Author Frank R. Stockton, often asked the question, finally decides to divulge the untold ending of his story, The Lady or the Tiger?. The story itself... In olden times, a barbaric king ... See full summary »
Author Frank R. Stockton, often asked the question, finally decides to divulge the untold ending of his story, The Lady or the Tiger?. The story itself... In olden times, a barbaric king often used the façade of being genial to lull his enemies into a false sense of security. If there was a criminal case that caught his fancy, he would bring the accused into an amphitheater which had two closed doors side by side, one of which he was to open. Behind one door would be a tiger which would maul him to death. Behind the other would be a lady suitable for marriage. Regardless of the accused's past or current situation, a funeral or wedding would then take place depending on which door he opened. The King loved his daughter, who was as cold hearted as him. She was in a clandestine romance with a young man. The King, upon learning this news, sentenced the man to the fate of the amphitheater. The Princess found out behind which door was the tiger and which was the fair damsel. In gesturing to... Written by
Hated the story, loved the film. Too bad no one will ever see it again.
I saw this film in an English class way back in Junior High. Even back then, my critical instincts told me I hated it because I thought the "you make up your own ending" stuff was a cop out.
To this day, I feel like if you write a story and if you can't make up your own ending, you shouldn't have started writing in the first place. But I understand in retrospect that this story is told to younger kids in order to develop their instincts in critical debate and analysis. Entire college classes are given over to spending weeks on end dissecting one story or novel; The lady or the tiger? is a good place to give younger students a starting off point into such things.
But the film, dear lord, the film! The story is told through narration, and is fashioned out of odd quasi-futuristic visuals that took this story from the era of knights and kings and stuff into the world of fascistic rulers. It kind of reminded me of what Julie Taymor did with her adaptation of Titus, or George Lucas' original student film version of THX 1138. The visuals and disquieting music all collide together to form a grim tone poem of sorts.
Considering the time this film was made, it's a pretty daring depiction of a simple story. But, then again, I just saw this story referenced on a Simpsons rerun (the one where Bart and his buddies sneak into Shelbyville), so maybe the story is more influential than I thought.
I don't know how or where this movie exists anymore. I'm sure it languishes deep in some educational film vault somewhere. In an era when just about anything warrants a DVD re release, I suppose it could see the light of day again on some kind of compilation. I wonder if I'll ever see it again.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?