A Clockwork Orange (film)

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A Clockwork Orange

film poster by Bill Gold
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Produced by Stanley Kubrick
Written by Novel:
Anthony Burgess
Stanley Kubrick
Starring Malcolm McDowell
Warren Clarke
James Marcus
Patrick Magee
Michael Tarn
Cinematography John Alcott
Editing by Bill Butler
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) 13 January 1972 (UK)
2 February 1972
(USA general)
Running time 136 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $2,200,000
Gross revenue $26,589,355

A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 satirical science fiction film adaptation of a 1962 novel of the same name, written by Anthony Burgess. The adaptation was produced, co-written, and directed by Stanley Kubrick. It stars Malcolm McDowell as the charismatic and psychopathic delinquent Alex DeLarge whose pleasures are classical music (especially Beethoven), rape, and ultra-violence. He is the leader of a small gang of thugs (Pete, Georgie and Dim), whom he calls his "droogs" (from the Russian word друг meaning "friend" or "buddy"). Alex narrates most of the film in "Nadsat", a fractured contemporary adolescent argot comprising Slavic (especially Russian), English, and Cockney rhyming slang. A Clockwork Orange features disturbing, violent imagery to facilitate social commentary on psychiatry, youth gangs, and other topics in a futuristic dystopian Britain.

The film features a soundtrack comprising mostly classical music selections and Moog synthesizer compositions by Wendy (then Walter) Carlos. One notable exception is "Singing in the Rain," which was chosen because it was a song actor Malcolm McDowell knew all the words to.[1]


[edit] Plot

Narrated by Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell), the film opens on Alex and his droogs parting of narcotic-spiked milk at the Korova Milk Bar prior to an evening of "the old ultra-violence". They proceed to beat up an elderly vagrant under a motorway and get in a brawl with a rival gang led by Billyboy[2] (Richard Connaught). Upon hearing the sounds of police sirens, the gang flees, stealing a car and driving into the countryside. They then gain entry to the home of Mr. Alexander, a writer, under false pretenses and assault him while sexually assaulting his wife, all while Alex sings "Singin' in the Rain". When they return to the milk bar, Alex chides Dim (Warren Clarke), one of his droogs, when he criticizes the work of Beethoven, an artist Alex admires.

The next day, after skipping school and ignoring the concerns of Mr. Deltoid (Aubrey Morris), a social worker, Alex regroups with his droogs who insist on running the gang in a different manner that entails more ambitious crimes. As they walk by a canal, Alex turns and attacks his droogs to re-establish his leadership. That night, the gang attempts to burgle the home of a "cat lady" (Miriam Karlin) that runs a health farm. In the process, she gets into a fight with Alex, and Alex mortally wounds her with a phallus-shaped statue. As he attempts to flee as the police arrive, his droogs smash a glass bottle across his face, crippling him and leave him to be arrested. During his interrogation, Alex is told by Mr. Deltoid that he is now a murderer as the cat lady died from her injuries.

In prison, Alex becomes friends with the chaplain and takes a keen interest in the Bible, but primarily on the more violent characters. When the Minister of the Interior (Anthony Sharp) arrives at the prison looking for volunteers for the Ludovico technique, an experimental aversion therapy for rehabilitating criminals, Alex eagerly steps forward. At the Ludovico facility, Alex is placed in a straitjacket and forced to watch films containing scenes of extreme violence while being given drugs to induce reactions of revulsion. The films include one of real scenes in Nazi Germany, which includes a soundtrack of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Alex realizes this will likely condition him against Beethoven's music and makes an agonized though unsuccessful attempt to have the treatment end prematurely before the conditioning sets in. After the treatment is finished, Alex's reformed behavior is demonstrated for the audience: he is unable to respond back to an actor (John Clive) shouting insults and picking a fight with him, nor is he able to think of sexual thoughts when presented with a naked woman. The Minister declares Alex to be cured, but the chaplain asserts that Alex no longer has any free will.

Alex is let free from prison two years after his sentencing. He finds his parents have rented out his room, leaving him on his own. Alex comes across the vagrant he had assaulted before the treatment, who calls in his friends and beat up Alex. Two policemen arrive to break up the fight, but Alex discovers them to be his former droogs, and the two beat him up and drag him out to the countryside as revenge. Battered and bruised, Alex manages to escape and wanders to the home of Mr. Alexander, who takes Alex in, aware that he had undergone the Ludovico treatment but does not recognize him from two years prior. Mr. Alexander tends to Alex's wounds, but when Alex sings "Singin' in the Rain" while taking a bath, the memories of his assault return. Mr. Alexander locks Alex in the upper floor of his home and plays Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at full volume through a powerful stereo on the floor below, knowing that the Ludovico treatment will cause immense pain to Alex. Alex frees himself from the torture by throwing himself out of the room's window.

Alex recovers consciousness to find himself in traction, with dreams about doctors messing around inside his head. Through a series of psychological tests, Alex finds he no longer has a revulsion to violence. The Minister of the Interior comes to Alex and apologizes for subjecting him to the treatment, and informs him that Mr. Alexander has been arrested. The Minister then offers Alex an important government job and as a show of goodwill, has a stereo wheeled to his bedside playing Beethoven's Ninth. Realising that he has no adverse reaction to the music but instead images of sexual pleasures, Alex states "I was cured all right!"

[edit] Cast

[edit] Themes

[edit] Morality

One of the film's central moral questions – as well as in many of Burgess's other books – is the definition of "goodness". After aversion therapy, Alex behaves like a good member of society, but not by choice; his "goodness" is involuntary and mechanical, like that of the titular clockwork orange. In prison, the chaplain criticises the Ludovico Technique, saying that true goodness must come from within. Another theme is the abuse of one's liberties – both by Alex and by those using him for their various ends. The film is also critical of both parties using Alex as a tool to those ends: Frank Alexander, writer and victim of Alex and the droogs, not only wants revenge over Alex, but sees him as a means to definitively turn the people against the government and its new regime – Mr. Alexander is afraid of this new government. Speaking on the phone, he says:

…Recruiting brutal young roughs into the police; proposing debilitating and will-sapping techniques of conditioning. Oh, we've seen it all before in other countries; the thin end of the wedge! Before we know where we are, we shall have the full apparatus of totalitarianism.

On the other side, the Minister of the Interior, representing the government, puts Mr. Alexander away, using the excuse of him being a danger to Alex. Whether he has been harmed or not remains unclear, but from what the Minister tells Alex, it is obvious that the author has been denied his ability to write and, more importantly, to produce "subversive" material, critical of the current government and prone to cause unrest.

[edit] Psychology

Techniques used in the film

Another central theme is outrage against behavioural psychology (popular throughout the 1940s through the 1960s), as propounded by psychologists John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner. Burgess disapproved of behaviourism, calling Skinner's most popular book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, "one of the most dangerous books ever written".[3] Although Watson conceded behaviourism's limitations, Skinner argued that behaviour modification (learning techniques of systematic reward and punishment) is the key to an ideal society (see Walden Two). Dr. Ludovico's technique, which is highly reminiscent of the notorious Project MKULTRA, is the form of behaviour modification the scientists applied to Alex to condition associating violent acts with a sensation of severe physical illness, thereby preventing him from being violent. This film embodies a mistrust of behaviourism, especially the perceived dehumanisation and lack of choice associated with behaviour modification methods.

Belgian cinema writer Anthony Bochon points out the criminological question underlying the Ludovico treatment. He describes the quality of the film description of the Ludovico treatment as "a problem of integrating the bad, the criminal, who is rejecting human dignity, into Humanity itself. Kubrick didn't make an apology of some fascist practices but simply brought his vision of the future of our society and how violence is fed by our society"[4].

[edit] Production

During the filming of the Ludovico scene, Malcolm McDowell scratched a cornea and was temporarily blinded. The doctor standing next to him in the scene dropping saline solution into Alex's forced-open eyes was not just there for filming purposes, but was a real doctor needed to prevent McDowell's eyes from drying. McDowell also suffered cracked ribs during filming of the humiliation stage show and nearly drowned when his breathing apparatus failed while being held underwater in the trough scene.

When Alex jumps out of the window to try to end his torment, the viewer sees the ground coming toward the camera until they collide. This effect was achieved by dropping a portable camera from two or three stories up, lens pointing downward, thus presenting a realistic sense of what such a fall could be like (although the way Alex (either McDowell or a stuntman) jumped, he actually would have landed on his back, presumably into a net). Reportedly the camera sustained lens damage but it was otherwise still functional.

[edit] Adaptation

This film adaptation of Anthony Burgess' book happened almost by accident. The director Stanley Kubrick had been given a copy which he initially put to one side. On the rebound from the cancellation of the production of Napoleon he happened again on the copy and it made an immediate impact on him. Kubrick said of his enthusiasm for the project "I was excited by everything about it, the plot, the ideas, the characters and of course the language...The story functions, of course, on several levels, political, sociological, philosophical and, what's most important, on a dreamlike psychological-symbolic level". When Kubrick wrote the screenplay he made a point of sticking very closely to the original text, "I think whatever Burgess had to say about the story was said in the book but I did invent a few useful narrative ideas and reshape some of the scenes."

[edit] Burgess's response

Anthony Burgess had mixed feelings about the film adaptation of his novel. Publicly, he said he loved Malcolm McDowell and Michael Bates, and the film's use of music; he praised the film as "brilliant," even as a film so brilliant that it could be dangerous. His initial reaction to the film was very enthusiastic, insisting that the only thing that bothered him was the removal of the story's last chapter, for which he blamed his American publisher and not Kubrick.

According to his autobiography, Burgess got along quite well with Kubrick. Both men held similar philosophic and political views; both were very interested in literature, cinema, music, and Napoleon Bonaparte (Burgess dedicated his book Napoleon Symphony to Kubrick). However their relationship was soured when Kubrick left it to Burgess to defend the film from accusations of glorifying violence. As a (lapsed) Catholic, Burgess tried many times to explain the story's Christian moral points to outraged Christian organisations who felt it a Satanic social influence; to defend it against journalistic accusations that it supported "fascist" dogma; and Burgess even received awards for Kubrick.

Burgess was deeply hurt, feeling Kubrick had used him as a film publicity pawn. Malcolm McDowell, who did a publicity tour with Burgess, shared his feelings, and at times said harsh things about Kubrick. Burgess and McDowell cited as evidence of Kubrick's uncontrolled ego that only Kubrick's name appears in the authorial opening credits. Burgess spoofed Kubrick's image in later works: the musical version of A Clockwork Orange, featuring a character resembling Kubrick who is beaten early in the work; The Clockwork Testament, wherein the fictional poet FX Enderby is attacked for supposedly glorifying violence in a film adaptation; and Burgess's novel Earthly Powers, which features a crafty director named Sidney Labrick.

[edit] Previous film versions

The first dramatisation of A Clockwork Orange (excerpted from the story's first three chapters only) was by the BBC, for part of the programme Tonight, broadcast shortly after the novel's original publication in 1962. No recording of this dramatisation has survived. Six years before Stanley Kubrick's film version, Andy Warhol produced a low-budget version in 1965, titled Vinyl. Reportedly, only two scenes are recognisable: "Victor" (a renamed Alex) wreaking havoc, and undergoing the Ludovico Treatment.

[edit] Direction

Director Stanley Kubrick was a notorious perfectionist, and so he demanded many takes during the making of his films. In the words of actor Malcolm McDowell, however, he usually got it right, so Kubrick did not have to do too many takes. Despite his perfectionism Kubrick was able to complete filming between September 1970 and its wrap on 20 April 1971, making it his fastest produced film. Kubrick wanted to give the film a dream-like, fantasy quality, and filmed many scenes with fisheye lenses. He also used fast and slow motion after being influenced by certain scenes in Toshio Matsumoto's Funeral Parade of Roses.

[edit] Locations

A Clockwork Orange was shot almost entirely on location in and around London with comparatively little of the film filmed in a studio.

[edit] Reception

The film was positively received and was nominated for important awards including four Oscar nominations (see below). The film receives a 90% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture (it lost to The French Connection) and reinvigorated sales for recordings of Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony".

Though hailed by many critics, the film had some notable detractors. Roger Ebert, for example, gave the film two stars and calling it an "ideological mess", as well as being "talky and boring".[6] In her New Yorker review, titled "Stanley Strangelove" and included in the collection Deeper into Movies, Pauline Kael called the film pornographic because of the way it dehumanised Alex's victims while highlighting the protagonist's suffering. She also noted that the film's Alex no longer enjoyed running over small animals or raping underaged girls, and argued that some violent scenes—such as the extended sequence in which Billyboy's gang strips a very buxom young woman they intend to rape—were offered for titillation. John Simon (in a piece collected in his book Reverse Angle) noted that most of the book's most ambitious effects were based on language and the alienating effect of the narrator's Nadsat slang, making it a poor choice for a film. Echoing some of Kael's criticisms about the depiction of Alex's victims, Simon noted that the writer, who is young and likeable in the book, was played by Patrick Magee, "a very quirky and middle-aged actor who specialises in being repellent." on top of which, Simon complained, "Kubrick over-directs the basically excessive Magee until his eyes erupt like missiles from their silos and his face turns every shade of a Technicolor sunset."

[edit] Responses and controversy

It also caused considerable controversy (see below) and was withdrawn from release in the UK. By the time of its re-release in the year 2000, it had already gained a reputation as a cult classic. It was recently placed at number 21 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills and number 46 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies, though in the second listing it ranked in 70th place. Alex De Large was placed at number 12 in the villain section of the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains list. In 2008, the film was placed as the 4th greatest Science-Fiction movie to date, in AFI's 10 Top 10.

[edit] United States censorship

The film was rated X on its original release in the United States. Later, Kubrick voluntarily replaced roughly 30 seconds of footage from two scenes with less bawdy action for a 1973 R-rated re-release. Current DVDs present the original X-rated form, and only some of the early 80s VHS editions are in the R-rated form.[7]

The film was rated C (for "condemned") by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting because of its explicit sexual and violent content; such a rating conceptually forbade Catholics from seeing the film. The "condemned" rating was abolished in 1982, and since then films deemed by the conference to have unacceptable levels of sex and/or violence have been rated O, meaning "morally offensive".

[edit] British withdrawal

In the United Kingdom, the sexual violence in the film was considered extreme. Furthermore, it was claimed that the film had inspired copycat behaviour. In March 1972, a prosecutor at a trial of a 14-year-old boy accused of the manslaughter of one of his classmates referred to A Clockwork Orange, telling the judge that the case had a macabre relevance to the film.[8]

The attacker, a boy aged 16 from Bletchley, pleaded guilty after telling police that his friends had told him of the film "and the beating up of an old boy like this one"; defence counsel told the trial "the link between this crime and sensational literature, particularly A Clockwork Orange, is established beyond reasonable doubt".[9] The press also blamed the influence of the film for a rape in which the attackers sang "Singin' in the Rain". Kubrick subsequently requested that Warner Brothers withdraw the film from UK distribution.

At the time, it was widely believed that the copycat attacks were what led Kubrick to withdraw the film from distribution in the United Kingdom. However, in a television documentary made after Kubrick's death, his widow Christiane confirmed rumours that Kubrick had withdrawn A Clockwork Orange on police advice after threats were made against Kubrick and his family (the source of the threats was not discussed). That Warner Bros. acceded to Kubrick's request to withdraw the film is an indication of the remarkable relationship Kubrick had with the studio, particularly the executive Terry Semel.

The ban was vigorously pursued during Kubrick's lifetime. One art house cinema that defied the ban in 1993, and was sued and lost, was the Scala cinema at Kings Cross, London, on the same premises as the present-day Scala nightclub. Unable to meet the cost of the defence, the cinema club was forced into receivership. [10]

Whatever the reason for the film's withdrawal, it could not easily be seen in the United Kingdom for some 27 years. The first VHS and DVD releases followed shortly after Kubrick's death. It was also shown in many UK cinemas.

On 4 July 2001, A Clockwork Orange, made its UKTV premiere, when it was broadcast on Sky TV's Sky Box Office. It ran until mid-September. It was shown uncut.

[edit] Documentary about withdrawal

In 1993, there aired on Channel 4 a 27-minute documentary about the controversy regarding the withdrawal of the film in Britain, entitled Forbidden Fruit.[11] Interestingly, the documentary contains considerable amounts of footage from A Clockwork Orange thus marking the only time British audiences could sample portions of the film during the ban. Kubrick attempted to stop the documentary's usage of this footage and failed.

[edit] Differences between the film and the novel

Kubrick's film is relatively faithful to Burgess's novel, omitting only the final, positive chapter in which Alex matures and outgrows sociopathy. The film ends with Alex offered an open-ended government job, implying that Alex remains a sociopath at heart, while the novel ends with Alex's positive change. This plot discrepancy occurred because Kubrick based his screenplay upon the novel's American edition, its final chapter deleted on insistence of the American publisher. [12] Director Kubrick claimed not having read the complete, original version of the novel until he had almost finished writing the screenplay, and that he never considered using it. In the introduction of the 1996 edition of the novel, it is said that Kubrick found the end of the original edition too blandly optimistic and unrealistic.

Thematic alterations of the novel
  • The film includes the phrase "A Clockwork Orange" only once. We see A Clockwork Orange written on a piece of paper in Mr. Alexander's typewriter. The book explains that the author Frank is supposed to have written a political tract by that name (with a passage explaining the title), but this is not mentioned in the movie.
  • The last chapter (21) of the novel was not filmed. In this chapter, Alex encounters Pete, the third member of the original gang (who was heavily cut out of the film) who has grown beyond his violent ways and married; Alex realises that he wishes to do the same, but believes his violence was an unavoidable product of his youth. See also "Deleted Scenes" section below.
  • The film uses Nadsat significantly less often than the book in order to make the film more accessible.
  • During one of the applications of the Ludovico Technique, Beethoven's Fifth symphony is played, and Alex begs for them to stop. In the movie, it is the Ninth symphony which is played during this scene. Alex is conditioned against all music in the book, but in the film he is only averse to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Changes in character information and motivation
  • Two of the attacks in the opening chapters of the novel—the assault on a library patron carrying rare books, and the strong-arm robbery of a shopkeeper and his wife—are not present in the film. On his commentary on the recent DVD edition of the film, Malcolm McDowell says the scenes were filmed but later discarded. Billy Russell, the actor playing the library patron, became ill after the initial production and was not available for the scenes in which Alex re-encounters his old victims.
  • In the novel, the writer whose wife Alex rapes is named "F. Alexander", leading to an ironic comparison between the two "Alexander"s. The film does not mention his surname, though he is called "Mr. Alexander" in the credits. In the film, he is addressed by his first name, "Frank," a detail not revealed in the book. The writer is quite young in the novel, and elderly in the film. The novel is also very overt quite early about his being a political activist. This is strongly hinted at in the film by scattered clues, but not spelled out so clearly.
  • In the novel, Alex's "post-corrective advisor" P.R. Deltoid has some moral authority. Confronting Alex the morning after the gang's latest rampage, for which he knows Alex will never be punished, Deltoid demands to know: "Is it some devil that gets into you?" In the film, Deltoid is a slapstick figure who inadvertently drinks from a glass holding dentures and, after delivering a morality lecture to Alex, punches the boy in his crotch.
  • In the novel, Alex is driven to attempt suicide by F. Alexander's political activist friends in a scheme to increase public disdain of the current government and the Ludovico Technique. In the film, it is also a ploy by F. Alexander to exact revenge on Alex for raping and causing the death his wife. F. Alexander is initially sympathetic to Alex (as a victim of the Ludovico Technique) until he realises Alex is his wife's rapist. While Alex is being tortured by Mr. Alexander's playing of Beethoven on the stereo, Kubrick composes the shot so that the author is transformed into a bust of Beethoven. Even the arrangement of the scarf around his neck suggests the contours of a statuette.
  • In the film, Alex's surname is spoken as "DeLarge" on arrival at prison; this surname is a pun based on an incident in the book, when Alex (referring to his penis) calls himself "Alexander the Large" (in turn a reference to Alexander the Great). In a close-up shot of a newspaper article, Alex is identified as "Alex Burgess". In the novel, Alex's surname is unknown.
  • In the novel, the incarcerated Alex and cell mates brutally beat a man just put in their cell, for being a nuisance. Alex is told to give the man some "tolchocks", and accidentally kills him. For such persistent violence, Alex is selected to undergo the Ludovico Technique. In the film, Alex volunteers for the treatment and is chosen in part for his good behaviour in prison.
  • In the novel, Dr. Branom is a male. In the film, the character is female.
"Deleted Scenes" from the novel
  • In the novel, Alex and his gang buy drinks and snacks for a group of old ladies, bribing them into providing the police with an alibi to cover a crast (shop burglary). None of this appears in the film; the scene with the old ladies was shot, but not used.[citation needed]
  • In the novel, Alex is beaten by prison guards. The film does not show this, but Alex mentions it in his narration.
Characters added to the film
  • In the novel, F. Alexander lives alone after the death of his wife, and manages most of the housework by himself despite his condition. In the film, he is shown to have hired a bodyguard named Julian to help him around the house and guard the home from future break-ins. The bodyguard is played by former bodybuilder and future Darth Vader, David Prowse in a brief role.
  • In the film Alex has a pet snake. There is no mention of this in the novel. This was added by Kubrick due to Malcolm McDowell's fear of snakes.[citation needed]
Changes in plot details (in chronological order)
  • In the film, Alex and his droogs beat a tramp, who later recognises him and, with other homeless people, assaults him after his treatment. In the book, Alex beats an old man carrying library books, who later recognises him and (with other aged people) assaults him in a library after his treatment. Alex and his droogs also beat a tramp in the book, but Alex does not encounter him again
  • Alex's weapon of choice in the book is a britva (razor); in the film, he wields a cane with a knife concealed in the handle (similar to a Japanese shikomizue).
  • The girl that is about to be raped by Billyboy's gang is ten in the book, but a young woman in the film.
  • In the film, the car seen before the home invasion is the M-505 Adams Brothers Probe 16, in the novel however, it is referred to as Durango 95. Only three were produced. In the TV-programme Top Gear (Season 2004, 2nd episode, aired 31 October 2004), the one used in the film was nominated for restoration in the Restoration Rip-off feature.
  • In the novel, Alex takes home and rapes two ten-year-old girls, Marty and Sonietta, after meeting them in a record shop. In the film, the girls are about 15-18 years old, and their sexual encounter with Alex is consensual.
  • In the film, the "cat lady" whose house Alex breaks into possesses a great deal of sexual artwork, including a rocking penis sculpture with which Alex delivers the (inadvertent) killing strike. None of this artwork is mentioned in the book, in which Alex uses a small silver statue to deliver the fatal blow while trying to steal a bust of Beethoven. In the film, the "cat lady" uses the Beethoven bust as a weapon to defend herself from Alex. The "cat lady" in the novel is elderly, addled, and living in a cat-ridden house of Miss Havisham-style dilapidation; the "cat lady" in the movie is in her early 40s, sharp, and living in a health farm which (according to dialogue) has closed for a week.
  • When trying to escape from the cat lady's house, Alex is stopped by Dim, who attacks him and leaves him for the police. In the novel, Dim uses his "oozy" (or chain) to whip Alex across the face. In the film, Dim smashes a milk bottle across the side of Alex's head.
  • In the novel, Alex's prisoner number is 6655321; in the film, it is 655321.
  • In the novel, an imprisoned Alex learns of the death of his former droog Georgie during a botched burglary. In the film, Alex meets with Georgie after being freed from prison (see below).
  • In the novel, Alex is beaten by his former droog, Dim, and his former rival, Billyboy, who have both joined the police. The beating itself is not described, though Alex subsequently notes soreness and several teeth knocked loose (he also believes himself to be covered with cuts and bruises). In the film, Billyboy is replaced in this scene by Georgie, another former droog (who had died in the novel); they take Alex down a wood path to a watering trough, where Dim forces Alex's head underwater, and Georgie beats him with his truncheon.
  • In the novel, F. Alexander recognises Alex through a number of careless references to the previous attack (e.g. his wife then claiming they did not have a telephone). Whereas, in the film, Alex is recognised when singing the song 'Singing in the Rain', in the bath, which he hauntingly does whilst attacking F. Alexander's wife. The song does not appear at all in the book, as it was an improvisation by actor Malcolm McDowell when Kubrick complained that the rape scene was too "stiff".[citation needed]
Kubrick film references

[edit] Soundtrack

The film's soundtrack comprises classical music and electronic synthetic music composed by Wendy Carlos (credited at the time to Walter Carlos).

Some of the pieces of classical music excerpted make only the briefest appearance in the film, a case in point being the "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1" theme better known as "Land of Hope and Glory", which is used in highly ironic fashion to herald the appearance of a politician in the prison, and is not heard again.

The main theme is an electronic transcription of Henry Purcell's Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, composed in 1695 for the procession of Queen Mary's cortège through the streets of London en route to Westminster Abbey.

The film's music can be interpreted as a thematic extension of Alex's psychological conditioning, affecting the viewers.

"March from A Clockwork Orange" was the first recorded song featuring a vocoder for singing, and often is cited as inspiration for many synthpop bands.

Neither the end-credits nor the soundtrack album name the orchestra playing the classical excerpts from the Ninth Symphony, however, in Alex's bedroom, early in the story, there is a fleeting close-up of a microcassette tape labelled: "Deutsche Grammophon – Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphonie Nr. 9 d-moll, op. 125 – Berliner Philharmoniker – Chor der St. HedwigskathedraleFerenc FricsayIrmgard Seefried, Maureen Forrester, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Ernst Haefliger".

In the novel Alex is conditioned against all classical music, but in the film, only Beethoven's Ninth symphony. The film audience does not necessarily see all of the films which Alex is forced to view during the Ludovico conditioning. It could be possible that Alex is not conditioned solely against 4th movement of Beethoven's Ninth, even though it is the only music heard on the soundtrack of one of these films. While being impelled to commit suicide by Mr. Alexander, Alex is forced instead to listen to the 2nd movement.

Track listing
  1. "Title Music from A Clockwork Orange"[1], Wendy Carlos, credited as Walter Carlos
  2. "The Thieving Magpie (Rossini, Abridged)", A Deutsche Grammophon Recording
  3. "Theme from A Clockwork Orange (Beethoviana)", Wendy Carlos
  4. "Ninth Symphony, Second Movement (Abridged)", A Deutsche Grammophon Recording conducted by Ferenc Fricsay.
  5. "March from A Clockwork Orange (Ninth Symphony, Fourth Movement, Abridged)", Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind
  6. "William Tell Overture (Rossini, Abridged)", Wendy Carlos
  7. "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1", Sir Edward Elgar
  8. "Pomp and Circumstance March No. IV (Abridged)", Sir Edward Elgar
  9. "Timesteps (Excerpt)", Wendy Carlos
  10. "Overture to the Sun", Terry Tucker (instrumental from Sound of Sunforest, the 1969 album of his group, Sunforest)
  11. "I Want to Marry a Lighthouse Keeper", Erika Eigen (from Sound of Sunforest, the 1969 album of her group, Sunforest - movie version is somewhat different from soundtrack)
  12. "William Tell Overture (Abridged)", A Deutsche Grammophon Recording
  13. "Suicide Scherzo (Ninth Symphony, Second Movement, Abridged)", Wendy Carlos
  14. "Ninth Symphony, Fourth Movement, (Abridged)", A Deutsche Grammophon Recording (Von Karajan, 1963, uncredited)
  15. "Singin' in the Rain", Gene Kelly, lyrics by Arthur Freed, music by Nacio Herb Brown.

[edit] Second version

Three months after the official soundtrack's release, composer Wendy Carlos released a second version of the soundtrack (Columbia KC 31480) containing unused cues and musical elements unheard in the film. For example, Kubrick only used part of "Timesteps", and a shortened version of the synthesiser transcription of the Ninth Symphony's Scherzo. Additionally, this second soundtrack LP contained a synthesiser version of Rossini's "La Gazza Ladra"; Kubrick used an orchestral performance in the film's soundtrack. In 1998, an edition of the soundtrack containing digitally-remastered tracks of the synthesiser music was released. It contains Carlos' compositions, including those unused in the film, and the "Biblical Daydreams" and "Orange Minuet" cues unincluded in the 1972 soundtrack LP record.

Carlos composed the first three minutes of "Timesteps" before reading Burgess's novel. Originally, she had intended as the introduction to a vocoder rendition of the Ninth Symphony's Choral movement; "Timesteps" was completed at roughly the time when Kubrick completed the film's photography; "Timesteps" and the vocoder Ninth Symphony were the foundation for Carlos' and Kubrick's collaboration.

Reportedly, Stanley Kubrick asked Pink Floyd bassist/lyricist Roger Waters if he could use elements of the "Atom Heart Mother" suite in the soundtrack; Waters rejected the request. Later, Waters asked Kubrick if he could appropriate sounds from 2001: A Space Odyssey - a request Kubrick rejected.

[edit] Awards and honours

  • BAFTA Awards
    • BAFTA Film Award Best Art Direction - John Barry
    • Best Cinematography - John Alcott
    • Best Direction - Stanley Kubrick
    • Best Film
    • Best Film Editing - William Butler
    • Best Screenplay - Stanley Kubrick
    • Best Sound Track - Brian Blamey, John Jordan, Bill Rowe
  • Golden Globes
    • 1972 Nominated Golden Globe Best Director: Motion Picture - Stanley Kubrick
    • Best Motion Picture - Drama
    • Best Motion Picture Actor: Drama - Malcolm McDowell
  • Writers Guild of America, USA
    • 1972 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Drama Adapted from Another Medium - Stanley Kubrick

American Film Institute recognition

[edit] DVD releases

In 2000, the film was released on videotape and DVD, both individually and as part of The Stanley Kubrick Collection DVD set. Consequent to negative comments from fans, Warner Bros re-released the film, its image digitally restored and its soundtrack remastered. A limited-edition collector's set with a soundtrack disc, movie poster, booklet and film strip followed, but later was discontinued. In 2005, a UK re-release, packaged as an "Iconic Film" in a limited-edition slipcase was published, identical to the remastered DVD set, except for different package cover art. In 2006, Warner Bros announced the September publication of a two-disc special edition featuring a Malcolm McDowell commentary, and the releases of other two-disc sets of Stanley Kubrick films. Several UK retailers had set the release date as 6 November 2006; the release was delayed and re-announced for 2007 Holiday Season. An HD DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD re-release version of the film was released on 23 October 2007. The release accompanies four other Kubrick classics. 1080p video transfers and remixed Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (for HD DVD) and uncompressed 5.1 PCM (for Blu-ray) audio tracks are on both the Blu-ray and HD DVD editions. Unlike the previous version, the DVD re-release edition is anamorphically enhanced.

[edit] In popular culture

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ IMBD page
  2. ^ Both Burgess' novel and Stanley Kubrick's published movie script have this character's name as one word "Billyboy" although the Internet Movie Database lists him in the credits with two words "Billy Boy".
  3. ^ "A Clockwork Orange: Context". sparknotes.com. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/clockworkorange/context.html. 
  4. ^ Anthony Bochon, "L'Histoire dans le cinéma anglo-américain parlant", Paris, Editions Le Manuscrit, at page 82.
  5. ^ Filming Locations Malcommcdowell.net, accessed 2007-07-22
  6. ^ Ebert, R: A Clockwork Orange, Chicago Sun-Times, 11 February 1972
  7. ^ "Article discussing the edits, with photographs". geocities.com. http://www.geocities.com/malcolmtribute/aco/xrated.html. 
  8. ^ "Serious pockets of violence at London school, QC says", The Times, 21 March 1972.
  9. ^ "'Clockwork Orange' link with boy's crime", The Times, 4 July 1973.
  10. ^ "Scala's History". scala-london.co.uk. http://www.scala-london.co.uk/scala/scalashistory.php. Retrieved on 2007-11-12. 
  11. ^ http://www.geocities.com/malcolmtribute/aco/forbidden.html
  12. ^ "The Kubrick FAQ Part 2". visual-memory.co.uk. http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/faq/index2.html#slot21. 

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] External links

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