43 Lord of the Flies

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Person
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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#26 Post by Person » Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:29 am

Mr_sausage wrote:Was shown Polanski's MacBeth for grade 11 English class to go along with (well, replace, since most couldn't parse Shakespeare's language) our reading of the play. The bit with all the naked hags didn't go over well.
It didn't go over with Hefner well either! I love that scene, though and the film in general. A firm favourite. Would love to see a SE Blu-ray.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#27 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:22 pm

In my experience we take for granted that the allegory of Lord of the Flies is essentially true. Everyone ought to read this blog post, which takes the position that, in fact, the entire premise is nonsense and that the behaviours underlined are more prevalent in regular school systems than in savage lifestyles.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#28 Post by Zot! » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:54 pm

I think the point of the novel is that the behaviours are prevalent in humans in general. If I remember correctly, the marooning is premised on a evacuation due to a war, so it is not exactly letting polite society off the hook.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#29 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:16 pm

Zot! wrote:I think the point of the novel is that the behaviours are prevalent in humans in general. If I remember correctly, the marooning is premised on a evacuation due to a war, so it is not exactly letting polite society off the hook.
I doubt the reason for the marooning is relevant to the allegory. The more recent film version had it be an accident during a school trip and lost nothing by it.

The central conceit of the novel and the two films is that in the absence of the control asserted by society and by culture, humans will revert to a savage, violent, cruel state that all three works associate with paganism. It is no accident that all authority figures in the novel and films are either removed or incapacitated. This conceit is taken for granted as a truism. I think the blog post I linked above allows us to question this truism by showing us how one of our fundamental examples of civilized organization, schools, is more likely to breed the cruel power hierarchies of the novel than a so-called 'savage' life-style, where the novel and movies would have us believe that schools are the only thing preventing kids from being savages from the start. Worth considering.

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John Edmond
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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#30 Post by John Edmond » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:26 pm

Slightly off topic but I was wondering if anybody could help me track down a copy of Peter Brook's Tell Me Lies (1968) for a friend. It was never released on VHS or DVD as far as I understand, but it was broadcast on television -- any possibility people with access to the usual sources could tell me if a copy is bouncing around.

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movielocke
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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#31 Post by movielocke » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:54 pm

you could try contacting Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee to see if they have it available on their loaner list (films never given a legal home video release, but taped off tv, they can't charge you to rent them, but they can allow you to rent one for free if you rent another, regular title from them).

Their website died, but they're still in business.
article on the store

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#32 Post by felipe » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:40 am

Mr_sausage wrote:
Zot! wrote:I think the point of the novel is that the behaviours are prevalent in humans in general. If I remember correctly, the marooning is premised on a evacuation due to a war, so it is not exactly letting polite society off the hook.
I doubt the reason for the marooning is relevant to the allegory. The more recent film version had it be an accident during a school trip and lost nothing by it.

The central conceit of the novel and the two films is that in the absence of the control asserted by society and by culture, humans will revert to a savage, violent, cruel state that all three works associate with paganism. It is no accident that all authority figures in the novel and films are either removed or incapacitated. This conceit is taken for granted as a truism. I think the blog post I linked above allows us to question this truism by showing us how one of our fundamental examples of civilized organization, schools, is more likely to breed the cruel power hierarchies of the novel than a so-called 'savage' life-style, where the novel and movies would have us believe that schools are the only thing preventing kids from being savages from the start. Worth considering.
I think it was Russeau who once said that men are born good but society makes them evil. I always understood Lord of the flies' message to be the opposite of that. Men are born evil (that's wh we see kids on an island, individuals of character not fully developed, and not adults) but society, with all it's rules and constraints makes them "good" (meaning that adults wouldn't probably do those things because the LEARNED to feel guilty and have consciousness and so on).

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#33 Post by tenia » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:27 am

felipe wrote:Men are born evil (that's wh we see kids on an island, individuals of character not fully developed, and not adults) but society, with all it's rules and constraints makes them "good" (meaning that adults wouldn't probably do those things because the LEARNED to feel guilty and have consciousness and so on).
I don't think you can say they make them good, but they make them look as good as they want to. In the end, all these rules can't do anything against the bad tricks some children want to play. So, these rules are nothing against the human nature, but still, they manage to make all these children look vaguely civilised, or, let's say, able to live together. But I don't think it goes further than that, unfortunately.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#34 Post by felipe » Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:38 pm

So, is this somehow a contender for a blu-upgrade?

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#35 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:42 am

Mr Sausage wrote:I doubt the reason for the marooning is relevant to the allegory. The more recent film version had it be an accident during a school trip and lost nothing by it.
It's funny, because the movies work without it, but it seemed to me like a central point in the book- actually, I thought the marooning was more or less intentional, letting them work themselves into a frenzy to prepare them for the world they'll have to reenter.

Moreover, it's worth remembering that they are schoolchildren, and their tribes break into groups that were established within the school- as I recall, the dangerous hunters were all choirboys or some such. They're not blank slates, and I always thought one of the reasons for the depths of savagery was a reaction against specifically the repression they had been raised with. They're not not tribespeople born into their environment, and they have neither adults to show them appropriate ways to behave nor experience fitting in with it- it's obviously a valid reading to see the children as having reverted to the savagery, and to see savagery as man's natural state, but I always read it as children turning delightedly to what those children have always imagined savages behave like.

edit: haha, I was confusing dates- I thought this argument had been happening yesterday, not a year ago.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#36 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:31 pm

I don't understand what's so "savage" about what takes place on the island. Except for the lack of technology, all of the power struggles and clique formation and so forth are recognizable elements of western society, not primitive societies. You can see varying degrees of the same thing in boarding-schools, workplaces (especially in big business), politics (what if Jack were Stalin and Ralph Trotsky? Any difference?), religion. The only major difference is that actual society does it a lot more efficiently.

In order to convince me that anyone is reverting to savagery on that island, you have to show that murder, factional politics, and superstition only occur among 'savages.' Otherwise, I'm going to stick with the reading that the book and movies are just reenacting human history on a smaller scale, and that it's not about who we easily could be but about who we already are.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#37 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:53 pm

I don't think we actually disagree- I may have expressed myself badly, but I was responding to
The central conceit of the novel and the two films is that in the absence of the control asserted by society and by culture, humans will revert to a savage, violent, cruel state that all three works associate with paganism.
I was making the point that the children are not tabulae rasae, and that their behavior is essentially derived from 'civilized' society- the children are behaving 'savagely' only insofar as they are behaving as they have been taught 'savages' behave. It's not a reversion, as it's not demonstrated to be inherent, and in some ways I think it's a function of the control asserted by society and culture.

In my other post, I should probably have put scare quotes around the word 'savage' as well, since the people to whom it refers (and on whom the boys are modelling themselves) are essentially mythical, dehumanized versions of whatever native groups the term is applied to.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#38 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:13 pm

Oh, sorry. Also, concerning that quoted sentence of mine, I find it hard to extricate the actual thing* from the thing as it's always been described to me.

Anyway, concerning the kids being blank slates or whatever, it has to be asked whether Lord of the Flies wants us to think that the kids have forgotten everything they've learned, or are simply putting it into practise. Most everyone seems to think it's about the former. And why not? Makes perfect sense for highschools (where I was first shown the movie and forced to read the book) to use texts whose lesson is that without school to keep us in line we'd all become animals in the end. The thing has been somewhat co-opted as a piece of propaganda. As far as that goes, it's pretty useful.

*"thing" in this case meaning the book and the movies. Writing "book/movies" looked awkward.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#39 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:30 pm

Although that was the thing that I found made the 1990 Americanised remake a lot less effective, since it turned the schoolboys of the original into military students in seemingly a rather heavy handed attempt to suggest that of course military kids would be inherently more predisposed to violence than any other group of people who might end up stranded on an island.

Whereas the power/wonderful joke of the novel and original film is the way that schoolboys from a rather privileged background who might be considered to have had the baser animalistic urges 'trained' out of them by an ascetic boarding school upbringing (of course though those places are as cliquish and exclusionary with heavily proscribed ritualistic behaviours as any could be), are still in the end only human - even the choirboys.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#40 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:33 pm

It's been long enough since I saw the movie that I don't know that I could state with any certainty whether the feeling carries over to it, but the primary sensation I got from the book was a feel of nuclear dread- that the book was arguing that not even the children could escape the madness that had come over Europe.

I mean, it was published in 1954, and the bulk of the book is concerned with the insane factionalism that springs up among the kids- it seems at best unhistorical to assume that their behavior was meant to contrast what was going on in the rest of the world.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#41 Post by Zot! » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:41 pm

Thank you for backing me up...you're only a year late! Yeah, I still contend that this being a propoganda piece for proper discipline is unsubstantiated. I don't see why the pretense for their marooning (nuclear war) should be ignored. I mean that would be a pretty serious "incidental".

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#42 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:45 pm

The war seemed as relevant to it as it does to a lot of post-Apocalyptic books and movies- it's never foregrounded, but in some ways what you're seeing is the physical embodiment of the mental state that caused the war. I mean, if you work backwards- what image could be more representative of a total breakdown of everything human than children murdering children?

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#43 Post by swo17 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:19 pm


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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#44 Post by ezmbmh » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:43 pm

With the re-issue announcement I pulled out my old CC DVD and wonder if I have a bootleg. I bought it way back and can't recall from where, hoping someone with a copy could take a quick look. The disc has a gold-ish finish rather than the usual silver, and the serial # is L810 7982, followed by LOR201 and T00121-03 Z. The artwork, etc., looks real, and the film begins with the old CC name and the Janus logo.

Any help appreciated.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#45 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:48 pm

Aspect ratio discussion moved here.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#46 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:58 pm

In response to an earlier question, I did watch this version in school (when I was a Junior in HS). Hated it then, can't imagine myself buying it now. Sorry.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#47 Post by knives » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:01 pm

You should try to see it again. It's definitely not some a 15 year old would normally love, but Brook paints a devastating picture with the movie that I think genuinely is better than the book.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#48 Post by Feego » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:45 pm

Right, you should never rely on high school English class viewings. We watched Lean's Great Expectations Freshman year, and I hated it (largely because of the sensationalized ending). I now see it as the masterpiece that it is.

Then again, we also watched Clayton's The Great Gatsby, and I haven't been bothered to revisit that one. [-(

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#49 Post by Gregory » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:55 pm

I believe Lord of the Flies was the only Criterion film I was made to watch back in high school. It was one of those typically brilliant English class strategies: We're all reading Lord of the Flies, so the lesson plan for this week is to watch this VHS of the film version in two halves, 48 hours apart. There might be a quiz later, so pay attention!
I got the DVD years later and watched it properly and it was a totally different experience.
Feego wrote:Then again, we also watched Clayton's The Great Gatsby, and I haven't been bothered to revisit that one. [-(
Same here.

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Re: 43 Lord of the Flies

#50 Post by Minkin » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:28 pm


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