HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

DVD Review: Classic Version of ‘Lord of the Flies’ Gets Criterion Upgrade

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – Nearly every student has to read William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” at some point and film goers of the right age might remember Harry Hook’s 1990 version of the classic tale with Balthazar Getty, but the best adaptation of the timeless allegory is Peter Brook’s 1963 version, recently upgraded to Criterion Blu-ray and re-released on Criterion DVD with a new, restored 4K digital transfer. Peter Brook’s theatre-crafted style of natural acting and improvisational character-building make for a film that’s devastatingly genuine, as if we’re on the island with these boys as their mini society collapses in flames. The Criterion version is loaded with special features and the film remains remarkably engaging.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Everyone knows the story of “Lord of the Flies.” If they don’t, they know one of the many narratives that ripped it off over the years. Lost boys with no structure or system form their own on a deserted island until power struggles and personality clashes take them down. Theatre director Peter Brook brought a very natural, unrehearsed style to his ensemble of young actors, often allowing them to craft the scenes on their own. The result is a rivetingly real drama, a film that feels like it’s unfolding before our eyes.

As is so often the case, Criterion provides fans great special features, including numerous interviews and clips with Brook himself (it’s not often we get this much material with the filmmakers from films that are half-a-century old). In fact, there’s a commentary with Brook, a recording of Golding himself reading the novel, a deleted scene, and much more. It’s as copious a collection of special features from a 1963 film as you’re likely to see this season.

Lord of the Flies was released on Criterion Blu-ray and re-released on Criterion Blu-ray on July 16, 2013
Lord of the Flies was released on Criterion Blu-ray and re-released on Criterion Blu-ray on July 16, 2013
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Criterion Collection

In the hands of the renowned experimental theater director Peter Brook, William Golding’s legendary novel on the primitivism lurking beneath civilization becomes a film as raw and ragged as the lost boys at its center. Taking an innovative documentary-like approach, Brook shot Lord of the Flies with an off-the-cuff naturalism, seeming to record a spontaneous eruption of its characters’ ids. The result is a rattling masterpiece, as provocative as its source material.

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary Featuring Director Peter Brook, Producer Lewis Allen, Director Of Photography Tom Hollyman, and Feil
o Audio Recordings Of William Golding Reading From his Novel Lord Of The Flies, Accompanied By The Corresponding Scenes From The Film
o Deleted Scene, With Optional Commentary and Golding Reading
o Interview With Brook From 2008
o Collection Of Behind The Scenes Material, Including Home Movies, Screen Tests, Outtakes, and Stills
o Excerpt From A 1980 Episode Of The South Bank Show Featuring Golding
o New Interview With Feil
o Excerpt From Feil’s 1975 Documentary The Empty Space, Showcasing Brook’s Theater Methods
o Living Lord Of The Flies, A Piece Composed Of Never-Before-Seen Footage Shot By The Boy Actors During Production, With New Voice Over By Actor Tom Gaman
o Trailer

“Lord of the Flies” was released on Criterion Blu-ray and re-released on Criterion Blu-ray on July 16, 2013.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Hot stories on the Web

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

  • reno 911 front.png

    CHICAGO – The oughts was the era of the workplace mock-doc comedy, with shows like “The Office” and “Reno 911!” born into a time where TV viewers were excited to see see fake realities about the crumminess of a job. While this series has been available in separate season collections previously, “Reno 911!” is now available in a complete series set, one that boasts a grand amount of special features content in spite of some lacking comedy in the actual show.


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter


HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions