The New Ray Bradbury Review, Number 5 (2016)
Phil Nichols Jonathan R. Eller
The Kent State University Press
As a highly visual writer, Ray Bradbury’s works have frequently been adapted for film and television. One of the most stylized and haunting dramatizations is François Truffaut’s 1966 film adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. For this fifth volume of The New Ray Bradbury Review, guest editor Phil Nichols brings together essays and articles that reflect upon Bradbury’s classic novel and Truffaut’s enduring low- tech science fiction film, fifty years after its release.
French film director and writer François Truffaut was a major force in world cinema. Beginning with his first days as a firebrand film critic and early years as a highly original director, Truffaut sustained a career that brought him numerous accolades, including an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film. Yet Fahrenheit 451—his only film in English and his only foray into science fiction—is often overshadowed by the considerable triumphs of his other works, like The 400 Blows, Jules and Jim, and Day for Night. Similarly, while science fiction scholars often present the film as a significant work, they sometimes see it as a flawed adaptation, somehow less than its source, Ray Bradbury’s classic 1953 novel of book-burning firemen.
The articles in this volume represent the first scholarly investigation of Truffaut’s film and Bradbury’s novel together. They lay out the key critical issues in comparing book and film and novelist and filmmaker, discuss various aspects of Bradbury’s and Truffaut’s narrative strategies in creating a world where books are systematically burned, consider the film’s screenplay and Bradbury’s own creative reactions to Truffaut, and examine the reception of the film among various audiences and critics.
The New Ray Bradbury Review and the multivolume Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury are the primary publications of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, the major archive of Bradbury’s writings located at Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI).
Phil Nichols is Senior Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton and Senior Advisor to the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. His writings have appeared in the books Critical Insights: Fahrenheit 451, Science Fiction across Media, and elsewhere.