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United Kingdom 1963
Directed by
Peter Brook
87 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Lord Of The Flies

William Golding’s 1954 novel 'Lord Of The Flies', like George Orwell’s 'Animal Farm', which was published some ten years earlier, is one of the classic indictments of the British class system.

After a plane crash a group of young English schoolboys who have been flown out of the country to avoid a nuclear attack (something which is adumbrated in an opening montage of still photographs) find themselves on a deserted tropical island (it was filmed in Puerto Rico's Vieques Island during the schoolchildren's summer recess). At first all goes swimmingly but before long a split develops between the public and grammar school boys. The former are led by the arrogant Jack who maintains that their physical superiority and role as hunters gives them the right to rule. The latter are led by middle-class Ralph, supported by his friend, Piggy, and represents the voice of reason and decency. Gradually things deteriorate with tragic results.

Scripted by noted theatre director Brook and filmed in black and white on a low budget with sound which is dubbed rather crudely over the visuals and at best passable performances from the children, it looks remarkably like films produced in Australia in the same period. Made on the cusp of '60s social upheaval, it was a timely film but precisely for that reason, although its sincerity remains evident, it has lost a good deal of its power and the film’s technical limitations only draw attention to its dramatic shortcomings.




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