|A crowd gathers for the lottery.|
As the name suggests, these movies were based on famous short stories, such as Herman Melville's Bartleby and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment. The best--and certainly the most popular in my high school--was a 19-minute adaptation of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery (1969).
|William Fawcett as Old Man Warner.|
What we don't learn until the climax is the "prize" for winning the lottery. I won't reveal the answer here for those unfamiliar with this film or Shirley Jackson's (The Haunting) 1948 short story. Let's just say The Lottery would have made a fine Twilight Zone episode if it could have cleared the censors.
Encyclopedia Britannica Films' The Lottery was written and directed by Larry Yust, who may be best known for his photographs today (see www.larryyust.com). Yust was a Stanford University graduate with a degree in theater arts. His father worked as an editor for Encyclopedia Briticannica.
|Olive Dunbar as Tessie.|
Over the the years, I've met quite a few people who saw The Lottery in school. They always remember the ending vividly. If you've never seen it, you can view it here on YouTube (the quality improves after the first two minutes). Just keep in mind that for a movie made for school literature classes, it's pretty potent.