Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 68
  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    9,605
    Liked
    151 times
    Film-makers on film: Richard E Grant

    (Filed: 03/06/2006)



    Richard E Grant talks to Marc Lee about Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971)



    You only have to watch Richard E Grant's hilarious and heartbreaking debut as a director to understand his admiration for A Clockwork Orange and its significance in his deeply troubled childhood.

    A Clockwork Orange

    A Clockwork Orange: 'very much forbidden fruit'



    Set in the colonial outpost of Swaziland at the turn of the 1970s, Wah-Wah is the story of his parents' marriage breakdown and his alcoholic father's subsequent death - events that occurred just as Swaziland was facing the challenges of independence (and the young Richard the challenges of adolescence). The film is, he says, a fictionalised version in which "everything is true".



    So the sequence in which the 14-year-old Ralph (ie Richard) blags his way in to see Stanley Kubrick's X-rated movie at the only cinema in the country - that's how it really happened?



    "Yes, absolutely," he says. "The cinema was our only contact with the world beyond Swaziland, so we'd go to see movies again and again. In the case of A Clockwork Orange - and later Last Tango in Paris - they played these films at 10pm for about two years for South African tourists who came over the border to see a banned movie and have sex across the colour line. So A Clockwork Orange was very much forbidden fruit, plus you had to be 18 to see it. But I got in by telling the cinema manageress that she looked like Elizabeth Taylor, although she was actually an extremely grotesque, toad-like version of her."



    In Wah-Wah, Grant cuts from this exchange to Ralph sitting in the stalls, transfixed by the now classic image of Kubrick's hero, Alex, staring malevolently out of the screen; then, in a startling dissolve, their two faces, in extreme close-up, start to blend. We later see Ralph wandering about at home wearing a single false eyelash just as Alex does.



    Kubrick's adaptation of Anthony Burgess's novel has always been attended by controversy. The film, set in a near-future dystopia, opens with scene after scene of "the old ultra-violence" as teenager Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his "droogs" beat up a drunken tramp, engage in a balletic battle with a rival gang, before breaking into a writer's home and raping his wife. Finally, Alex uses a giant phallus to murder an elderly woman.



    In the second half of the film, Alex, now serving a life sentence in prison, is the guinea pig in a dubious government experiment that attempts to cure him of his psychopathic urges with aversion therapy. Kubrick had second thoughts about the film after its release, and it was never seen again in this country until after his death in 1999.



    Alex is a charismatic figure but clearly evil, too - hardly a role model for a nice, middle-class boy living through the last of Empire under African skies.



    "Putting on that eyelash in a town as conservative as the one I grew up in was a fairly bold thing to do," says Grant. "It annoyed people. But I never went round beating up tramps. I suppose it was the feeling that Alex takes on the system. When you're an adolescent, you feel as though you've got to confront the world in some way."



    McDowell is electrifying as Alex, and though he has since played more than 100 other roles, he'll be remembered for A Clockwork Orange. "That's the problem with iconic performances," says Grant. "It's the same with Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia or Al Pacino in The Godfather. When you see them in something else, it is as if they are being traitorous to this perfect performance."



    Hasn't Grant had some experience of the phenomenon himself, with his first film as an actor, Withnail and I (1987)? "Yes, it absolutely defined me. And there are some people who are so obsessed with a particular role that they feel you are being traitorous if either you aren't that person for real, or your whole career hasn't been a succession of clones of that performance."



    Although Wah-Wah deals with a series of traumatic events in Grant's life (including the night his drunken father chased him through the garden, firing a gun at him), they are related with warmth for the people involved. The same was rarely true of Kubrick's treatment of his characters.



    "His cool, forensic analysis of how people are is the opposite of how I operate," says Grant. "And that coolness and lack of compassion are the very things that I found so disturbing. A Clockwork Orange seemed so different from every other film I'd ever seen in which things were clear-cut - there was a good guy and a bad guy. Also, my film is full of female characters; his tend not to be."



    Where women do feature in A Clockwork Orange, they are usually the victims of terrible violence. Which brings us to what Grant identifies as the most notorious scene in the film, the one in which Alex and his gang burst into a luxurious house and do unspeakable things to the couple who live there: "As they kick and rape and pillage, they're singing Gene Kelly's Singin' in the Rain, so it's funny and yet utterly brutal at the same time."



    And this is the film's biggest flaw, its ambiguity. Not that that troubled a certain 14-year-old growing up in colonial Swaziland: he had far more to worry about at home.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    44
    Liked
    0 times
    Hello,

    Does anybody have any information on the two girls in the record shop in A Clockwork Orange? The more famous girl was the blonde actress called Gillian Hills who was also a singer in the early 60's. The other girl Barbara Scott seems to have vanished off the face of the earth. Any info on what they are doing now or recent pics would be great!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: UK
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,386
    Liked
    7 times
    Gillian Hills had a major supporting role in Demons of the Mind for Hammer in the same year as A Clockwork Orange.



    But her greatest role is the title role in Beat Girl.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    44
    Liked
    0 times
    Gillian was very beautiful. She had lovely eyes. In Blow Up she was a brunette along with Jane Birkin but I preferred her as a blonde.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain Mark O's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    7,898
    Liked
    202 times
    Gillian also has a small speaking role as a shop girl in one of the early black & white episodes of Upstairs Downstairs, she serves Lady Marjorie and Lady Prudence who speaks to her like a servant and calls her 'girl', i've read somewhere (probably a thread on Britmovie) that Gillian is married to a rich husband and therefore has no need to work, though i'd be interested to see what she looks like today.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: Ireland fluddite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    379
    Liked
    0 times
    How many equally attractive Brit actorpersons of the 60s can also claim to have had a commercially successful recording career in French? Jane Birkin, I daresay. Gillian Hills was not only good in Beat Girl, Blow Up and Clockwork Orange - she was also outstanding as the focus for historic/mythic energies in the TV adaptation of Alan Garner's wonderful Owl Service - playing a convincing teenager at 25....

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    8,872
    Liked
    177 times
    Only just found this thread ...

    Gillian Hills had a major supporting role in Demons of the Mind for Hammer in the same year as A Clockwork Orange.



    But her greatest role is the title role in Beat Girl.
    Her greatest part IMHO was in The Owl Service, and she was indeed "outstanding", as fluddite said. An extraordinary programme!



    Gillian was very beautiful. She had lovely eyes. In Blow Up she was a brunette along with Jane Birkin but I preferred her as a blonde.
    As Alison in The Owl Service (1969), the only blonde role I've seen her in ...




    ... and looking moody and mysterious as 'The Brunette' in Blow Up (1966):




    Impossible for me to make a decision - she looks great in both pictures.



    I also remember her from a film called Inadmissable Evidence, where she was Nicol Williamson's secretary. He played a lawyer having some kind of breakdown and I recall a scene where he was fighting for breath by his office window, high above the street he was looking at. That late '80s screening on Channel 4 was the only time it was shown on TV I think. Though I did eventually see A Clockwork Orange, I can't recall Gillian at all. I didn't like the film anyway.



    Gillian also has a small speaking role as a shop girl in one of the early black & white episodes of Upstairs Downstairs
    You've surprised me there, Mark. I thought I'd seen all the black-and-white episodes - only the first four in the boxset, come to think of it - so will look out for her when I watch the episode. VERY SOON I HOPE!!! (I've been making very slow progress with this famous series, without knowing why)

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    44
    Liked
    0 times
    Gillian wasn't in A clockwork Orange for very long. We first see her sucking on an ice lolly that looks rather sugestive which leads Malcolm McDowell to comment on it inside the record shop scene that was the Chelsea Drugstore arcade which is no longer on the King's road. It is now a McDonalds. After the record shop Gillian and another actress called Barbara Scott have a high speed orgy in McDowell's bedroom set to the music of William Tell's overture.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: Scotland
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    1,158
    Liked
    0 times
    Gillian wasn't in A clockwork Orange for very long. We first see her sucking on an ice lolly that looks rather sugestive which leads Malcolm McDowell to comment on it inside the record shop scene that was the Chelsea Drugstore arcade which is no longer on the King's road. It is now a McDonalds. After the record shop Gillian and another actress called Barbara Scott have a high speed orgy in McDowell's bedroom set to the music of William Tell's overture.
    That's right but you can slow it down and watch the action








  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    44
    Liked
    0 times
    Ha,Ha! I heard somewhere that the orgy scene is something like twenty three minutes long in real time but appears to be only a minute or so long due to the fast forward style. A scene was shot showing the naked girls trying to sneak out of the flat but were caught by Alex's Father (Phillip Stone.) Kubrick had the footage destroyed but in the trailer there is a brief glimpse of his snake Basil slithering out of aAex's bedroom door that did not appear in the finished film and seems to be part of this deleted footage.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: England zettel45's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1,075
    Liked
    32 times
    Interesting that, in four years, not one person on this forum has jumped in to say "Yeah! A Clockwork Orange is a great film". Must admit, I can't say that either.



    I'm one of those who was too young to see it when it came out, so had to wait until the film was re-issued after Kubrick's death. (Actually, that's not true; I managed to get hold of an, erm, unofficial version as part of my on-going efforts to support organised crime.) The legend created by the film's unavailability probably made it inevitable that it would be slightly disappointing "in the flesh". And it also wasn't helped by the fact that, in its absence, I'd been led to read Burgess' novel several times as a sort of compensation. By comparison, I found the film a bit trite and simple-minded - for example, Burgess makes an interesting link between violence and art, whereas Kubrick goes for a far more "clunking" link between violence and sex. Over all, a bit of a botched job.



    Is this a common experience of the film? There must be some fans on this site - after all, at least it gave us one of the truly iconic Brit-flick images:




  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: UK wellendcanons's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    3,703
    Liked
    154 times
    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.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    3,295
    Liked
    13 times
    As I think I've posted on Britmovie before, I did see it when it came out and the teenage delinquent population was enthralled by Alex and the Droogs. Hardly any attention was paid (at the time by that element) to the flicks second half. It was love at first fight !

  14. #14
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain Mark O's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    7,898
    Liked
    202 times
    I like the soundtrack more than anything about this film, it's all very fitting to it's theme, and as you Zettel I forked out for a dodgy bootleg circa 1990, I only would of had to wait another nine years to see it properly! (or gone to Paris to watch it where it was constantly shown at some Cinema, I recall a documentary on TV about it's withdrawal in Britain)

  15. #15
    Senior Member Country: UK charliekane's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    529
    Liked
    5 times
    Fisrt saw this at the BFI at a solo screening, then again when it was reissued, and I can't say it's a favourite Kubrick movie. The first 20 minutes or so are relentlessly brutal, but much of the rest of it is extremely (over)wordy I think. Oddly enough, it looks more dated than 2001, despite being made later - the style and fashions firmly anchor it in the period.

    As for the story itself, I always found Burgess' 'Nadsat' to be thoroughly annoying in the book, and Kubrick thankfully toned this down in the movie - he also discarded the last chapter of course, which always seemed a bit of a cop-out by Burgess - a sort of 'don't worry son you'll grow out of it' to finish it off with.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    315
    Liked
    4 times
    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.

  17. #17
    GRAEME
    Guest
    Fisrt saw this at the BFI at a solo screening, then again when it was reissued, and I can't say it's a favourite Kubrick movie. The first 20 minutes or so are relentlessly brutal, but much of the rest of it is extremely (over)wordy I think. Oddly enough, it looks more dated than 2001, despite being made later - the style and fashions firmly anchor it in the period.

    As for the story itself, I always found Burgess' 'Nadsat' to be thoroughly annoying in the book, and Kubrick thankfully toned this down in the movie - he also discarded the last chapter of course, which always seemed a bit of a cop-out by Burgess - a sort of 'don't worry son you'll grow out of it' to finish it off with.
    I think the novella is rather brilliant and you soon get used to the Nadsat - which is funny and clever, and quite infectious. I was tolchocking my son round the old gulliver, just the other night.



    Far from being a "cop out" the ending of the original story is perfectly in keeping with Burgess' intensely human (if Catholic) world view: people have to have free-will to choose the right path (even though this does mean that some will choose the wrong one); and that the reason for eventually moving into a more conformist role is simply because of the passing of time and more mature interests on horizon is actually pretty accurate. Few delinquents stay like that forever.



    Burgess shows that redemption is available to all - even to little monsters - and it is found in things like babies and having a home of your own, normal things. It makes fascinating comparison with Greene's Brighton Rock, in which Pinky's war with God explicitly closes the door on such redemption - and means he must be destroyed. Alex chooses a different path.



    I rather think it is Kubrick's ending that is the cop out. A fashionably down beat ending in keeping with the times - almost a cliche.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Country: England zettel45's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1,075
    Liked
    32 times
    I like the soundtrack more than anything about this film, it's all very fitting to it's theme
    Fitting for Kubrick's theme, maybe, but actually the soundtrack is one of the ways the director ignores Burgess' original intent. In the book, Alex is authentically moved by Beethoven's soaring, passionate music. But the electronic versions in the film are pointedly passion-less - it's the sound of machines mocking humanity. All "clockwork" and no "orange", if you will.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,903
    Liked
    23 times
    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.
    I think maybe Adrian, that the Government thought that Warner Bros in particular had it in for them with three one after another!

  20. #20
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    3,295
    Liked
    13 times
    There's absolutely no question that the "ban" enhanced the film's reputation, maybe not as a work of cinema, but as a portrayal of the dark side of British youth culture.

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. A Clockwork Orange
    By kevinfl in forum Film Locations
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 09-07-11, 07:59 AM
  2. Clockwork Mice
    By Haggis Monster in forum Can You Name This Film
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 21-01-10, 09:19 PM
  3. Has anybody got any cinema memories of A Clockwork Orange and Str
    By Widescreen in forum Ask a Film Question
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 24-10-09, 02:19 PM
  4. Orange Niven Parky
    By Rag in forum Looking for a Video/DVD (TV)
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 14-08-07, 10:01 PM
  5. Orange advert
    By Marky B in forum British Television
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 04-12-06, 09:02 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts