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  1. #21
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    A Clockwork Orange isn't a film I've most comfortably watched, but I do enjoy it, with one exception. I always cringe at the video sequence when Malcolm McDowell's eyes are wired open and he is forced to look at the screen. I wish that scene had been cut. I know it was crucial to the story but I hate it! I'm very squeamish with eyes.



    wellendcanons.
    I'm in complete agreement there. It's terrible and I can't watch it either.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Country: UK charliekane's Avatar
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    For the benefit of those too young to have seen this film when it opened at the Warner West End on 13 January 1972, it's worth emphasising the massive hype and controversy that accompanied it. Two other contemporary movies - Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs and Ken Russell's The Devils had already lit the fuse and calls for the British censor to be sacked ran almost daily in some of the newspapers. So borderline was A Clockwork Orange that the then Home Secretary, Reginald Maudling, asked to see it, leading some to fear a Government ban - mirroring, of course, the sort of society depicted in the film. I tried for some time without success to gain access to Maudling's papers as well as the Home Office, though this was way before the advent of the Freedom of Information Act. I sort of had a hunch that Kubrick was discreetly asked to dispense with the movie as quickly as feasible, which he did a year or two later after a rash of 'Clockwork Orange killings' and murderous threats to himself and his family. The debate surrounding the movie lasted for years. Tony Parsons's C4 documentary, Forbidden Fruit, charted all this brilliantly.


    So far as I know Kubrick was never under any pressure from anyone else to withdraw the film, but did so himself due, as you say, to some rather unpleasant letters and threats which may or may not have been genuine. Not sure that there was really a 'rash of Clockwork Orange killings' - as I recall there was one such reported incident, which couldn't altogether be linked to the film and whiffed a little of tabloid journalism.

  3. #23
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    Charliekane, I seem to remember there was a killing of a tramp, maybe I'm wrong ? There was most definitely some serious Clockwork Orange influenced beatings dished out in East London and out to Essex. Would the thugs that carried them have out done it anyway ? Probably, remember Kubrick incorporated the Skinhead phenomenon, a contemporary influence then, as were the Teddy Boys to Burgess.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Country: England zettel45's Avatar
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    So far as I know Kubrick was never under any pressure from anyone else to withdraw the film, but did so himself due, as you say, to some rather unpleasant letters and threats which may or may not have been genuine. Not sure that there was really a 'rash of Clockwork Orange killings' - as I recall there was one such reported incident, which couldn't altogether be linked to the film and whiffed a little of tabloid journalism.
    Yes. My understanding is that there was no "pressure", but, after threatening letters, etc, he did recieve advice from the police saying it would be wise to withdraw the film.



    Mind you, that's strange advice from the police, isn't it? Can't imagine it happening today.

  5. #25
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    A Clockwork Orange is a very raw and powerful film, but very uneven too. Alex's speeded-up orgy with the two teenaged girls (or was it just rape?), set to the William Tell theme tune, just reeked of Benny Hill. The director Stanley Kubrick was already living in England at the time, so he had probably seen Benny Hill. Later in the film, the dialogue between Miriam Karlin, the "cat lady", and Alex, is just abominable. I could have written better myself. Apart from that, a superb film, and Malcom McDowell projects a very menacing and subversive air as Alex. He is a good comic actor too, and there are moments where this comes across in the film.

    I remember my headmaster denouncing this film in school assembly when it was on release: "This [blank] film, 'A Clockwork Orange' ", he fulminated. Unfortunately I can't remember the adjective he used to describe it: maybe "disgraceful" or "degenerate", something like that.

    McDowell also starred in another cult film, "If...", in 1968, and Kubrick hired him for the Clockwork Orange part on the basis of his performance in that film. Talking of cult films, the actor who appears as Alex's social worker in Orange also plays a bit part in "The Wicker Man", as the bumpkin tending the graveyard. How many actors get to play in more than one cult film, I wonder?

    Does anyone remember the skit that The Goodies did on one of the scenes in Orange? McDowell later starred in the remake Cat People - perhaps not a cult film, but it deserves to be, I think.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain hhhhancock's Avatar
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    I saw A Clockwork Orange on it's first showing in a cinema in the West End (of London) when it was first released and was so impressed I took friends to see it on another 3 occasions that week. I was disgusted when The French Connection won the Oscar for that year instead of ACO. Not only the film excited me but the accompanying music which opened up the world of classical music to me, for which I will always be grateful.
    However time has diminished the impact and I don't think it is quite the masterpiece I first thought, it doesn't quite stand the test of time like a Hitchcock or a Powell & Pressburger film does.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by hhhhancock View Post
    Not only the film excited me but the accompanying music which opened up the world of classical music to me
    Before seeing that film, my friends and I were into the "heavy" and "progressive" music of the time, and scorned any music with orchestra in it, which to us meant Mantovani (groan!) or middle-of-the-road pop music with light orchestra in it. However, I too was blown away by the electronic renditions of "Ode to Joy", etc., as performed by Walter Carlos. Mr Carlos later had a gender reassignment and is now Wendy Carlos. The Moog synthesiser used on the sound track now sounds rather dated, but I still play it, and in particular Wendy's album "The Well-Tempered Synthesiser". It's amazing to think that in those days synthesisers were not polyphonic and could not produce chords unitl the late 1970s, therefore Wendy/Walter had painstakingly to reproduce chords in the recording studio. Full marks to that lady!

  8. #28
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    A Clockwork Orange: The droog rides again

    A Clockwork Orange was released 40 years ago � but has Kubrick's film lost its power to shock? As it screens at Cannes, Steve Rose looks at how it went from infamy to pop-culture respectability

    Steve Rose
    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 11 May 2011 21.30 BST

    It was the moment, perhaps, when A Clockwork Orange ceased to be dangerous. In Cardiff in April 2002, halfway through the first night of her world tour, after a blast of Beethoven's Ninth, Kylie Minogue pranced on stage � in a black bowler hat and a white jumpsuit. She then launched into Spinning Around, surrounded by dancers dressed as truncheon-swinging droogs in red codpieces.

    Minogue was by no means the first to borrow A Clockwork Orange's iconography over the past 40 years. In live music alone, such a list would include David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, countless punk bands, Madonna, Megadeth and Sepultura, as well as Blur, Usher and Lady Gaga, who, in her live shows last year, made her entrance to the film's theme music. And with each new appropriation, it gets that little bit harder to remember what all the fuss was about in the first place.

    In this country at least, A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick's stylised sci-fi tale of a delinquent gangleader's sadistic crimes (and the state's equally sadistic rehabilitation of him), always benefited from an extra aura of mystique � for having generated moral panic on its release in 1971, and for being withdrawn from circulation by its director in 1974. Until Kubrick's death in 1999, just about the only way you could see it in Britain was on an illicit third-generation video copy, which added a frisson of danger but made for a fuzzy, muffled watch. This week, to mark its 40th anniversary, a newly restored version will be unveiled at Cannes, and released shortly after on Blu-ray. So the film's journey into mainstream respectability, and availability, is finally complete.

    About time, too, says its star Malcolm McDowell. "When we made the film 40 years ago, we made it as a comedy, albeit a very black one. There was a lot of humour, but when it came out, because it was so startling and shocking, people just sat there dead silent. At the end, they didn't move out of their seats. Of course, I know it has a lot of violence and stuff, but it's more psychological than ketchup on the screen. Now audiences take it how we meant it. They really have a good time and laugh. They have caught up with it."

    The making of A Clockwork Orange, including McDowell's punishing experience of working under Kubrick, is now the stuff of legend. In the second half of the movie, McDowell's character Alex receives just about every punishment that he has dished out in the first. This made for a shoot characterised by beatings, bruisings, near-drownings and extreme torture in the name of the notorious "Ludovico treatment", during which McDowell's eyes were held wide-open by clamps.

    The fact that Kubrick never really knew what he was after until he found it meant that each traumatic scene had to be enacted again and again, a technique that infuriated many of his actors. "I was subjected to physical abuse," laughs McDowell. "But I understood. I thought, 'Here I am playing one of the greatest parts I'm probably ever going to play. A little pain now, a little gain later on.'"

    Humour was the essence of his relationship with Kubrick. "The blacker the joke, the more he'd roll about laughing. He was always looking in every scene for 'the magic'. I'd say, 'Have we found any magic yet?' And he'd say, 'No.' And I'd say, 'Go off to the bathroom, Stan. Whenever you go to the bathroom, you always have some idea.' I think he would just pause while having a pee and go, 'Ah!' And he'd come running back and go, 'Right. Now put the camera over here.' It used to be a standing joke."

    At the time, cheap, youth-oriented movies like Easy Rider were making the older generation look square, as well as turning a handsome profit. So when his beloved Napoleon project fell through, the 40-year-old Kubrick set about making his own youth movie, closer to Easy Rider's methods than those of his labour-intensive 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was mostly location shoots, a relatively small budget, and no script beyond Anthony Burgess's novel, which they would work through almost page by page on set. It was the fastest, cheapest film he would ever make.

    Kubrick was never exactly down with the kids, though. While he was happy to film Alex and his droogs joyriding through the night, as a driver Kubrick was, says McDowell, "so careful, he was dangerous". McDowell remembers once giving him a lift home: "I had a little MGB. I gunned it, and Stanley was absolutely terrified. I was going, 'This is a fantastic car! I love this car!' Revving it up and flying around corners. The more I did it, the more terrified he was, so the more I did it, just to get my own back. He was, like, 'Never again.'"

    There may have come a point at which Kubrick stopped identifying with Alex and started identifying with Mr Alexander, the intellectual whose home is invaded by Alex's gang, and whose wife is raped by Alex to the tune of Singin' in the Rain. The media storm thrown up by A Clockwork Orange certainly took Kubrick by surprise. It was released into an already-simmering debate over censorship, sex and violence, following Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs and Ken Russell's The Devils.

    Between Mary Whitehouse, the home secretary Reginald Maudling and Christian pressure groups, the film was besieged. "He felt maligned," says Kubrick's widow, Christiane. "He felt that it was unfair to suddenly blame every crime on him. He did not feel guilty. He felt frightened. He didn't like the sudden storm. Who would?"

    Jan Harlan, Kubrick's brother-in-law and his producer from A Clockwork Orange on, says: "His big mistake is that he never talked back to the press. Nonsense was written, but his attitude was, 'Don't talk to them or you'll never get rid of them.' He could have avoided all that by being a bit more accessible, but he just hated it." McDowell and Burgess found themselves defending the film on Kubrick's behalf. "We had to circle the wagons," says McDowell.

    Kubrick's stance changed, though, when two police officers came to see him at his Hertfordshire home. "I'd had my head firmly in the sand," says Christiane. "But I woke up at that point. The police said this was now beyond normal, and we had to do something. We had people standing in front of our house; our children were being approached; wherever I went people would come up to me. I don't think we even knew how famous he really was at that point. The noose was closing on us, so we did get frightened." Having fought against the film's censorship, Kubrick then effectively censored it himself, quietly withdrawing it in early 1974. "Stanley felt stupid," says Christiane, "but relieved."

    Kubrick's suppression of the film could be seen as a defeat at the hands of the moral brigade, but the American director, says McDowell, did not want to give up his life in England. "He was an Anglophile. He'd lived in the UK since making Lolita [in 1962], and he certainly wasn't going back to live in New York or LA." McDowell, by contrast, relocated to the US shortly after the movie, where he has been recognised on the street ever since, primarily on the strength of A Clockwork Orange.

    Beyond the UK, the movie has never been out of currency, particularly in the US, and particularly among the young. Its sci-fi stylings have aged remarkably well, and its almost abstract portrayal of out-of-control youth and paternalistic society have made it something of a teenage rite of passage, the movie equivalent of The Catcher in the Rye. Remarkably, it has been a style guide for pretty much every subsequent musical genre: punk, metal, emo, hip-hop, Britpop. Minogue's homage was entitled Droogie Nights. On the big screen, meanwhile, every time you see a gang walking along in slow-motion, a speeded-up party scene, a slow pan out from a closeup of a face, a torture scene set to cheerful music, the chances are it was plundered from Kubrick's original.

    So is there any danger left? The movie's sex and violence looks quaint compared with today's offerings (not to mention Burgess's original book), but its power always came from more than simple explicit shock. The rapes and beatings are "presented" to us in stylised form throughout � on stages, on cinema screens, accompanied by song and dance, and in unsettling, contradictory combinations of high art and low violence. Singin' in the Rain mixes with modernist interiors and sexual violence; Beethoven plays over Nazi propaganda; we hear Rossini while a murder is committed using pop art. It's as if Kubrick is messing with the power of culture to morally "improve" society, just as he denied the film's own power to degrade it. "Hitler loved good music," he once told an interviewer, "and many top Nazis were cultured and sophisticated men, but it didn't do them, or anyone else, much good."

    As with most Kubrick films, the movie still poses big questions � about power, the curtailment of civil liberties in the name of social order, personal freedom and morality. "I think it's still a perfect parable about evil," says Christiane. "Evil that's not hampered by the slightest conscience. And it seems to me that Alex lives in a microcosm of our world. His parents are revolting in their weakness and stupidity, and the police, the doctors, the church, the social worker, the intellectual victims � all the people that surround him are really western society as we are now. The youth are opting out of politics. They're just watching vampire movies. And the rest of us are like Alex's parents, whingeing and whimpering."

    Kubrick once said: "One of the conclusions of the film is that there are limits to which society should go in maintaining law and order. Society should not do the wrong thing for the right reason, even though it frequently does the right thing for the wrong reason."

    When it came to the future of humanity, Kubrick was never much of an optimist.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Country: UK Brett Sinclair's Avatar
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    I put it to you that Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange is akin to Warhol's Campbells Tomato Soup.
    Not everyone's cup of tea, not a classical work of art, but it got tongues wagging at the time and is now entrenched as a pop art classic. ACO has its own place in cinematic history for portraying an element of society that was broken and the attempts to repair it. It's more than just a cult film. A portent of things to come? Indeed are we that removed from the drug induced violence of the film today?
    I saw it in Switzerland (V.O) in 1988 aged 26 (too young at release) and although cinema had advanced in leaps and bounds since 1971 (certainly in terms of film classification), I was still very aware of the social issues being addressed.

    Moloko anyone?
    Last edited by Nick Dando; 13-10-11 at 06:43 PM.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Country: UK Paul Waines's Avatar
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    Sorry Guy's I'm a big fan of Clockwork Orange, and enjoy the films many levels. As said the soundtrack is first rate, lots of Ludwig Van, And Rossini's Thieving Magpie certainly go well with the film. Malcolm McDowell gives a first rate performance as our friend and humble narrator.
    The film at the time pushed certain boundaries, but it is tame by modern standards. I do think (dare I say) Class and upbringing have an influence on how we perceive the film back then, and even today. Which says a lot for me... mind I turned out fine. That's all from me I'm off for a bit of the old in out in out on some weepy young devotchka...

  11. #31
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    I remember very vividly being a 13 year old and this sat in my uncle's cupboard and I was fascinated by the case cover. Of course at the time it was banned which hightened my curiosity further so he told me to go watch it but not to tell my mother!!! I loved it but was rather disturbed at the same time as it had some very adult themes and the style, language and imagery was unlike anything I had seen before (my best mate was horrified lol) and so started a long love affair with films.

  12. #32
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain Odeon68's Avatar
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    I think this is one of the most disturbing films ever made, even after watching it dozens of times. Growing up in the UK, you could only see stills lifted direct from the movie, and they promised a nightmarish visual ordeal, which played on the imagination, and the bowler-hatted Alex, with his smirking, 'direct-to-camera' psychotic leer, marked him out as one of the most potent villains in cinematic history. The fact it was set in the then-future [I assume we are now well past the near-future depicted in 1971] added to the ambiguous events, unseen for many who were too young to enter a cinemA and watch an 'X' film over 1972-3.

    The first part of the movie is what most viewers remember: a fast-moving, anarchic chain of events that repulse and excite. After Alex is imprisoned, all semblance of the 'future' evaporates into nothingness, with all-too-obvious real locations looking more like a documentary from the time in comparison to the alienating Korova Milkbar set and outlandish dress code adopted by Alex and his droogs.


    As others on here have noted, the film shifts gear after the 45-minute mark, and becomes something of a snooze-fest, at least in comparison to the events depicted early on.Fantastic use of rousing music throughout : however the treatment of women in this film is questionable and exploitative. Sometimes I skip past the Adrienne Corri stripping scene: it's pretty disturbing stuff.

    The 'actors' who strip the girl naked on a stage near the beginning appear to be professional stuntmen who do a sterling job in the following gang-fight sequence. Only the leader Richard Connaught [the leader] is identified in the credits.

    I somewhat comically remember a guy at school declaring this film was a 'Double X', in all seriousness!

  13. #33
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    I went last week (and the week before) to Elstree/Borehamwood to see some locations they shot for A Clockwork Orange (amongst others ) and saw the Edgwarebury Hotel where they filmed the scene where Alex throws himself out of the window plus also saw the Stanley Kubrick plaque outside the flat.

  14. #34
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain Odeon68's Avatar
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    yes, I think they simply chucked a running camera out a window a few times to get that POV effect, Amethyst! Remarkably, only the camera lenses got damaged..........

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odeon68 View Post
    yes, I think they simply chucked a running camera out a window a few times to get that POV effect, Amethyst! Remarkably, only the camera lenses got damaged..........
    Do you know if they used a stuntman that actually came out of that hotel window or did they use a second stage set at Elstree for the stunt to go ahead ?

  16. #36
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain Odeon68's Avatar
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    I can't say for sure, Amethyst; I assume it's a stuntman at the same location. However, whoever achieved this rotating-in-mid-air stunt gets my vote for one of the most convincing 'doubles' ever commited to celluloid, inasmuch as it actually looks like Mc Dowell himself acting out the stunt shot ...it's not, of course. As you suggest, the stunt shot could have been filmed anywhere, however the Billyboy rape gang near the start seem to be professional stuntmen, and their workouts were recorded at the same location [Tagg's Island, London, just before the stage set got demolished].

  17. #37
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    A Clockwork Orange is one of the favorite films!

  18. #38
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain Odeon68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icetorch View Post
    A Clockwork Orange is a very raw and powerful film, but very uneven too. Alex's speeded-up orgy with the two teenaged girls (or was it just rape?), set to the William Tell theme tune, just reeked of Benny Hill. The director Stanley Kubrick was already living in England at the time, so he had probably seen Benny Hill. Later in the film, the dialogue between Miriam Karlin, the "cat lady", and Alex, is just abominable. I could have written better myself. Apart from that, a superb film, and Malcom McDowell projects a very menacing and subversive air as Alex. He is a good comic actor too, and there are moments where this comes across in the film.

    I remember my headmaster denouncing this film in school assembly when it was on release: "This [blank] film, 'A Clockwork Orange' ", he fulminated. Unfortunately I can't remember the adjective he used to describe it: maybe "disgraceful" or "degenerate", something like that.

    McDowell also starred in another cult film, "If...", in 1968, and Kubrick hired him for the Clockwork Orange part on the basis of his performance in that film. Talking of cult films, the actor who appears as Alex's social worker in Orange also plays a bit part in "The Wicker Man", as the bumpkin tending the graveyard. How many actors get to play in more than one cult film, I wonder?

    Does anyone remember the skit that The Goodies did on one of the scenes in Orange? McDowell later starred in the remake Cat People - perhaps not a cult film, but it deserves to be, I think.
    The Goodies episode that satirized A CLOCKWORK ORANGE was the Series 4 entry PLANET of the RABBITS, [1973] a particularly bizarre outing that depicted rabbits returning from the moon and infiltrating the UK. Tim and Bill done an extended speeded-up skit dubbed the TRANSISTORIZED CARROT, in which they sported outlandish 'bovver bunny' outfits, replete with rabbit teeth/ears, bowlers, braces etc......they wreak havoc in a motorcycle and sidecar at one point.







    above: even more strange than Alex and his droogs?
    Last edited by Odeon68; 19-11-12 at 09:45 AM.

  19. #39
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    Hi all,

    My first post, so apologies if this is out of turn!

    I was wondering if there were any Clockwork Orange fanatics/South London film enthusiasts on these boards?

    I am doing a university project discussing the film and the significance of the Thamesmead Estate as a setting.

    The key questions I would like some opinions on are as follows:

    1) Thamesmead crops up all over TV/Film (A Clockwork Orange, Misfits, Optimists of the Nine Elms). Why do you think Thamesmead is such an attraction for cinematographers?

    2) The estate was designed by the GLC with a utopic vision in mind. Kubrick depicts the opposite. Is this significant?

    3) 'A Clockwork Orange' is often described as a portrayal of a 'near-future British dystopia', do you feel an element of this rings true in Thamesmead?

    Thanks,
    Alex

  20. #40
    Super Moderator Country: Great Britain
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    To co-incide with a new exhibition about Kubrick at Somerset House.

    https://www.theguardian.com/artandde...-orange-poster

    Nick

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