I first made the acquaintance of Lord of the Flies (the book) when I was in high school. At that time I was not really into it because it was required reading. I just recently reread the book and watched the original 1963 b/w version. My mind has definitely been changed.
Lord of the Flies was written by William Golding in 1954. It is a classic, but it is also #8 on the American Library Association’s list of most banned books. With this in mind, let’s look at the movie version. In 1961, director Peter Brook chose his cast of 30 boys who had either no theatrical training or very little. The boys ranged in age from 8 to 14 years of age. The opening credits served a dual purpose: listing the cast and pictorially showing the circumstances of how the group of boys ended up on the island.
The story, at first, seems to be about boys on an adventure but eventually evolves into a story showing the breakdown of a society and the loss of childhood innocence. The boys eventually break up into two camps: 1)Ralph (James Aubrey), Piggy (Hugh Edwards), the twins Sam and Eric (David and Simon Surtees) represent the boys who are concerned with keeping a fire going in order to be rescued and 2) Jack (Tom Chapin), who as the head boy of a choral group, leads a group of boys who become hunters. Simon (Tom Gaman) is a bit of a loner who starts out as a choral boy but joins Ralph’s group. When Jack allows the fire to go out after Ralph and Piggy spot a plane, the cooperative nature between the two groups dissolves.
Now, you may wonder why I would choose to review a b/w film when there was a color version done in the 1990s. Two reasons: 1) the b/w version tells the story in a way that makes it feel like a documentary, which adds an interesting texture to the film and 2) I haven’t seen the color version. The film only had a $250,000 (80,000 pounds) budget which at time was a lot of money. It was also filmed on a small island near Puerto Rico. The sound may be a bit antiquated but over all, it was a very gripping story. I give it 4 stars out of 5 because of this. There is also a documentary called Time Flies which reunites the director, main photographer, and main cast (Ralph, Piggy,Simon,Jack, and the twins) 35 years later. It deals with how the film affected the boys throughout their lives. I recommend that you also watch this.