Two Legs Good and Four Legs Bad
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Written by SeacoastNh Archives

299_Animal_Farm_Film_1953SeacoastNH.com Presents
Historic Portsmouth #299

Portsmouth-based filmmaker Louis de Rochemont had a crazy idea at the dawn of the Cold War. He would animate George Orwell’s 1946 classic fable "Animal Farm". Turn a barnyard novel about totalitarianism into a color cartoon? That’s exactly what he did in 1953 from his Newington farmhouse. (Continued below)

The theory was that the film, using almost no dialogue, could be used as an American propaganda tool in Communist-controlled nations. Research indicates, however, that it was not de Rochemont’s idea. He was approached, it appears, by no less than E. Howard Hunt of the CIA, later known for his role in the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon. The CIA supported de Rochemont who, in turn, hired two British cartoonists. (They later went on to create the Saturday morning "Jackson 5" cartoon series.) Does this feel like the craziest story you’ve ever heard? It’s true, and here is an ad from the original movie to prove it. (Collection of SeacoastNH.com)

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