The Lords of Discipline (1983)
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This is the story of four young men at Carolina Military Institute, a fictional military academy located in South Carolina, which is of course a pseudonym for The Citadel, which is a fine military academy that really does exist. The film is set in the 1960s. The first black cadet (first year cadets are called "knobs" at the Institute) has just arrived. A secret society within the Institute, known as "The Ten" has pledged that no black will ever graduate from the Institute, regardless of ability.
David Keith turns in his customary excellent performance as the black cadet's designated mentor. The plot moves at a fast pace, but nevertheless does not feel rushed. Purists have criticized the fact that the film leaves out many sub-plots contained in the novel. I feel that the movie made the right choices about what to keep and what to delete, and of course these choices had to be made unless this was to be a 12 hour miniseries.
I liked the script, the acting, and the ending. This is a wonderful film. It is the type of film that most viewers will watch periodically over the years, and I am delighted that it will shortly be available on DVD.
Can any one tell the studio that we need it on DVD right now in 2005 and not by 2010.
Will McClean is in his senior year at the Carolina Military Institute in 1964 in the Deep South. For the first time in the institute's history, they're going to admit a black cadet and this at a time when racial issues are still readily evident. Will is directed by his chain of command to protect this individual and track his progress. What is not known right away is information about a secret society within the institute known as `The 10'. This group recruits the best cadets from within the ranks but prey on the weak and unfortunate who they decide are not worthy of remaining in the institute. And they use whatever methods they deem necessary to force out the undesirables.
As the year progresses, disturbing events begin to happen and Will learns new information about `The 10' regarding just how powerful and influential they are. So much so that it may seriously jeopardize his relationship with his roommates and his career. Forced to question his beliefs in an honorable military system and compelled to make the right decisions no matter the cost, he risks everything in a dramatic and exciting showdown with `The 10'. This leads to a nice conclusion to the movie.
If you have or haven't read the book that this movie is based on, it's really not that bad in and of itself. There are a few weak points now and again but the cast is good, the story holds together, and the acting is pretty solid. Just don't go into watching this while comparing everything to the book because that'll be a let down. I know because I watched it again after reading the book. With that in mind, I recommend this movie to everyone.
The performances are what make this really worthwhile - Michael Beihn stands out in a pre-terminator performance - and the direction is solid.
Just one question ... WHY A 2010 RELEASE DATE??? ... let's hope this gets pushed forward!
But things had to go, and rather than treat them badly, I have no resentment for what they left out. The movie does concentrate on some important things however, and for awhile, does it well. We see the often cruel treatment upperclassmen give underclassmen, and can see the reasoning why this seems to be necessary. It is the overriding theme of the book, and shows the givers and takers of the harrassment very well.
It also does tackle one of the important subplots, which is the treatment of the first black recruit to the academy. The way the recruit was treated is shown in all of it's frightening detail. David Keith, as the assigned mentor to the recruit, does his job perfectly here by not showing too much sympathy.
But then it all crashes down by trying to come up with a clean, Hollywood, more upbeat ending. The worst sin is the handling of the Pignatello character to make it much less tragic. To leave out what happens after the court martial is to take away one of the dramatic points of the story. With that said, the ending was also much too neat. The way it is handled fails to illustrate the parallel love-hate relationship the main character has with the academy.
This was far too personal a story to be glossed over like this, and I wish Pat Conroy had had more pull to get it done right. He should have chosen the Larry McMurtry route and got the story filmed as a mini-series.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great movie. Glad i have it in my collection. This one won't gather dust.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
It was in perfect condition. I had not seen it in over 20 years and still like I remembered it. Going to a military elementary school as a kid, I love all of these types of movie.Published 1 month ago by Hans kaseman