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Compare and contrast the 1963 and 1990 version of Lord of the Flies

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I am writing an essay on the comparison of the two films. Which were the black and white written by Peter Brooks in 1963 and the Technicolor version written by Harry Hook in 1990. In my essay I will also examine which of the two versions were in the spirit of Golding’s novel and which was more useful to students of the text. I will also explore media techniques and how the main themes and the characters are portrayed. The black and white version was most in the spirit of Golding’s novel. This film was made by Peter Brooks, whom had a cast of British schoolboys taken to Vieques, a Caribbean island.

After three months Peter got the boys to act out the novel, which actually had little direction from Peter Brooks. In the plot events they were meant to have missed a ship, but instead they missed a plane, when Jack let the fire go out, however most events were kept true to the novel. The characters are very similar to their descriptions in the novel. However in the novel Simon has coarse, black hair, though in the film he had blonde. The location was true to how Golding portrayed it to be in the novel. The visual descriptions gave a good imagery to this exotic paradise.

The music occurs usually when an event is to take place, or to symbolise the themes of he characters, or the mood of the story at the time. For example when Simon dies they use soft choir music, which gives a feel to his character as being a symbol Christ. The camera angles were used to portray Golding’s messages more clearly. For example at the end of the book, Ralph was running from the tribe of boys, when he is rescued by a navel officer, in the film Brooks does a close-up shot of his face, where he cries, in happiness and in sadness.

If you don’t understand parts of the novel, then the film may be easier to comprehend because as you watch the way in which the characters communicate with one another, it may give a better understanding for the story. In the black and white version, Ralph is portrayed in the same way as he was in the novel. In the film Jack’s hair is blonde, in the book it is red. Piggy’s character in he film is depicted in much the same way. In both the novel and he film, he’s shown as the outsider of the group. Simon, the book describes his hair as being black; the film however shows him having blonde hair.

Harry Hook, who made the film in America, made the colour version. It included characters that are not in the original novel. In the plot events Jack paints his face with pig’s blood instead of mud. Ralph and Piggy found instruments on the scar. They miss a helicopter instead of a ship; the bigguns bury the littluns in the sand, instead of throwing stones at them. They also included scenes of Ralph fishing and another scene were Piggy comes up with the idea of building a raft, which isn’t in the novel.

They don’t have any initial meeting because they already know each other, and another big event in the film was when the boys rescued a grown-up off the plane. The characters are a little different, as Roger has ginger hair. There is a new character called Peter. They also left out the character with the birthmark on his face, and they are all sea cadets. The music in the colour version is used constantly to influence the scenes events and character personalities.

For example, when they are having fun in the lagoon, the music is happy and lively, like the characters. The location is shown quite well because it is in colour but it isn’t as detailed as the novel had written it to be. The camera angles were mainly shot of the whole group, the camera would usually spin round the group, to whom was speaking, this really brought out their personalities because you could see what face expressions they made to what was going on. In the colour version Ralph seems to shout more and is control-exaggerated.

Meaning he has more control over the group, which is probably because they already know him to be the leader of the cadets. Jack has blonde hair not red like it’s meant to be. Also this version gives added information to Jack’s background, which isn’t in the book, an example would be that apparently Jack steals a car. Piggy is kept the same. Simon has blonde hair not black like in the novel. Simon doesn’t find the beast on the mountain as happens in the book, because Jack thinks the beast is in the cave.

Also Simon has a pet lizard, which is killed by Roger. This is added to the story. Many things in the two versions of Lord of the Flies were kept the same. Like how the directors tried to depict what Golding intended the characters to be like. Jack has blonde hair in both of the film versions, but he’s meant to have red hair to represent evil. Piggy was an outsider in both films and looked how he was described in the novel. Simon has different hair colours, in the book it was course black, in the films it was blonde.

Ralph is generally kept like the book in the films. However the two film versions did have many different aspects. Like in the colour version the boys already know each other and are part of the sea cadets, but in the black and white version they don’t know each other, except for half do because they belong to a the choir. Everyone in Hook’s version knows piggy, but in Brooks version they don’t. The colour version is least like he novel. They also use a lot of swearing for the colour version.

My conclusion for the comparison of the two film versions is that out of the two films Peter Brooks black and white version of the story is most useful to students of the text. This is because this version is most like the novel, where as the Technicolor had so much added information to the parts of the story, it sort of side tracked away from the original story. Which would make the novel harder to understand. However the Technicolor was quite useful because it is a modern day interpretation of the book.

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