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    Analyse the openings of the two film versions of “Lord of the Flies” Essay

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    William Golding wrote Lord of the Flies. The first publication was made in 1954, nine years after the end of the Second World War. Golding raises the issues of power, civilisation and leadership. Peter Brook and Harry Hook filmed the two film versions of Lord of the Flies I am comparing in 1963 and 1994 respectively. Peter Brook"s version was filmed in black and white and Harry Hook"s version was filmed in colour. The openings used in both versions were very dramatic. They both gave us the gist of what had happened straight away.

    In my opinion, the opening to Brook"s version was the most effective because of the still scenes of back home where the boys came from. It led up to the plane crash and told a brief story in pictures to involve the audience into the film. The opening leaves the audience wanting to find out just how the boys are going to cope, stranded on a desert island, with no adult life or other civilisation to be found. Brook did extremely well in creating the filmed version of Lord of the Flies, as there wasn"t a wide range of special effects available at the time.

    However, these were available at the time of Hook"s version of the bestseller creating a tenser atmosphere for the audience. Due to these differences, both directors establish the opening sequence of Lord of the Flies differently. The two film versions, as well as the book, have very effective openings. Golding wanted to show people how a group of boys would act when deserted on an uninhabited island. The opening sequence of Peter Brook"s version is very effective. This is due to the stills of the boys" home.

    It starts with a still of the school building and the camera closing in on it. We can"t tell it is a school until the bell tolls signalling the beginning of the school day and the banter of the classroom are heard. This is blended in as the tolling of the bell fades. The next still is of a group of children in a classroom after the still of the school has dissolved. This creates a good effect as one picture dissolves yet the sequence doesn"t stop, as another picture is backing it up. The sound effects also dissolve, as when one fades, another starts creating the same effect as the stills.

    It is also effective because the sound effect corresponds with the picture even though it is a still and the camera isn"t rolling film. The sound effect in this still is of a teacher teaching his class Latin. This still then dissolves along with the sound effect to reveal the whole school in the dining hall. The sound effect is of cutlery clashing together and upbeat chat with a few of the children laughing. The next still is of the choir stall and the sound effect is of them singing. The camera pans down the stall.

    The audience get an inclination that the choir members are featured in the film. When the camera reaches the end of the stall, the credits appear on screen. This is when the film title appears on the screen and as it appears, the song by the choir finishes at a climax. The title is arranged in capital and small letters, for example, LORD of the FLIES. This emphasises the main words in the title and it stands out more. When the screen fades to black, more stills are involved in the opening sequence with a man sat in a deck chair watching a cricket match.

    The sound effects in this set of stills don"t correspond to the pictures. In this still, the sound effects involved carry on all the way until the end of this sequence. There is a gentle drumbeat that keeps the audience in suspense as they feel that something is about to happen. The camera then switches to missiles; this shows the contrast between civilisation and evil. In this case the evil is representing war as the novel is set in the era of the Second World War. The drumbeat constantly increases along with the tension in the audience.

    The next still is of warplanes flying past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Instead of the stills dissolving, the director uses simple cuts to change from one still to the next. The next still is of the boys from the school arranged in a group with an evacuation schedule behind them. This still adds to the story made in the audience"s heads and gives them more information as to what is happening so far. At the same time, the camera closes in on a young boy who is holding a picture of an aeroplane; this shows that the evacuates are being moved to presumably a different country.

    The following still is of the plane in the sky showing that the group of boys are on their way to safety, or so the audience thinks. The next still is of the sky. This is significant because at the moment all is calm, then terror strikes. This happens later in the film, as at the beginning all is calm, and then all of a sudden a group of boys break free from the group causing great terror. A map of the world is then shown with the drumbeat constantly getting tenser and more rapid. The map shows the destination in which the boys are heading.

    As the drumbeat reaches a climax, the stills are exchanging between the plane wing and a fighter plane quickly. All of a sudden, to the audience"s probable assumptions, there is an explosion leaving a still of the plane in the sea with a desert island behind it. The screen then fades to black, leading to the first dialogue of the film between Ralph and Piggy. However, the coloured version starts with a blue background, and to the audience"s surprise, a man sinks down the screen. This shows them that the accident must have already occurred.

    The camera in this scene is rolling. The camera then moves to below the boy creating a low angle shot; this could be from the point of view of a shark or a fish. The camera is panning around the boys" legs and going round in circles to add effect, as the boys are trying to stay afloat. As the start is set underwater, it entices the viewer to ask questions about the start, for example, what has happened? Because of this, the viewer wants to keep watching to find out what has happened. The boy drags the pilot above the water and the camera follows him.

    The audience now has a view of the water from the boy"s point of view and we can see that an accident has happened. There is a lot of hubbub and chaos above the water coming from a group of boys scattered in the ocean, with one of them saying, "I can"t swim. " This confirms that an incident has occurred, as it is highly unusual for a boy to be in the middle of the ocean when he can"t swim. The sound effect used in this scene consists of eerie music and the chaos and screams coming from the group of boys in the water.

    All of a sudden, we are shocked when a dinghy suddenly inflates coming to the aid of the boys. For a moment the audience thinks it is a shark or whale. The screen goes to black and the title then comes on the screen leaving the viewers in suspense, as they want to find out exactly what is going to happen to the boys and if they are going to survive. The music being played is very high tempo and like panpipes, which shows a sense of determination. While this opening music is being played, it gives time for the viewers to imagine what will happen and give them a chance to think what they would like to happen.

    After the black screen has dissolved, there is an extreme long shot of the island to show us where the boys are heading in their dinghy. The next camera shot is a long shot of the boys coming into shore onto this island. The music is tranquil giving a sense of safety yet sadness for the boys. They land on the island in a cove, meaning the land surrounds them bar a tiny gap. The cove is used by Harry Hook to show no escape, entrapment and enclosure due to the size of the dinghy compared with the size of the vegetation. We then get a long shot of the boys getting out of their dinghy.

    This shows us the amount of boys involved in the accident and how many have survived. The differences between the two opening sequences are that Peter Brook shows the accident in the black and white version yet it isn’t a feature in Hook’s modern, colour version. It happened straight away. In my opinion, the opening to Brook’s version was most effective because of the still scenes of back home where the boys originated. The crash was shown in this version, however in Hook’s, the film started after the accident had occurred.

    We know what has happened in Brook’s version whereas we don’t in Hook’s so we have to watch more of the film to find out, which is a clever technique used by the director to entice the viewer into watching more of the film. Peter Brook does not show the arrival onto the island by the boys, as when the last still is shown, it dissolves. This is the point we come across the main character, Ralph, played by James Aubrey. We assume he is the main character, as he is the first person we see in the film. Ralph is stumbling through the forest trying to find civilisation.

    We hear a voice saying, “Wait for me! ” A small round boy follows Ralph through the forest. From what he says, he seems to be an intellectual, well-educated boy. The camera shots are medium shots, as they help us to get a good view of the character’s features for later in the film. Piggy is a polite young boy and asks Ralph for his name. In return, Piggy tells Ralph his name, to which Ralph finds extremely amusing. At the same time, the boys are about to go for a swim. Ralph swims in the sea and the scene fades away to black. The next scene is a medium shot of Piggy approaching the sea.

    Then he bends down to pick something up that he has spotted in the sea. The camera closes up to the object. Piggy has found a conch, which is a large shell. He is very talkative and tells Ralph about his findings, explaining that when you blow it, a noise is made like a trumpet. At first there is a medium shot of Ralph and Piggy with Ralph blowing the conch. Ralph’s first attempt results in a rasping noise to which the two find hilarious. However, Ralph starts to get the hang of it. The conch becomes an important figure in the film, as it symbolises authority.

    The conch is sounding like a trumpet now, so the camera shot is very long of Ralph blowing the conch. The noise and power of the conch shows its sheer strength. We then see some boys scurrying across the beach to assemble with Ralph and Piggy. Although the boys are not back home in England, they still have a sense of discipline and call the others to make a survival plan. In Harry Hook"s version, the boys arrive on the island together in their dinghy. The camera pans across the island and up the mountain to show its sheer size.

    This shot is from a boy"s point of view as he explores the island for the first time to see exactly where they are and if civilisation can be spotted. We get close-ups of the boys" faces to show their reaction to the events that have happened. The first close up, however, is of Ralph. This, again, shows us the main character straight away in the film so we know who to look out for. Ralph is the first person to walk up the beach; this shows that Ralph has leadership and authority amongst the people in the group. The sound effect to the boys arriving on the island is like a choir.

    This shows a sense of loneliness and sadness, as the music isn"t really upbeat. There is a close up of the birds flying away from the trees which shows the audience that they can leave at any time because they have got wings to fly, but the boys haven"t so are stranded on the island until help is found. The next shot is a medium shot of the boys gathering round a glow stick being lit up by Ralph; this shows that they trust him. Ralph seems to be clever, as the younger members of the group look up to him. He is like a leader because he gives them light, not only through the glow stick.

    There is a small boy sat to Jack. This shows the comparison in size and that he could be an authoritative figure later on, as he is. The younger kids call him "sir" because they fear him; they want to keep in his good books. This is the authority and respect that Jack expects. There is a long shot of the moon being that it is night. The moon is full which represents mystery. The boys are naturally scared, as it is their first night alone in the forest without an adult and without water. The boys are finally asleep and the camera pans across them.

    However, Simon is the only boy still awake. He looks to be in some sort of trance. In the morning, Simon explores the jungle and finds water. He refers to Ralph as "sir". He tells Ralph the good news. The simple cut is to the lake where the boys are racing to have some water, which Simon had previously discovered. After the boys have had some water, there is a medium shot of Piggy finding the conch in the water. He shows it to Ralph and he blows it, calling an assembly to sort out the procedures whilst they are on the island.

    In Peter Brook"s version, Piggy is being his polite, usual self and asking people for their names as they arrive onto the beach. This doesn"t just benefit Ralph and Piggy, but it also benefits the audience as we learn who the boys are and what they look like. To the viewer"s surprise, they can hear the same song they heard at the beginning of the film in the opening sequence by the choir. There is a long shot of a group of boys dressed in black walking down the beach. They stand out due to the contrast between the sand and their clothes. The sand is light and their clothes are all black.

    All the boys stop talking and watch the choir join into the assembly. Jack tells the choir to halt. We can tell that he is going to be a commanding figure in the story because of his stern voice and his sense of discipline. This is confirmed by a low angle shot of Jack; showing he is powerful and he is looked up to. Simon is a boy who fainted when the boys came to the group. Jack makes accusations that he is faking and is not really bothered about the welfare of Simon. Piggy asks them what their names are. The camera pans along the line of boys, each one telling the audience their name.

    The fact that they are arranged in a line emphasises their sense of organisation. Ralph tells the whole group Piggy"s name when he told him not to. The camera closes in on the reactions of the boys to show the embarrassment of his nickname. Piggy stands next to a tree and the branch is the barrier between him and the boys, which offers him some protection from them when they are mocking him. The boys see him as an outsider because of his weight. No one feels sorry for Piggy, which makes it harder for him because there is no one to comfort him.

    The camera then cuts to Jack and Ralph side-by-side in the debate for chief of the group. Ralph is seen as the underdog because he is portrayed as being smaller by the camera, and Jack is stood slightly in front of him so it looks as if he is edging Ralph out. However, at the same time, Piggy is still behind the tree showing he is isolated and that his opinion isn"t valued. When Ralph is up for chief, he is stood on a branch, which shows that he is higher up making him a more popular choice by the boys for leader because they are looking up at him.

    There is a close up of Piggy voting for Ralph because he is in two minds of putting his hand up, as he is afraid the group won"t value his opinion. Jack has a disgusted look on his face when not all of the boys in the group vote for him to be leader. Piggy comes out from behind the tree because he wants to be involved. Jack has a look on his face as if he is taking a mental note of who votes for Ralph so that he can get even with them later on in the story. Ralph steps down from the tree when he is voted as leader, which shows that he is really as powerful as Jack, and is now at an equal height to him.

    There is a high angle shot of the boys when they mock him and his choir for their uniforms. This cuts to a low angle shot of Jack who sticks his dagger into the tree. This is seen by the boys as a threat and so ceases their mocking. This shows the audience that Jack still has power over the boys even thought he hasn"t been chosen as leader by the rest of the group. Ralph chooses two others to go with him to explore the island. Piggy is upset when he isn"t chosen. The camera pans around the group of boys who wish to be chosen showing how many people have respect for Ralph and want to be his friend.

    Jack and Simon are the two he chooses. Piggy has words with Ralph after he had told the group he was called Piggy. Ralph replies, "Better Piggy than Fatty. " At the same time Ralph is stern but considerate and in a way Piggy admires him for it. When Piggy makes his confrontation, it forces Ralph to back-pedal, which shows Piggy in control. The next cut is of Ralph running to catch Jack and Simon up leaving a long shot of the coastline on the island. The race for chief in Hook"s version, however, is fairly different to that of Peter Brook"s.

    When the boys assemble, there is only Jack that isn"t dressed properly. The uniform worn by the cadets symbolises civilisation, as when we get further into the story, it is Jack that breaks the civilisation on the island by rebelling against Ralph, the chief. He is the only one in the group who isn"t dressed properly, which means he could be rebelling against civilisation. The boys are hunting in the forest when the conch is heard. The pig gets away which leaves Jack startled and shocked. We get a good view of his reaction due to the close up by the camera.

    The boys run to Ralph and the sound of the conch, which makes them look eager to find out what the sound could be, for example, the horn from a ship. The group of boys look to be well disciplined and orderly because they are used to hearing a noise and then reacting straight away due to them being from a military school. There is then a close up of Ralph with the conch showing their connection with each other. Still, only Jack is the one without a shirt on. Ralph tells the boys that they need rules and Piggy backs this point up.

    A younger member of the group suggests a leader. The group votes for Ralph as he is the higher ranked of him and Jack and the group believe he is an inspired leader. All of the group come together to build a camp and there are close-ups to show the hard graft and determination of the boys. There is also a long shot of Jack being held up which shows he is seen as a cut above the rest. Piggy isn"t helping the boys, which makes him look like an outsider. The camera confirms this as it uses a high angle shot, making Piggy look small and helpless.

    In my opinion, I think that the black and white version of Lord of the Flies has a more effective opening, even thought it was set in an era where technology wasn"t that advanced. I think it showed a clear interpretation of what had happened in the opening sequence with just the stills. It told the audience exactly what had happened in a series of pictures. Harry Hook"s version is also impressive, however, Brooks" stands out more. I think the key points are shown more clearly, for example, the contrast between the sizes of Jack and Ralph when they"re put forward to the vote for chief.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Analyse the openings of the two film versions of “Lord of the Flies” Essay. (2018, Apr 30). Retrieved from

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