Review: ‘The Lords of Discipline’

The Lords of Discipline laces a military school Watergate saga with heavy doses of sadism, racism and macho bullying. Designed as an expose of the corruption to be found within the hallowed walls of a venerable American institution, pic wants to have it both ways.

The Lords of Discipline laces a military school Watergate saga with heavy doses of sadism, racism and macho bullying. Designed as an expose of the corruption to be found within the hallowed walls of a venerable American institution, pic wants to have it both ways.

Set around 1964, drama follows cadet David Keith through his senior year at the Carolina Military Institute. Year in question is a notable one for the school because the first black cadet in its history has been enrolled.

As far as the new recruits are concerned, the poop hits the fan on ‘hell night’, which is just as bad as it sounds. With the full sanction of the faculty, upper classmen are permitted, even encouraged, to turn strong young men into oatmeal, running them through an evening of physical horrors under the guise of building character. One boy dies as a result, which leads outsider type Keith onto the existence of The Ten, a secret society to ferret out undesirables.

British director Franc Roddam had to wait over three years to make his American directorial debut and, ironically, ended up doing most of this film in Britain when no US school would allow lensing on its grounds.

The Lords of Discipline

Production

Paramount. Director Franc Roddam; Producer Herb Jaffe, Gabriel Katzka; Screenplay Thomas Pope, Lloyd Fonvielle; Camera Brian Tufano; Editor Michael Ellis; Music Howard Blake; Art Director John Graysmark

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 102 MIN.

With

David Keith Robert Prosky G.D. Spradlin Barbara Babcock Michael Biehn Rick Rossovich
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