaptation.

Dr. Nichols's work on Bradbury has taken him to leading international conferences on the fantastic, media adaptation, the short story, and science fiction, at the University of California, Riverside, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, the University of Angers in France, and Edge Hill University in the UK.

Since May 2007, he has served on the Advisory Board of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana. Since 2009, he has served on the Editorial Board of The New Ray Bradbury Review, University of Indiana/Kent State University Press.

His website at http://www.bradburymedia.co.uk/ catalogues and reviews Bradbury's work across all media, and is the most extensive bibliography and filmography of Bradbury on the web.