Peter Brook, Lord Of The Flies

Written by Joe D on October 21st, 2007

brook.jpg

Peter Brook directs a young amateur

This masterpiece is another film I was exposed to at a young age through the auspices of The Million Dollar Movie. It had to be fairly soon after it was released theatrically (1961) I think I first saw it around 1963 or ‘64. It made an indelible impression on me, I can still remember vividly many scenes and I have not seen it since back then! I found a Life Magazine article about the making of the film and the images here are from that. crowd.jpg

Still Somewhat Civilized

A plane crash during a future nuclear war strands a group of English school boys on a deserted tropical island. All the adults are killed and the boys must fend for themselves. They start off by being democratic, electing a leader, setting up rules and regulations, it seems to be going well. There is an unforgettable image of a group of choirboys marching up the beach, single file, dressed in their choir robes singing a Latin hymn, Kyrie Eleision. This music is perfect, eerie and unsettling in this context. Needless to say as time passes and the school uniforms turn to rags the boys revert to primitive forms of existence. The choir boys become hunters and begin acting wild, like Pagans. They kill a wild boar, roast it, and devour it in an incredible scene. The eating of meat turns the boys even more wild, setting their bloodlust racing. They find a “monster” living on top of a nearby hill and begin worshipping it.
piggy.jpg

The boy playing Piggy had to keep stuffing himself between takes to remain big, he lost weight anyway

Eventually sacrificing a weak boy named Piggy. He is overweight and subject to much ridicule, the hunters take his glasses to start a fire thereby incapacitating him and finally they crush him with a huge rock, toppled from a sea cliff. It’s pretty horrible.
naked.jpg

As the clothes disappear so does the morality

My hat is off to Peter Brook, he took amateur boys, some as young as 7 years old to an island for 3 months and created this whole brave new world, it’s nothing short of a miracle. The images and performances are absolutely superb.leaf.jpg

Peter Brook, maestro of theater, hand picked these boys and engaged in a bit of make-believe, play infused with ritual, the basis of all theater, cinema, art. A raw and savage creation, bursting at the seams with vitality, life force, nature. tom.jpg

Ralph, the duly elected leader is hunted like an animal by the film’s end

Lord Of The Flies was based on a book by William Golding. The article tells of the book’s history. It’s fascinating. The book was first published in the USA in 1955. It was a flop, all but ignored. The filmmakers went into pre-production in 1959 before the 1959 Capricorn paperback was issued. This paperback edition became a college campus bestseller, usurping Catcher In The Rye. How did the producer’s know this would happen? They didn’t. Film is a commercial medium, to be a success without major stars, a film must catch a cultural wave and ride it to popularity. Maybe they sensed the spirit of change, of youthful rebellion in the air.
2-page-spread.jpg

College campuses were influenced by the Beats, the Summer Of Love was nearing. The Vietnam War was heating up. Lewis Allen, Peter Brook and William Golding were in the right place at the right time. Below is a video someone posted on YouTube, It has music by Erik Satie and images from the film. Check it out, you’ll feel the primordial power of this film. Then rent it or buy it, but see it.

41 Comments so far ↓

  1. Oct
    30
    4:48
    PM
    Duke

    I was in love with Peter Brook’s daughter, Irina. I can’t see to find a link to a really good picture of her. Anyway, she was something.

    A bit off subject, I know.

  2. Dec
    10
    8:16
    AM
    pyro

    it was pretty good but i did not like you compar a bunch of savages to santanic people that was jeast roung but thene the people talke a bout our kind in my face

  3. Feb
    10
    2:04
    PM
    okay...

    Yea…this book is insanely disturbing! It’s impossible to find yourself believing that a bunch of possibly primitive children can take human life so savagely. It’s indeed a sad, pathetic excuse to show the difficulties of Island Living. Hopefully….this book will be forgotten soon enough and others won’t base their stories on it…

  4. Feb
    26
    7:23
    AM
    Madvlad

    Er…the whole point of the film is meant to be disturbing. If you think a bunch of schoolboys are incapable of evil, then how do you explain the behaviour of a largely rational people during WW2 (i.e. Nazi Germany)? The majority of them had no problem with being at the very least complicit with acts of evil - at least not til the end of the war.

  5. Feb
    28
    4:40
    PM
    RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    the play was good.

  6. Mar
    25
    4:10
    PM
    Steph

    It’s impossible to believe a bunch of children can become savage? Um, you’re so wrong. Ever been on a playground? Kids pretend a lot, so it makes sense they for a while they would pretend to be like savages just for fun, because part of the reason Ralph was so interested in what they were doing was because it LOOKS like fun for a bunch of kids. But without rules, it starts to become real, especially when adults aren’t around to show them what’s right from wrong. The reason they’re kids is because they’re still young and innocent, they haven’t learned all the things adults have learned. Kids actually lack common sense, and that sounds rude to say, but it’s scientifically proven that the part of the brain that gives you common sense isn’t fully developped till your finished adolescense, so um.. You’re wrong. Kids CAN become savages without adults or rules or morals.

  7. Apr
    16
    8:33
    PM
    Anonymous

    Damn I got so sad when I read this book. I loved Piggy and that bastard Roger killed him. Dropped a rock on him. I hope there will be sequel where Ralph kicks Jacks Ass. I loved this book, a bit intense but a good read for whoever has some guts. Anyway I did some research on this subject. Kids will go crazy after being stuck in a single environment. I believe kids will be susceptible to this kind o maniac behavior. They would be driven to insanity

  8. May
    6
    4:42
    AM
    Lee Jezard

    keerey a
    keerey a
    keerey keerey keerey a
    kkeeery keery keery keery keery keery keerrryyyyyya

  9. May
    6
    4:44
    AM
    Lee Jezard

    lord of the flies is shit

  10. May
    8
    8:02
    AM
    *Caught up in the story......

    I actually liked this book once i got past the first few chapters, i finished the book in a few days because once i got started i couldn’t seem to stop reading. I almost cried when simon and piggy were killed, i thought it was just horrible. I don’t think piggy (or simon for that matter) deserved to die, and i wish that simon had gotten a chance to tell the others about the beasty. I am really looking forward to watching the movie, and can’t wait to see how many scenes it will leave out…..

    ps….i hear that the black & white movie is better than the color one, does anyone have any comments on that? I would love to know :)

  11. May
    8
    9:47
    AM
    Joe D

    The Black and White version is the best one , directed by Peter Brook. There is a Criterion DVD available, I don’t know if it’s on Net Flix or Blockbuster.

  12. May
    10
    2:15
    PM
    LOTF FAN

    You know, if none of the littluns never talked about the “Beastie,” then none of this would really be happening. Simon, nor Piggy would have probably died. I really like the book. It’s true, too! The black’n white version of the movie is awesome! I can’t wait to watch the 90s version.

  13. May
    13
    5:13
    PM
    Anonymous

    this boooooook is so kool

  14. May
    13
    5:22
    PM
    I love it!!!!!

    This is so interesting. i thought it was over but no OMG

  15. May
    26
    3:03
    AM
    A Silly Little Boy

    Ah, but the fear from the littluns spreads quickly after seeing the “beast from air”. Besides, Simon predicted his own death when he told Ralph that he would live, so blaming the littluns is like joking about killing them (like Jack and the hunters did).

  16. Jul
    7
    8:46
    PM
    Rawclaw

    Fabulous book, amazing adaptation.
    I actually got to play Piggy in my school’s recent production of LOTF, it was amazing and a little bit traumatic.
    If you listen to the album “Downward Spiral” by the band Nine Inch Nails, you’ll notice that most of the songs are actually about Lord of the flies, and that the CD cover actually is a picture of a conch.
    The color movie wasn’t very good, with an unlovable Piggy.
    It’s a hard role though, you’ve got to portray childhood and intellect. While the audience is supposed to like Piggy he does have to be pathetic.

  17. Jul
    7
    9:01
    PM
    Joe D

    Piggy is a great character. How was the play received?

  18. Oct
    17
    3:02
    PM
    Kelsey Beatty

    Piggy was what made the movie he repersented intellic and innocence and he was just so cute!

  19. Oct
    18
    1:18
    PM
    Anonymous

    the 63 movie was a good representation of the book, but dont waste your time watching the 90 one, its terrible. hardly follows the book at all

  20. Oct
    20
    10:04
    AM
    Anonymous

    jkchouiwg RALPH!
    Oifa horegh PIGGY!

  21. Oct
    20
    10:05
    AM
    Loo

    vqfeg3 RALPH!
    jkhvnrd oink PIGGY!!!!!!!!!11
    LIUFBVRUGH

  22. Oct
    23
    7:13
    PM
    Jack is HOT

    i think jack was the hotest of all. i loved his body. it was skinny but his abs were real visable. he was 15 win they were amking the movie. in the outtakes he takes off all his clothes!!!! he is the hotest of all. i repeat, HOTEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Nov
    18
    6:02
    PM
    Rocker

    I love the bk it’s better than the movie since it leaves out some parts but it’s a exellent book one of the best I’ve read.

  24. Aug
    2
    6:40
    PM
    jack is hot-DICKHEAD

    wtf, why would u say that u WOMO

  25. Oct
    7
    5:47
    PM
    reading 4 lit

    well i had to read it for English (im in 10th grade) and we talked a lot about the symbolism: the specs conch, fire, and, the beast. when i got to the part when Simon got killed i thew the book (i was at home) and i got more mad when i read that Ralph AND Piggy did NOTHING!!!!!!!!! but other than that it was a good book.

  26. Jan
    27
    6:30
    PM
    Anonymous

    i love this book it is the moost amazin book ever ……. love it

  27. Jan
    27
    6:35
    PM
    marina

    i love the book i am in grade 8 and we red it with the class i love the book i never red this mach of an amazin book it you wan to you are a fan of this book good for you

  28. Mar
    9
    9:54
    AM
    Andrew

    Really good book. I recommend u read the book b4 u watch the movie. The movie leaves out alot compared to the book.

  29. May
    25
    5:02
    PM
    ryan

    does any one no any good naked pics of the boys?

  30. Dec
    5
    5:10
    PM
    anna

    ralph was really hot….O.O :D

  31. Jan
    12
    3:35
    PM
    PIggy Fan

    Hey can you tell me how piggy looks right now and why doesnt he have any films?

  32. Apr
    23
    6:11
    AM
    Amy

    For whoever believes this is impossible, or only susceptible to kids, you should check out the Stanford Prison Experiment. Seemingly normal men taking part in an experiment that was supposed to last two weeks, but was shut down after 6 days when everyone got carried away. I read this book when I was 12, and something else interesting I’ve learned since then is that until about the age of 10 or 11, or 12 I’m unsure, you find it extremely difficult to differentiate between fantasy and reality, which is quite an interesting little fact. I really enjoyed this book, especially because when I read it, I was the same age as the characters I was reading about. It scared me alot, but opened a new world to me. I am now studying psychology at college, and can fully thank Mr Golding for that :)

  33. Aug
    13
    10:11
    PM
    annomyus

    I really liked this book. I had to read this summer for my honors English class. At first I thought “This is dumb.” But then it all started to make sense to me and had a very strong, clear message to it. I think everyone should read it. It’s bound to give you a new outlook on life. You can be you’re own worse enemy.

  34. Sep
    19
    6:46
    PM
    annonymous

    Don’t remember seeing the frame #4 (naked.jpg) in the movie. Was that a deleted scene?

  35. Sep
    23
    9:35
    PM
    Joe D

    It’s a still from a Life magazine article, not a frame enlargement from the film.

  36. Apr
    3
    7:30
    PM
    Anonymous

    I am in 7th grade loved the book and about to see one of the movies. What I don’t get is how people are all ticked off at William saying “Children would never do that!” “Why aren’t there any girls?” (Then it would be about the Oo la la kinda stuff) I don’t get it. Two of my favorite characters died, a bunch of them lose their sanity (primitive isn’t it), and talk about cutting little pig throats.IT’S A BOOK PEOPLE!

  37. Sep
    18
    9:23
    AM
    Anonymous

    I was in love with Tom Chapin, boy who plays Jack in this movie. He’s gorgeous.

  38. Sep
    18
    9:24
    AM
    Magda

    I was in love with Tom Chapin, boy who plays Jack in this movie. He’s gorgeous.

  39. Oct
    6
    11:39
    AM
    Magda

    I was in love with Tom Chapin, boy who played Jack. He’s gorgeous… It’s very bad that there are no his photographs from outside the film.

  40. Oct
    28
    11:01
    AM
    Joe D

    Whatever happened to Tom Chapin?

  41. Aug
    28
    3:55
    PM
    safa

    salut je suis nouveau et je cherche plus d’article

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