The novel «Lord of the Flies» by William Golding was published in 1954. It is a story about a group of young boys trapped on a desert island in complete isolation from the adult society. Hence, the boys bear full responsibility for their lives and actions. The novel was adapted for the big screen twice. First adaption was directed by Peter Brook and came in 1963. The second, directed by Henry Hook, was produced in 1990.
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First ecranization of «Lord of the Flies» adapted the narrative and maintained the original plot of the novel with only few alterations. It omitted the appearance of a boy with the mulberry coloured birthmark. Thus, the scene of his sudden disappearance is not included either. This scene was very essential in the book, while depicting the boys’ barbarian indifference for each other as opposed to their civility and propriety when they first arrived on the island. In film this contrast was achieved by means of displaying the scenes of schoolboys playing cricket and singing in a choir before the plane crash, as opposed to those where they brutaly murder one of them on a desert island. The film did not include another important scene in which one of the boys, Simon, talks to the Lord of the Flies. This scene is crucial in a book, but not so evident in the film version. Brook’s film at large remains faithful to the novel, it does not present any considerable breaks with the original story, nor does it introduce any noticeable changes of the plot, or characters.
The second adaption of «Lord of the Flies» arose from a whole different era. Unlike its predecessor, it was filmed in colour and directed by an American film director Harry Hook. His ecranization differs from the original plot of the novel much more significantly. The protagonists in the film are American boys from a military school, whereas originally the boys were British, below the age of thirteen. Furthermore, Hook decides to include an adult presense on the island, which disputes the whole original idea of the novel as such. The boys help a pilot, who was seriously injured in a crash. Although the pilot never takes charge of the youngsters, his presense creates illusion of an adult authority on the island.
In Hook’s film boys swear and curse, whereas in Brook’s version they merely call each other names. This may be explained through the perspective of nationality, British temper being more proper and restrained. Thus, both in the book and in ecranization by a British film director Peter Brook, the boys only called each other names. The depiction of the scene of murder also differs greatly in two adaptions. In British version Piggy was an innocent victim. The boy clearly didn’t deserve to die; he was just trying to help the others reach a common ground. In the American version of the film Piggy almost brought the disaster upon himself. He treated other boys almost disrespectfully, talking to them as if he was much better and smarter. Besides, the British film only indirectly suggests that Piggy gets hurt, omitting the cruel scene. Whereas in Harry Hook’s film the scene is shown directly, in a “straight-to-face” manner, which American films are known for.
In conlusion, I would like to summarize and say that, although Brook’s ecranization is much more accurate and faithful to the novel, and Hook’s variant of it is more autonomous, neither film conveys the complexity of the novel to the full extent. The book is filled with meaningful symbols and uniquely versatile personages, which were not explored thoroughly enough in either film.
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