Lord of the Flies (1963)

Starring: James Aubrey, Tom Chapin and Hugh Edwards
Second Sight
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 23 July 2007

Following a plane crash a group of schoolboys find themselves on a deserted island. They appoint a leader and attempt to create an organised society for the sake of their survival. Democracy and order soon begin to crumble when a breakaway faction forms and quickly regresses to brutal savagery with horrifying consequences...

Almost everyone knows the plot at the heart of The Lord of the Flies as the book, and consequently the film, has been required reading in UK schools as part of the O' Level (now GCSE) syllabus for decades.

Peter Brook's classic adaptation of William Goldring's novel has lost none of the impact it made when given an X certificate on its 1963 release. Shot with a raw style the film has a chilling air of realism and still retains the power to shock.

While the young actors range from poor to impressive, the end result does do the source material justice. And to be honest, the acting doesn't become much of an issue after a while. You get wrapped up in the tale and even the worst performances come across as believable.

What makes this movie even more impressive is the fact that hardly anyone on the production had any real movie experience.

While the movie is a classic piece of film making, this DVD release is a little disappointing. The only extra on the disc, the audio commentary, was originally available on the Region 1 version which was released as a Criterion Collection disc. All the other additional content from the Criterion Collection is missing from this release - there aren't even subtitles for the hard of hearing.

So what are UK fans missing? Well, the Criterion Collection also includes: excerpts from the novel, read by author William Golding; a deleted scene, with a reading by Golding and commentary; original theatrical trailer, with commentary; production scrapbook, home movies, outtakes; excerpts from Gerald Feil's 1972 documentary The Empty Space, showing Brook's methods for creating theatre; and English subtitles for the hearing impaired.

The audio commentary reveals some interesting facts. For example the children soon got bored on location and some of them threatened to go on strike unless certain demands (like ice cream on the set) weren't met. This was cleverly side-stepped by giving the children behind the scenes jobs to keep them interested in the film making process; and there's the fact that the actor playing Piggy was really scared when he had to film his final scene.

If you can find the Criterion Collection I'd strongly recommend that you purchase that edition instead. For £20, the Second Sight release doesn't really represent value for money.

Pete Boomer

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