George Orwell is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. You've undoubtedly been assigned to read his works back in English classes. Who could forget 1984, and its prediction of a future that thankfully (for now) was wildly inaccurate.
Animal Farm was a commentary on Soviet Russia. It showed the dangers Russians faced under the rule of the Communist Party. However, this metaphor of absolute power corrupting absolutely could be applied to any other society in human history.
The novel was turned into an animated film in 1954. You may have seen this growing up. However, there were some changes from the book; especially how the message seems to be more aimed against communists specifically. This was done for a reason, as you'll soon learn.
Turns out, this classic animated film was funded by the CIA. The government organization didn't arbitrarily decide they wanted to get into the movie-making business. They used this as a tool for fighting the spread of communism.
Everette Howard Hunt was instrumental in this plot. He worked in the CIA's Psychological Warfare Workshop in the early 1950s. When George Orwell died in 1950, Hunt was sent by his employers to get the film rights to Animal Farm from Orwell's widow, Sonia.
This was all meant to remain a secret. However, Hunt eventually became disillusioned with his organization and released a tell-all book, which included the details of the plan to bring Animal Farm to the screen. Some truly crazy details were learned about this seemingly innocent film.
The book uses Russia as an example in its allegory, but is meant to be a warning against all nations that might be corrupted and oppress its citizens. This film did away with that and used it to teach kids subliminally that the Soviets were bad. Bet you didn't realize you were learning that life lesson from a cartoon if you saw this as a child.
So when the CIA decided to make an animated propaganda movie, who did they recruit? They had a bit of an issue thinking of how to keep it a secret that they were the ones behind it. To solve this dilemma, they decided to make it overseas.
Yes, that's why this film was made in the U.K. and not the U.S. The British were more than happy to make an anti-Russian film. Also, it was easier to keep the animators in the dark on who was paying their checks.
There was another reason the CIA chose to make the film in England: They had suspicions that many American animators might have been secret communist sympathizers. They didn't trust them to go along with the changes they made from the source material.
So what exactly was this different ending? In the book, the pigs on the farm revolted against their human masters and ultimately became as bad as them. They were indistinguishable from what they initially fought against.
The animated film didn't end on this bleak note. Instead, the animals overcame their new oppressors and won. While a happier ending, once you realize the Cold War implications of it, you'll see how it's undoubtedly propaganda and not just a means to make it more palatable for youngsters.
In the film version, the animals defeated the new regime by asking for outside help. This outside help was obviously representative of the United States. It wasn't until they stepped in that the evil pig Napoleon, an obvious representation of Stalin, was defeated.
What would Orwell have thought of these changes? All you need to remember to answer this question is the fact that the CIA waited until after he was dead to get the rights to do this.