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Clockwork Orange (DVD)

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  • a bit violent
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      27.02.2012 19:17
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      Striking and controversial Kubrick film

      A Clockwork Orange was released in 1971 and adapted by Kubrick from the 1962 Anthony Burgess fable about the choice between good and evil. This is the most infamous of Kubrick's films because it was banned in Britain for many years - its mystique and notoriety of course reaching near legendary proportions because it was forbidden fruit and largely unseen in the country where it was made. The film provoked something of a media storm when it first appeared and was interpreted by some as a celebration of how great it is to be bad. When there were stories of copycat violence and a judge branded it a wicked film, Kubrick asked Warner Bros not to distribute A Clockwork Orange in Britain anymore. He never really explained if he was genuinely disturbed by the effect the film might be having on some troubled souls or if he was just sick to death of all the attention. Maybe it was a combination of the two. The surprising thing about A Clockwork Orange when you do finally watch it is that there appears to be only one onscreen death (it's a novel one though) and the film is of course slightly tamed by the passage of time. But there is definitely a bit of wickedness about A Clockwork Orange, the violence all the more surreal and striking for being wrapped up in the usual spectrum of cinematic effects that is the trademark of Kubrick. The film centres around Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a Beethoven obsessed teen in a dystopian future Britain who is fond of fighting, rape and murder and leader of a small gang known as droogs. A night on the tiles with little Alex can get very obstreperous indeed. Droog chic is white shirt, braces, bowler hat, and a spider web of mascara eyelashes. A composite and tribute to myriad British youth cults from down the decades.

      They drink milk spiked with hallociogins and their idea of a good night out is breaking into a house and beating someone up while crooning Gene Kelly's Singin' in the Rain. "The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultraviolence." Burgess invented a language called Nadsat that is used by the characters in the film to good effect. Basically a mixture of corrupted Russian (maybe Burgess thought the Russians would win the Cold War) and Cockney ryming slang. "It's funny how the colours of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen." A heady cocktail of slapstick and violence ensues but two of the other droogs Dim (Warren Clarke) and Georgie (James Marcus) become resentful of his leadership and decide to frame him for a crime. He is convicted to 14 years in prison and becomes a subject for a government experimental rehabilitation scheme (Ludovico Technique - a kind of aversion therapy that causes him to retch at the mere thought of violence or sex). Can they transform the psychopathic delinquent into a politically correct and safe human being? And does the state have the right to remove free will? A remarkably dangerous and frightening tool in the hands of a totalitarian government.

      I read A Clockwork Orange once on a train journey between Victoria station and Canterbury and it's a short but vivid and compelling book. Burgess' wife was raped by American deserters during the war and he later witnessed the first battle between Mods and Rockers on Brighton seafront so one can see where the inspiration for the book came from. This is a moderately faithful adaption although Kubrick of course always puts his own stamp on whatever project he directs - no matter who was behind the source material. Arthur C Clarke, Stephen King, Anthony Burgess or whoever. It seems to me that the most salient differences are the inversion of the ending and Kubrick's tendency to add a wiff of glamour and beauty to the violence. The book was violent too but maybe the Nadsat narration took the edge off. Kubrick has to show things afterall not describe them. This was perhaps the thing that made the film so controversial. The symphonic beauty of the violence, as choreagraphed and visually striking as a dance number in a Hollywood musical. A Clockwork Orange is a film that seems to almost enjoy its dirty deeds. One of the surprising things about the film when you watch it for the first time though is that the droog "ultraviolence" is confined only to the first section of the film. Maybe twenty, twenty five minutes or something. Thereafter Alex is a victim, covered in snot and in prison. One tends to immediately conjure images of the mascara bowler hatted teen hijinks when you think of A Clockwork Orange but it's only a small part of the story. Maybe the film loses something at some point with this shift (Kubrick has less scope for fantastic visual flourishes) but it always remains interesting and relatively compelling. Malcolm McDowell, for all the evil deeds of his character, remains a strangely likeable and seductive anti-hero, referring to us - the audience - as "my brothers" as he narrates this terrible tale.

      It's a great performance and he has definite charisma. It captures him at his best before he got older and began to slip into role of stock Hollywood nutty villain like a comfortable pair of slippers. You can see the influence of Alex in a range of characters. Even Heath Ledger's Joker. I love the classical music selections and synthesizer compositions by Wendy Carlos and there is clever use of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, The William Tell Overture, and of course and most shockingly, Singin' in the Rain. A stylised gang fight occurs beneath the strains of Rossini's The Thieiving Magpie. The Thamesmead estate in London makes a striking backdrop in the first portion of the film. Brutal futuristic architecture that sort of looks beautiful and depressing at the same time. Kubrick uses it for one of the most memorable flourishes in the film where Alex thrashes a couple of his droogs for hinting at mutiny and one ends up in the water. A simple scene but the use of slow motion and music makes it somehow epic. Look for some familiar faces in the supporting cast. Steven Berkoff, the wonderful and barking mad Patrick Magee as Frank Alexander - the writer who owns the house Alex and his droogs break into. Oh, and David (Darth Vader) Prowse in a pair of pants. At the time of writing you can buy a two disc version of A Clockwork Orange for under a tenner with a commentary by Malcolm McDowell and Nick Redman, a trailer, and three documentaries (The Return of Clockwork Orange, Making a Clockwork Orange, Lucky Malcolm). A Clockwork Orange is a difficult film but a great one at its best and an essential part of the Kubrick mythology.

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        29.06.2011 22:26
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        One of the most important movies of the 1970s

        RELEASED (in the UK): 1972, Cert.18

        RUNNING TIME: Approx. 142 mins

        DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/SCREENPLAY: Stanley Kubrick

        MAIN MUSIC: Beethoven's 9th Symphony, adapted by Wendy (Walter) Carlos

        MAIN CAST:-

        Malcolm McDowell as Alex
        Warren Clarke as Dim
        Michael Tarn as Pete
        James Marcus as Georgie
        Sheila Raynor as Alex's Mum
        Philip Stone as Alex's Dad
        Patrick Magee as Mr Alexander
        Aubrey Morris as Mr Deltoid, Alex's Probation Officer
        Anthony Sharp as Minister Of The Interior

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        FILM ONLY REVIEW

        Adapted from Anthony Burgess' novel of the same name, and removed from public circulation in I think 1975 due to being an extremely controversial film (original public availability status restored in 1993), A Clockwork Orange remains even to this day, a very violent, powerful and thought-provoking film.

        Despite he and his parents having northern accents, the DeLarge family live in a futuristic-looking (for 1972) housing complex in London.

        Ruthless sociopath Alex DeLarge is the leader of a nihilistic gang comprised of himself and three "droogs" ("droogs" means friends and the gang speak their own slang language called "Nadsat" which is a combination of Russian, Cockney rhyming slang and ordinary English).

        Each evening, led by Alex, the gang congregates in the milk bar to quaff large drafts of "moloko plus" which is simple milk, laced with a cocktail of stimulant drugs. Suitably tanked up, the crew then embarks upon a nightly spree of despicable, sick acts of violence, just for kicks.

        After breaking into a woman's house and beating her to death with a huge porcelain phallic effigy, Alex is caught and much to the delight of Mr Deltoid, his probation officer, is sentenced to fourteen years in prison for murder. The rest of the "droogs" had managed to escape, leaving Alex to face the music alone.

        A while into Alex's incarceration, the Minister Of The Interior is visiting prisons asking for volunteers to undergo a new and controversial treatment for criminals, which is an extreme and bizarre form of aversion therapy. Any volunteering prisoner is assured of their release after successful completion of this new treatment, and for no other reason than wanting to get back into the community (and perhaps his old way of life), Alex puts himself forward.

        That sets the basic scene for the film, and to find out what the treatment involves and if it is successful for Alex, plus in general what happens in the film, you must see it for yourself.

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        When A Clockwork Orange first did the cinema rounds, it was held up as being responsible for copycat crimes. It is my view that a considerable number of young people who dashed out in their droves to watch this film, seriously misunderstood the message it was attempting to convey. Even people who didn't resort to copycat violence still saw A Clockwork Orange as a feast, a festival almost, of gratuitous violence which they held a warped sort of admiration for. It always struck me as a great pity that the bulk of cinema-goers who clambered to showings of this film sadly blinked and missed the plot.

        It is true that Alex and his gang of "droogs" are pretty unpleasant individuals and the violence in the film is shocking to watch, even by today's standards, but such violence is a leader into the essence of the film rather than the crux or the purpose of it. My own personal interpretation is that the message behind A Clockwork Orange is one of a question, whereby we are encouraged to ask whether we should take extreme measures against criminals of Alex's type to ensure a safe society for us all to enjoy, or whether this kind of anti-violence therapy is an unacceptable invasion and brainwashing of the perpetrator's mind. The passage of time has possibly gone some way towards changing my final decision as to what I'd prefer of those two things, should such methods to eliminate violent crime ever come into practice.

        I think a lot of people also missed out on the element of humour within the film...a dry, rather sardonic, black humour sketched around things which I truly believe shouldn't be, nor were intended to be, taken seriously.

        However, despite me feeling there is a deeper message in the story than is generally latched onto, I do find the violence in A Clockwork Orange particularly shocking. It isn't so much its severity, as there has been far, far worse put onto celluloid in more recent years....it is that in this film the gang have no ulterior motive other than the sheer fun they experience from their sinister escapades....sinister, I feel being the operative word here. Violence aside, one aspect which for me increases the sense of finding the film uniquely disturbing is that much of the script is read as dialogue by Malcolm McDowell in a "nice guy" type voice which comes across as superbly chilling.

        Acting-wise, Malcolm McDowell reigns supreme as the almost totally dispassionate Alex (his single passion is Beethoven's music), and I particularly loved the way Warren Clarke played the not blessed with Mensa standard IQ character of Dim. Both McDowell and Clarke interact perfectly as "droogs" where they are at opposite ends of the intellectual pole, also crossing swords with each other on more than one occasion.

        As far as the direction/production is concerned, for me this is one of Kubrick's best. He managed to create a very cold, yet simultaneously intense, sometimes semi-surreal atmosphere which for me stimulates mixed feelings of amusement, shock, distaste and fear....fear, because sadly I feel our society has come far too close to the "Clockwork Orange" syndrome than I am comfortable with...not from the aspect of Alex's treatment and the outcome, but what I see happening in our inner cities, our streets, our housing estates etc. OK it's not identical, but too close for comfort, and I feel that Anthony Burgess' 1960 novel - later turned into the movie - has resulted in being worryingly prophetic.

        I'd better say something about the music to A Clockwork Orange. Firstly, if it weren't for this film and the powerful effect it had on me at age 18 (and still can have on me at certain times), I never would have come to enshrine Beethoven's 9th Symphony as one of the best suites of music ever written. It is true that for the most part during the film (bear in mind that Alex is a religiously devout fan of Beethoven's work) the 9th is presented in electronic format, but I feel that just adds to the overall disturbing, cold, bleak and sinister mood of the film. Rossini's William Tell Overture is used for one brief, very fast-moving scene, and ever since I first saw A Clockwork Orange, I've not been able to disassociate Gene Kelly's Singing In The Rain from some of the nastiest parts of the film.

        A Clockwork Orange certainly isn't everybody's cup of tea as a considerable number of people I'm sure would find it far too distressing to watch - particularly from the aspects of violence and parts of Alex's aversion therapy - but if you have a strong constitution and are able to tune into the grey areas and read between the lines, then it could be something you'd enjoy, and I'd thus heartily recommend it. Love it or hate it, once seen and absorbed, it's a film that hooks itself into your psyche...staying with you forever!

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        At the time of writing, A Clockwork Orange can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-

        New: from £3.52 to £19.50
        Used: from £1.56 to £11.99
        Collectible: Two copies currently available at £3.00 and £5.99

        A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.

        I've had a scout through YouTube and although it appears A Clockwork Orange has been uploaded in its entirety, this isn't the case as to click onto part 1, you will be directed to another website where you have to pay to see the whole film. However, there are very many clips/trailers available to watch as a taster, but do take care not to click into a spoiler.

        Thanks for reading!

        ~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~

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          07.05.2010 22:00
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          Kubrick's adaptation of Burgess' novel about psychological conditioning

          Clockwork Orange is '...a social satire dealing with the question of whether behavioral psychology and psychological conditioning are dangerous new weapons for a totalitarian government to use to impose vast controls on its citizens and turn them into little more than robots.' This is according to Stanley Kubrick, who directed this film, based on the book by Anthony Burgess. Kubrick's reputation for visually arresting and snappy dialogue is put to the fore here as he delivers just over 2 hours of cult classic here.

          We meet Alex, a 15 year old boy (played excellently by Malcolm McDowell) who is part of a gang who like to spend their evenings listening to Beethoven, raping women and excessive violence towards anyone they feel like. After a series of episodes displaying this, Alex is caught by the police and becomes a subject for an intense psychological study based on the notion that conditioning will cure him of the violence and urges he feels when certain triggers such as aggression and sexuality are floated past him.

          Instantly, the psychdelic colours and music take a hold with the film, being very dark and out of the ordinary as Alex and his friends go on a rebellious spree of violence and rape. Kubrick's direction goes down the road of being open and visual. There are no holds barred, with nudity and violence right from the start. I was instantly offended by this band of dregs of society, yet amazed by McDowell's acting right from the word go.

          In fact, McDowell's voice fits this role perfectly, the almost overly politely spoken Northern accent hinting at danger throughout, the excessive use of the word 'brother' when talking to people as well as the inclusion of some words that hint at Russian influences and Communist themes sparking off a worrying feeling that this sort of person does in fact exist. But it's more the worry about the rehab methods and the way psychology is brought into it to invoke alienation of the viewer to these methods that turns it around to get an affinity for Alex. It's a confusion through and through.

          There's no denying that this is all Kubrick and McDowell. The supporting cast do a decent job, from the prison warden to Alex's parents, his fellow gang members to the victims of his attacks. However, these other characters do have limited involvement in the film, and the focus is most certainly on the main character and how conditioning is approached and what the results are. If nothing else, it's interesting to watch the bravery and trust McDowell has for his director, and vice versa, as bold steps are taken to really push the messages being sent out here.

          Clockwork Orange is a mesmerising film that I found really hard to turn away from. However, it's also an awkward film to watch. There are some disturbing scenes, whether it be rape, violence, a combination of the two, or the conditioning scenes which are very disturbing and psychdelic indeed. Flashing lights, clothes and various other clues show this to be typical 60s/70s in terms of style, although the enjoyment and disgust levels are likely to be timeless. I do urge you to watch this, but be strongly forewarned, as some of the scenes push the boundaries and justify the 18 certificate. Recommended.

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            30.03.2010 09:24
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            Overall, despite it's violence it's very good

            Clockwork Orange was first released in 1971 and directed by Stanley Kubrick and certainly wasn't without it's fair share of criticism and controversy and was even banned too at one point. For these reasons I was interested in watching the movie to see what it was all about and I have to admit although violent and disturbing it is very well made and the acting is fantastic.

            The movie is told through the narration of Alexander DeLarge played by Malcolm McDowell who is the main character. He is a young teenage delinquent who stalks the streets of England with his mates and beats up innocent indviduals at random and raping women. However, they always seem to get away with everything they do without being punished.

            The movie begins to focus on a struggle of power in the group when the rest of his mates try to challenge his authority and to confirm his role as the head of the group he batters them into submission to reinforce that fact. But they group fight back and after he kills a woman in her house they smash his head in with a milk bottle.

            After this incident Alex is caught and sent to prison where various people try to reform him into a good person again by brainwashing him to stop his evil acts.

            In my opinion McDowell is fantastic in the lead role in this movie and really makes you believe how evil and misguided he really is. I found myself genuinely terrified of what he might he do next as he was out of control. I thought that the movie did a good job of exploring punishment for criminals of any description and whether reformation of them does any good at all..

            Basically the movie addresses the state of free will. Should you take away someone's free will in order to brainwash them into not comitting crimes any more. Is that the right thing to do? This is shown in extremes with alot of violence but does get a message across I think although the debate will rage on.

            My personal thoughts on this movie are that it is one of Kubrick's best ever works but some may find it hard to watch as it is extremely violent and perhaps at time goes over the top. However, I think at times it needs to portray him as pure evil. If you have never seen this movie and can handle that side of things then I recommend you watching it to see what you think

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            12.01.2010 03:23
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            Possibly Kubrick's Masterpiece

            Is it better to choose to be evil or be conditioned to be good? This is the underlying question asked in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, based on the book of the same name by Anthony Burgess. Met with controversy for it's scenes of sexual violence this could well have been his masterpiece it is more than a film it is a work of art. Some say that films such as this can focus on style over substance but A Clockwork Orange has lashings of both.

            The film is set at an unknown date and Kubrick simply created this world from his imagination. The images created are striking to say the least. The backdrop to most of the scenes is stunning, which just makes the scenes of violence even more disturbing. It makes the film difficult to stomach as you have all these wonderful backdrops and scenes of horror going on in front of them.

            The film was that controversial and the reception from the public was so outrageous Kubrick actually withdrew his film, and it was only re-released after his death in 1999. You can see why the film was so controversial and even now you can understand why some people would switch it off after the first 15 minutes. If you can sit through the scenes of rape and mindless violence then do, you will rewarded by the end of the film.

            As I said earlier the film poses a simple question: Is it better to choose to be evil or be conditioned to be good? For me this is a very hard question to answer, is it right for someone to be stripped of their free will the very thing our society is supposedly built upon. As well as this the film gives us more to think about, things that were as relevant in 1972 when the film was released, as they are today. In the last ten years, since the introduction of the ASBO, we have seen numerous reports of young teenagers, or hoodies as the tabloids like to call them, beating up and even killing people. The subject is a big area of debate, what are the parents do about this? Both topics are questioned in this film.

            The film focuses around Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a 15 year old boy who loves nothing more than to go out at night with his gang of Drooges and commit severe acts of violence and rape. The film starts with him and his gang beating up a homeless man, and then moving and beating up a rival gang. They then come to a writers home who they beat before making him watch as Alex brutally rapes his wife, as I said before if you can sit through these horrific scenes do, you will be rewarded.

            Alex seems neglected by his parents, he is supposed to be attending correctional school and his mother lets him get away with attending after a brief conversation where Alex explains he has a headache. This is followed by a his parents having a conversation at the breakfast table and wondering just what there son gets up to on a night.

            Later the same day his Drooges tell him they want to start committing bigger crimes and seeking bigger riches. However, you sense Alex commits the unforgivable acts for sheer enjoyment rather than the riches it may bring him. He has a confrontation with the two Drooges with the ideas and his power as leader is restored. He still decides to visit the house that was suggested by his gang where he murders the occupant and is then knocked out by his own and is subsequently picked up by the police. From here on we see Alex put through the system and be subjected to a new form of treatment designed to make the patient hate violence, therefore making them a good person.

            The plot itself is quite simple and easy to follow. It is atypical of a Kubrick film and reminds me instantly of the less impressive and latter Eyes Wide Shut. In both films we see Kubrick's artistic impressions all over the place and in both films it looks brilliant. Both films are also very weird and neither for the faint hearted, in A Clockwork Orange there are lots of paintings and sculptures in the first part of the film, all of them very weird and they seem to match up with the sexual deviancy of the main character.

            Malcolm McDowell plays his role as Alex superbly. He is enigmatic and very convincing. Although he does look a lot older than 15, this is hardly a criticism, there is no way a 14 year old boy would be able to play this role in such a convincing manner. Although McDowell was never really recognized for this role it is another of cinema's greatest performances.

            There isn't much point in mentioning any of the other actors involved as most of them aren't in the film for more than 10 minutes. However, I do think that the film is let down slightly by some of the weaker, unconvincing performances, or maybe McDowell's performance is of such greatness he simply overshadows everyone involved.

            McDowell's greatest strength was taking the made up slang from the book and making it reasonably understandable, having had a brief glance at some of the book's dialogue this must have been difficult, it is a famously difficult book to read. This is another problem the film has in grabbing it's audience, similarly to the horrific scenes if you can deal with the weird style of language used for the most part then do, again you will be rewarded.

            On the negative side, although I enjoyed every minute of the film I still feel it could have been slightly shorter. There are a couple of scenes which are quite boring and although they add to the story and feel of the film, some just weren't necessary to the advancement of the plot. Although, the film never seemed to be dragging along, it runs for a little over two hours and I think with the omission of a few scenes or even making a few scenes slightly shorter, the film could have been a much tighter and more concise piece of work.

            Alex is an avid fan of Ludwig Van Beethoven and a lot of his music is used throughout the film particularly Symphony No.9. I think that this is brilliant, it adds to the atmosphere of the film and like the wonderful back drops, you have this beautiful music playing whilst you are watching scenes of horrific violence, and it only serves to make you feel more uncomfortable. Even later in the film when the scenes aren't quite as violent, Beethoven's 9th is used to a stunning effect.

            If you are fan of film in general A Clockwork Orange is a film you simply have to see, it is superb and I have never seen anything like this done to such great effect. Obviously don't let young children see this; it is deeply disturbing and very violent. If you think you can handle the worst of it then A Clockwork Orange is a must see. It easily ranks alongside Full Metal Jacket as one of my favourite Kubrick films.

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              10.09.2009 22:16
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              Classic Kubrick

              note: also appears on Flixster. Thanks!

              A Clockwork Orange is based on the controversial 1950s novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess, and was brought up vibrant life by veteran filmmaker Stanley Kubrick in 1971. However, not long after its cinematic release, Kubrick removed it from theatres (contrary to the popular belief that it was banned by the BBFC), and it was only released on home video after his death in 1999. Highly controversial for its depiction of graphic sex and violence, it was nevertheless a critical success and has also firmly established itself as a cult classic.

              The film revolves around Alexander DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell), a young man who, along with his other gang members, known as the Droogs, is terrorising his local British town with a torrent of murder and mayhem. However, he soon enough lands in trouble as the authorities become ever more desperate to reduce crime in the area. Here, he learns about the Ludovicio technique, an experimental treatment which attempts to link acts of violence with nausea in the criminal's brain. He submits himself to this, opening up a wild can of worms like he would never have expected.

              The film is a favourite of Psychology teachers to show to their students, as a disturbing example of government-sponsored conditioning. It's also a delightfully dark look at an Orwellian-style dystopia that instead of assaulting the physical persons, instead wages a war on the mind. This is a stunning and highly inventive work that is visceral and cerebral in equal measure, with Kubrick's amazing direction as usual, and an off the wall performance by McDowell. Searing, powerful, and not for everyone, this is one of the best films of the 1970s.

              A very faithful adaptation of Anthony Burgess' novel that presents a disturbing vision of a dystopian future, A Clockwork Orange boasts incredible direction from Stanley Kubrick, and a great performance by Malcolm McDowell. Cerebral, dark, and powerful, this is an often challenged but undeniably rivetting work.

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                06.07.2009 15:23
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                Everyone should see it atleast once

                Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange is one of the strangest and most disturbing films I have ever seen but at the same time it is one of the greatest, I first saw it in 1997, at the time you could not get the film in the UK as Stanley Kubrick had withdrawn it after the film got blamed for crimes. It was withdrawn for 27 years and finally in 2001 not long after the death of Stanley Kubrick was re released.

                A clockwork orange is based on the novel by Anthony Burgess and tells the story of Alex DeLarge, played by Malcolm McDowell, the leader of a very strange gang who take drugs and listen to classical music and enjoy nothing better than attacking women, beating up homeless people as well as robbing the rich.

                The gang end up turning on each other and as a consequence Alex end up in prison where he takes part in a new experiment, he gets made extra sensitive towards violence and once the treatment is complete he gets sent back into the world.

                Unfortunately the new Alex gets sent back to the world he once terrorised and as a consequence he ends up facing the people he once hurt who are now finding it very easy to get revenge while Alex is unable to fight back.

                When I first saw the film I had to leave the room in the first half an hour as I found some scenes too upsetting, I have watched it since and still find it quite disturbing but not as bad as the first time, I was only 16 at the time I first saw the film and at the time there wasn't the same level of violence in every day life as there is nowadays on the TV and the news so maybe in todays standards A clockwork orange isn't so shocking.

                Once you have made it through the first half of the film the second half is brilliant, it is quite amazing and however disturbing the first half of the film is it is very much needed and adds to the impact of the ending, to me the biggest shock was myself, I went from feeling sick and hatred towards Alex who was pure evil to at the end of the film feeling sadness for him and feeling upset for how he had been treated.

                This film is not for the faint hearted but in the end is a true masterpiece.

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                  26.05.2009 00:04
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                  This film was boring and there was not enough thought put into it

                  Clockwork Orange is about a group of teenagers who go out at night to rape and terrorise members of society. The characters are fifteen but this is not very well done as they all look around 20 years old, this is one of the many bad qualities of this film.

                  This film is not very thought out as it does not explain why the teenagers come to these terrible crimes.

                  The plot -

                  The 'leader' of the gang of four boys ends up murdering a woman and going to prison where he is put forward for rehabilitation which is successful and is released and returns to his old ways.

                  The Characters -

                  Malcolm McDowel plays Alex DeLarge was the lead boy who had an aggressive and murderous nature. Although he commits brutal acts, he appears innocent and good natured.

                  Warren Clarke plays Dim, one of Alex's 'pupils' who caters to his every whim. He is the dummest of the four Droogs.

                  James Marcus plays Georgie, another one of Alex's 'students' who tries to take power when Alex goes to prison and Alex cuts his hand after he makes his move to be the leader.

                  Michael Tarn plays the quietest of the gang but in the last chapter Alex runs to him who has given up his ways and has settled down - Alex then takes a leaf out of his book and wants to find someone and settle down.

                  There are various other characters but I think getting close to these characters make you understand more about how every one of them are led on by one person even though they are all completely different people with contrasting personalities.

                  Personally, this film is a waste of time and was really boring. It seemed interesting at the beginning because you were beginning to see their behaviour but after he got arrested it just became very slow and you expected the outcome of the whole film. I expected more excitement from a film with this story line.

                  I wouldn't reccomend this film and all in all I would not bother watching it again

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                    25.03.2009 20:07
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                    A True Classic

                    Lovely, Milky Milky
                    ============

                    In the near future a totalitarian Government is in power, violent gangs create fear on the streets, gang warfare is rife and lawlessness seems to rule. One group of "droogs" is led by a young man named Alex (Malcolm McDowell) who is particularly psychopathic. He is also a fan of Classical music, particularly Beethoven. They love nothing more than drinking special drug laced milk at the local milk bar, intimidation and mindless violence.

                    Alex however is getting too big for his boots and maybe a harsh lesson
                    is on it's way?

                    Conclusion
                    =======

                    The film is another landmark film in director Stanley Kubrick's career and the career of Malcolm McDowell who hasn't really surpassed it. It is certainly a world apart from previous film 2001. It is based on the short book of the same name by famous author Anthony Burgess.

                    Clockwork was withdrawn by Kubrick in the UK after he received death threats and copycat acts of violence occurred. Since his sad death in 2000 the film has been made available again, I'm not sure if he would approve but it gave us the chance to see what all the fuss was about.

                    Although set in the future, it still has 70's written all over it. The choice of locations is excellent, post modern concrete jungle in the most part. The future certainly isn't clean and tidy in this vision of the future. As with all of
                    Kubrick's work there is an obsessive level of attention to detail. Kubrick really pulls out all of his tricks on this film, none of them are gimmicks. Slow shots, tracking shots, hand held cameras, you name it and it's there. He really was a virtuoso.

                    The plot is very dark, however there are comedy moments, or should that be black comedy moments. Enjoying these comedy moments causes a sense of unease, we shouldn't really enjoy them as Alex is bad. I find myself rooting for Alex even knowing the terrible things he does, this is in many ways due to the excellent narration by McDowell.

                    Malcolm McDowell's performance in the lead role of Alex is exemplary, how much this is down to Kubrick's infamous number of takes and relentless pushing of his actors I can't say but the result is superb. He even ended up in hospital after filming one of the scenes. That's dedication to your work.

                    The language the gangs use to speak in is called Nadsat which is a little bit child like and is apparently a mix of British and Russian slang. It's certainly unique and is pretty easy to understand. The language was used in the book. It can be very funny at times, but it also shows serious things in an amusing way, which is in itself quite disturbing.

                    A notable performance here is an early appearance by Warren Clark as Dim, he is well known as Detective Dalziel from Dalziel and Pascoe. He hasn't changed much at all. There's a lot of British talent on show here, although none of them have really gone onto anything big in Hollywood.

                    Quite significantly the film doesn't make use of the of the final chapter of the book, apparently the US release did not include this chapter and this is the one Kubrick read. This makes a huge difference to the ending, it completely changes the message. I personally can't believe that he didn't know about the chapter, I think he chose to leave it out on purpose to give him the ending he liked much to Burgesses chagrin. Other than that it does remain reasonably close to the book. It is certainly very dark.

                    The music in the film is written by Wendy Carlos who specialises in electronic music. Most of her work here is to make electronic versions of famous classical pieces, especially Beethoven. The music is practically another character in the film.

                    Summing up, I really like this film, it's certainly not a feel good film. the violence is not as bad as you'd expect considering the controversy and it is justified in the context of the film. Kubrick's direction is excellent as are the performances. At over two hours long it isn't the shortest but certainly doesn't drag on, there is no filler here. Even though it looks dated sometimes, it has stood the test of time well. It's a film that makes you think long after it's finished, and that in my book is good.

                    Recommended.

                    Main Cast List
                    =========

                    Malcolm McDowell - Alex
                    Patrick Magee - Mr. Alexander
                    Michael Bates - Chief Guard
                    Warren Clarke - Dim

                    Directed By : Stanley Kubrick
                    Running Time : 136 Mins.
                    Certificate : 18

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                      23.03.2009 16:04
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                      Must see

                      Clockwork Orange is, and has been for a long time one of my favourite films ever made. I watched it years ago, and went on to watch it on stage (although trying to get through the book is proving a little bit more difficult), however, flicking through my DVD collection last night it occurred to me that I hadn't seen it in an awfully long time, it was time to get reacquainted.

                      Released in 1972 is was a very controversial film at the time, and even now, with people much more desensitised to the topics that run riot through the first half an hour it can still evoke powerful emotions. Such was the controversy surrounding this film, both in content and the actions that followed by the public later that Kubric withdrew his own film until his death and it was only re-released in 1999.

                      Plot

                      The film is centred around Alex (Malcolm McDowell), Alex is a good looking lad who has major perversions towards rape and violence but also adores the music of Beethoven, a charismatic young chap he is the leader of his own gang 'The Drooges', together they go round in the evenings committing crimes which seem to be more driven by the enjoyment than the financial gain.

                      The film sets out with a number of these pieces of violence which have made some people I know turn the film off and never understand the true brilliance that is conveyed. At the beginning you have 'The Drooges' beat a drunken singing man to a pulp in an alley way and also gain entry into a Writers home in the Countryside where they proceed to beat the writer and rape his wife in front of him.

                      However, Alex's gang seem to believe that they should be focusing their attentions on bigger fish and be reaping the more financial rewards that these can offer, following a fight between them Alex shows his authority once more and power is restored. However on a copy raid on another house Alex is betrayed, having gained entry into the house he murders the female inhabitant in the heat of the moment, only to be floored by his gang and left for the Police to pick up.

                      The rest of the film is Alex's run through the system, new treatment to stop violent criminals like him from re-offending and the repercussions of such lines of treatment.

                      The Message

                      The film is set in futuristic Britain and so it is not having a crack at the way society was being lived at a certain time, it may show some of the fears that existed by the general public at the time but many of the fears are still rife today. Lets start with the basic ones.

                      Alex's parents take almost no responsibility for him, while he is meant to be in a correctional school his mother simply allows him to spend the day in bed on the premise that he has a headache, there is also a conversation at the breakfast table between his mother and father where they ponder what he gets up to at night. We still have thugs on the streets now, and will have for years to come, these can be pre-teens who are allowed out after school and can be seen at any set of village shops around the country smoking and drinking, the question remains, what are the parents doing, and I believe that is a question that is directed in the film.

                      Alex, for all his charisma is pure evil, this is a man that given free choice will always be led by violence and rape, the idea of the film is to withdraw free will, force him to not be able to perform such actions and effectively make him into a mindless drone or as is stated later in the film 'a perfect Christian', but is this really the way forward, is the way to control society to simply remove free will from doing something that the state finds wrong, and hypothetically, where would it end?

                      The problem being as I believe Kubrick was trying to achieve, is that the mindless few who will be set on reaping terror, pain and anguish are unforgivable, the pain they cause by their actions you wonder if they will ever comprehend, but for the state it is a case of the men with the power can do and get away with what they like, often giving no regard for the individual and often doing more socially immoral things when viewing on the larger scale and the position of the power they are in.

                      Acting

                      The film from start to finish is based around Alex, and because of this I don't think it is relevant to type mindless pages about each cast member. Malcolm McDowell is inspirational from start to finish, performing both the crazed psychopath to the scared little boy who is in way over his depth.

                      He didn't receive wide recognition in terms of awards, however, taking what is a very difficult form of language to read and putting it across on film in a way that the audience understands is wonderful. Even in times of misery you sometimes feel yourself chuckling away to the personal actions and movements of Alex.

                      Overall

                      Still one of my favourite films of all time, IMDB has it as number 51 in their all time top 250, but compared to some of the other pieces in their I think that's wrong. This film will not cater for every type of audience though, and I can see why people would be offended by the opening scenes and not bother too much about the rest of the film, it is worth sticking with as a film and does turn into a truly fantastic movie.

                      Please do not let under 18's watch this, it was a controversial movie at the time, and still is today.

                      The fact that it is set in a futuristic Britain loses its edge a bit nowadays, nothing about the film looks futuristic, but more like a cross between 1960's decor and modern day slums. Apart from that because of the fact that it wasn't set at any particular date I think it holds its age quite well. In my humble opinion I would say this is a must see for anyone who considers themselves a film fan.


                      Buy new on blu-ray for £17.48 or on DVD for £4.18 (do it)

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                        26.09.2008 14:14
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                        Highly Recommended

                        Like a lot of his work, Stanley Kubrick's 'A Clockwork Orange'; a dystopian look at a future where young street hoodlums rule the night has a fascinating back story concerning its existence. Based on Anthony Burgess's 1962 novella of the same name, 'A Clockwork Orange' infuriated certain parties when released in the early seventies. This cause for the concern set alight by the film's wanton depiction of sex and violence, which was deemed too much at the time by some. Nevertheless, the BBFC passed it and allowed it to play in cinemas.

                        However, after some copycat, gang related crimes making headline news and personal threats, Stanley Kubrick decided to pull the film after a couple of years on release; one of the few instances where a film has been banned by its own director. 'A Clockwork Orange' didn't resurface until Kubrick's death in 1999 and has enjoyed a fresh run at cinemas and then VHS, DVD and now Blu-Ray.

                        The story is set in an unspecified future and follows the life and times of Alex de Large (Malcolm McDowell), a vicious young troublemaker who along with his gang of 'droogs' (Georgie, Dim and Pete) spends his nights beating, stealing from and raping the innocent and weak. This goes too far one day when Alex breaks into a health farm owned by a strange woman who keeps lots of cats. A struggle ensues and Alex kills her with a rather unusual weapon.

                        Now doing time in prison, Alex discovers Religion along with an experimental rehabilitation program which guarantees that the convict will be free in two weeks and never re-offend again. Brainwashed by the government, Alex is 'cured' and let back into the world incapable of moral thought and is left to the mercy of his many previous victims.

                        Once again, director Stanley Kubrick crafts a haunting future-scape with this film. A horrifying glimpse into a future where a government would rather have its society brainwashed to perfection than one that has freedom but with a few bad apples ruining it for the law abiding. This is aided by Kubrick's obsessive nature as a filmmaker, offering interesting performances from the film's cast and technically proficient camerawork; a well known staple throughout the Kubrick catalogue. Shots track and document with a certain dexterity and beauty adding to the nightmarish world that these characters dwell in.

                        Malcolm McDowell gives a career best as the vicious young Alex; one of cinema's great antiheroes, showing a dedication that is rarely seen nowadays. Such infamous scenes as the cinema room and the police beating where McDowell was put through incredibly tough conditions were seen through to the end (the former involving eye clamps that scratched his cornea, the latter involving submersion in a murky, water filled trough in the middle of winter).

                        'A Clockwork Orange' has also provided some of cinema's most evocative iconography. Aside from the two scenes previously mentioned, other standouts include the slow motion riverside walk and the Korova milk bar with its statues of naked, crab walking women used for tables and other statues of naked women dispensing milk through the nipples. There are a lot of sexual overtones in this film which must have been especially shocking back during its initial release. I interpret it as a society so desensitised to sex, violence and everything in between that it can be flaunted on the walls and nobody bats an eye. Bizarrely though, this is not an idea that is explored in the Burgess' book. Fans of the book can rest assured that this is a fairly faithful interpretation of the book, by Kubrick's standards at least ('The Shining' film is significantly different to Stephen King's novel for example). In fact, it works quite well as a companion piece to the novella, offering new ideas and thoughts about Burgess' original vision.

                        Like always, Kubrick pays incredible attention to detail, making some stylistic changes (changing the clothes that the droogs wear from black to white) and embracing others. The Nadsat - a fictional street language invented by Burgess that is a fusion of Russian, rhyming slang, Gypsy and Shakespearian dialect - is present albeit a little watered down as Kubrick adapted his script from the abridged American version of the book. This isn't hugely detrimental as it makes things more accessible for newcomers to the material.

                        The film is bleak in subject matter but vibrant in appearance. Bright and crazy furniture and artwork populate the film's locations, almost completely hiding the film's low budget limitations. The violence (which caused great outrage in the past) may appear tame by those weened on modern horror, gore-porn opuses; however, it still packs an emotional punch. Being beaten and raped in the comfort of your own home is still a chilling prospect no matter how 'tame' it may appear to some. The film hasn't lost any of its visceral wallop and may still be too much for some. Caution is advised. But unlike the modern pap of today, there is a message here, an exploration of themes and ideas that only a filmmaker like Stanley Kubrick dare expose.

                        The most endearing quality about 'A Clockwork Orange' is perhaps the debate its content inspires: do we live in a world where we can have choice but there are those who choose to abuse this freedom or do we live in a strictly governed crime free environment where choice is narrowed down? Its all swings and roundabouts; each stance is flawed but which is the lesser of two evils? Criticisers of 'A Clockwork Orange's' depiction of sexual violence frequently forget that it is violence with a point, an ugly means to potentially uglier end. It still bears relevance to this day I think; just take a look at the ever increasing nanny state style in which we live, constant surveillance etc. Also, look at the rise in youth crime; someone can get stabbed now for trying to move on a group of kids loitering outside their house. The film serves as a chilling precursor for things to come and it will probably get worse before it gets better.

                        I whole heartedly recommend 'A Clockwork Orange'. It is one of my personal favourite films that only seems to get better with age. Provocative and daring, it asks its audience to think, even though a lot of people forgot to do that back during its seventies release and just got sucked into the violence/depravity argument that still circulates to this day, missing the point completely. I urge you to watch this, even if it's something you'd not otherwise be "into". Regardless of liking or disliking the film it is nevertheless an important and sometimes overlooked piece of cinema. Stimulating and thought provoking, this film is far from forgettable and not for the squeamish.

                        Film Specs
                        Director: Stanley Kubrick
                        Year: 1971
                        Language: English
                        Time Approx: 137 minutes
                        Certificate: 18

                        -Markula-

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                          13.04.2008 05:25
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                          A cinematic classic.

                          - A CLOCKWORK ORANGE -


                          Released in 1971. Genre Crime/Drama/Thriller. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Starring Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee and Michael Bates. Based on the 1962 book of the same name written by Anthony Burgess. BBFC Rating: 18. Running time: 136 Minutes.

                          Clockwork Orange is one of the most shocking, controversial and mesmerising films that I have ever seen. Stanley Kubrick's future-shock vision screen adaptation brings to life accurately and masterfully the same name novel by Anthony Burgess. Adhering strictly to the book, Clockwork Orange both astounds and enthrals.-


                          Clockwork Orange follows the lives of a group of young thugs ('The Droogs', Russian for friend or buddy) who are lead by the charismatic and arrogant psychopath, Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell). The Droogs terrorise people, for money, sexual pleasure and just plain kicks and they instil fear and create havoc wherever they go. With nihilistic lifestyle and anti establishment values that shun authority, the Droogs rape, mug, attack and stick two fingers up hard and fast to any form of authority. Retaliating against conformity they use their own private language called 'Nadsat' and they communicate to each other in this mix of Russian, corrupted English and Cockney Rhyming slang throughout the film.

                          The leader of the gang, Alex, is a deranged personality of no moral conscience. His mindless acts of violence are orchestrated totally devoid of any form of compassion or rationalisation. He and his gang strut around the streets of futuristic Britain wearing bowler hats, canes and strange black eye make-up comprising of large lower lashes, with bloody eyeballs hanging off their sleeves, the gang give forth an alarming and bizarre appearance. Alex cuts a particularly frightening figure because he is a young man capable of any degree or form of violence, with no aforethought or responsibility of action.

                          Ruling the streets, the Droogs wander about seeking out violent activity for their entertainment, an action known to them as 'Ultraviolence'. Drugged up to their mascared eyeballs on a mixture of milk and drugs which they call 'vellocet', they posture and strut around the streets appearing like performers within a play, looking for a scene to act out their violence within. The Droogs provoke, ridicule and parody their victims before they go in for the kill. Ultraviolence is their 'Sport' and the gang hunt for their unsuspecting prey wherever they go. Set in a futuristic Britain Clockwork Orange is a surreal visual masterpiece, a modern day Opera. Brilliantly orchestrated by Stanley Kubrick.

                          The film draws inspiration from a highly imaginative mind and the results are therefore fascinating to watch. The scenes play out as a stage production, as Alex tap dances his way through a vicious mindless attack on a helpless victim whilst the happy strains of Singing in the rain' serenade us we are forced to watch someone take the battering of their life. I think that this effect is applied to make us feel the impact of the scene consciously without added dramatic music or sound effect to heighten our sense of horror at what we are witnessing. But instead to view it on a conscious level and not because the directors tools tell us that what we are witnessing is wrong. There is also a lot of use of subliminal messaging going on throughout the film, and snapshots and fast cut collages with images of Hitler and Nazis. The film often slows down the motion at pivitol points, and then cranks the speed up again to full speed ahead. Giving Clockwork Orange its dream like fantasy, merry go round feel. There is also quite a bit of use of the fisheye lens to heighten this effect.

                          What I love about Clockwork Orange is its clean cut lines, its beautiful shots. It is compelling to watch with its absolutely stunning cinematography. The film is horrifically perfect in every way, there are no rough edges. Stanley Kubrick is a perfectionist and it shines through in this film. The scene of the attack within the house is stunning cinema. I loved it for the staging and choreographing of sequence. Amazing and unforgettable images assault our vision. With Beethoven's Ninth Symphony aiding in the contrast between the visual violence we are watching accompanied by the audible beauty of classical music. There are startling musical counterpoints used within the film with stark imagery and contradictory messages of right and wrong. The soundtrack is amazing with much use of classical music and the William Tell Overture used to accompany a savage rape scene. The films message is quite clear. Are the government to blame? or the thugs on the street? Shifts in belief continue throughout from the government as they rebel against totalitarianism and fight against the use of behaviour modification and dehumanisation.

                          The underlying message I got from the film was who was right? And who was wrong? Were the thugs on the street just a product of the ruling powers? There is a real Russian motif running through the film with many references. The bar where they get their milk is the Korova milk bar, the singer mentioned in the record store is Johnny Zhivago, their language Nadset' is a mixture of slang and Russian. Could it be that the titular government fear that Britain is becoming less of a free state, with lack of free speech and their decision making being stifled? Where control over their fellow man is going against the grain. Or are communistic values already instilled? An Ironical and satirical swipe at political hypocrisy, and values, Clockwork Orange is both shocking and hypnotising. Narrated in Nadsat language by Alex for most of the film adds weight to the unusual premise. A highly brilliant performance by Malcolm McDowel as the deranged Alex. He breathed the role, with staring eyes and a ridiculous sneering smile, he also gave out a certain charm, attractiveness and vulnerability as the classical music loving thug.

                          Clockwork Orange gives us the choice; which is preferable? Being bad by free will? Or being good by command? Hugely controversial with extreme sexual violence when it was first released the film was blamed for a spate of copycat murders that sprang up depicting a scene within the film. Clockwork Orange was also blamed by the press for a rape which took place after the film was released when the attackers sang 'Singing in the Rain' whilst committing their crime. Kubrick immediately requested the film to be withdrawn from UK distribution. Effectively banning his own film. Subsequently though it was revealed in a television documentary made after Kubrick's death that his widow Christiane stated that A Clockwork Orange was banned on police advice after threats were made against Kubrick and his family. The film remained under ban for 27 years and was only lifted upon Kubrick's death in 1999.


                          Indicative of society today with its mindless violence where old ladies are mugged and even raped, beaten and kicked to a pulp, perhaps Clockwork Orange wasn't too ahead of its time in its portrayal of the future after all. -


                          - SOUNDTRACK -
                          "The Thieving Magpie Overture"
                          Composed by Gioacchino Rossini
                          Recorded by Deutsche Grammophon

                          "Symphony No.9 in D Minor, Opus 125"
                          Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
                          Recorded by Deutsche Grammophon
                          "William Tell Overture"
                          Composed by Gioacchino Rossini
                          Recorded by Deutsche Grammophon

                          "Pomp and Circumstance March No.I"
                          Composed by Edward Elgar
                          Conducted by Marcus Dods
                          "Pomp and Circumstance March No.IV"
                          Composed by Edward Elgar
                          Conducted by Marcus Dods

                          "Overture to the Sun"
                          Composed by Terry Tucker
                          "I Want to Marry a Lighthouse Keeper"
                          Written by Erika Eigen
                          Performed by Erika Eigen

                          "Singin' In the Rain"
                          Written by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown
                          Performed by Gene Kelly

                          Starring Malcolm McDowell

                          Directed by
                          Stanley Kubrick
                          Produced by Stanley Kubrick
                          Written by
                          Anthony Burgess
                          Stanley Kubrick
                          Music by Wendy Carlos
                          Cinematography John Alcott

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                            19.12.2007 21:25
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                            Overview of movie

                            There is something subversively appealing about art media that becomes banned even for a short while and "A Clockwork Orange" is just such a movie that's fascinated me for years. Following its release in 1971, the movie adaptation of Anthony's Burgess's 1962 novel of the same name was eventually withdrawn from UK cinemas following a string of copycat acts of violence and threats made to the director Stanley Kubrick and his family. Some 27 years after its original release, a version of the movie was re-released on VHS and DVD following Kubrick's death. I finally caught up with the controversial film a short while ago.

                            Set in 1992 (as opposed to 2017 in the book), Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) is a teenage boy who is the charismatic leader of his gang, the droogs. Often loaded up on narcotic-laden milk, the gang pursue an existence of contemporary violence, brutality and rape. Narrating in nadsat, a mix of Slavic, English and cockney rhyming slang, Alex weaves an evocative tale of seemingly pointless ultra violence and conscience-less expressions of physical chaos. As the gang's acts become more extreme, they trick their way into a writer's home, raping his wife and forcing him to watch whilst singing the Gene Kelly classic "Singin' in the rain". With tension in the group rising, Alex suppresses his friends by assaulting them and bending them to his will but following a similar incursion into a woman's house, the gang sell their leader out, leaving him stranded after he accidentally beats the owner to death. Subsequently arrested and convicted, Alex is chosen for a government experiment aimed at rehabilitating criminals by using aversion therapy. Allegedly cured and released, Alex comes to reap the consequences of his former acts.

                            "A Clockwork Orange" is a cacophony of disturbing, violent imagery designed to provoke a social debate about the limits of free will. It's easy to see why the movie was banned for so long. With not one but two graphic scenes of rape, a constant theme of extreme violence and a speeded up sex scene set to the William Tell Overture, the film will be simply too much for many even now. For a movie from the early 70's, the sets look typically understated for that time, allowing for the film's budget of $2million. With Stanley Kubrick producing, directing and co-writing the screenplay, the movie is the vehicle of one of the cinema's great exponents of the visual arts and with a strong cast and an extraordinary performance from the male lead, Malcolm McDowell, the film poses thoughtful and challenging questions about the rights of an individual as contrasted with the rights of the majority.

                            The translation from book to movie is successful, certainly in terms of asking the questions that the book wanted to raise. Drawn from a Cockney expression ""as queer as a clockwork orange" the central tenet is one of free will and the notion that, in Burgess's terms, "...a creature who can only perform good or evil is a clockwork orange - meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with color and juice, but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil; or the almighty state." Ultimately, is one's ability to perform socially abhorrent acts preferable to the inability to carry out the same having been made incapable of free will even though that might comply with the moral code of the majority and society as a whole? Whilst the answer may seem obvious to start off with, the story renders doubt in the audience's mind as the plot progresses and events unfold following Alex's apparent rehabilitation.

                            There are some familiar faces from that cinematic era. Irish actor Patrick Magee plays the vengeful writer, Mr Alexander (who has THE most maniacal of expressions in some of the later scenes); Warren Clarke (best known for playing Dalziel in the BBC's "Dalziel and Pascoe") plays Dim, one of the rampant droogs and Michael Bates pops up as the chief guard. However, "A Clockwork Orange" will always be best known for the wild-eyed intensity of Malcolm McDowell's lead. Narrating with an iambic lilt, McDowell navigates the extremes of emotion and is as convincing a psychopath as you will see whilst exuding a certain charm.

                            Music is important to the general theme of the movie and with Beethoven, Purcell and Rossini all featured, there's a certain wordless edge to a number of the key scenes. With synthesizer pieces from Wendy Carlos lending a futuristic feel to proceedings, a combination of classical and contemporary music blends to underline a dystopian setting in which social violence is commonplace and the moral fabric of society is in question. The youthful lead takes us on an uncomfortable journey of unfettered brutality and later on, recalcitrant timidity, with no shortage of social comment made; none less than Alex's subsequent encounter, post-prison, with two former droogs who are now in the police force but whose behaviour blurs the line between upholders of an acceptable, behavioral framework and those who would corrupt it from within (they nearly drown him in a trough of water because, well, they can). The closing reels provide the doubt that the script seeks to find as McDowell's final, crazed smile leaves a lingering ambiguity in the audience's mind.

                            With an 18 certificate and a run time of 136 minutes, "A Clockwork Orange" is a powerful, shocking urban drama that poses a fascinating moral dilemma. Nominated for 4 Oscars and with a string of other awards, the movie is a frighteningly raw installment of cinematic history. Watch it for McDowell's amazing performance; watch it to see how a question with a seemingly obvious, black and white answer can be made into something far more controversial and ultimately painted with several shades of grey. "A Clockwork Orange" is not an easy film to watch and absolutely one for adults but if you watch one more film this year, make it this one.

                            Thanks for reading

                            Mara

                            DVD available at Amazon from £3.98

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                              16.07.2007 17:45
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                              kubricks masterpiece

                              a clockwork orange. First watched it for the contraversy that surrounded it when first released. Thought that it would be poor, but with lots of gore, but when it gets down to it the film is a masterpiece in terms both of its shock factor, but also the sheer feel it gives you.

                              The film is violent, and not for the faint hearted, but the most disconcerting thing about it is that this surreal look at the future could actually happen!!

                              The film starts in themoloko milk bar, which is where alex and his loyal droogs meet up before a night of the old ultra violence. Basically the unstable alex leads his droogs with an iron fist, into violent situations, and scenes of rape, and all is dandy until he accidentally kills one of his victems, and is held at her majesties pleasure. During this time he hears of a new treatment which might 'cure' him but more importantly get out earlier. He is accepted for the treatment where his brain is washed. however the real twist is at the end, and i am obviously not going to spoil that.

                              Directed by the legendary stanley kubrick, it is his defining moment, and is undoubtedly one of the best bits of cinematography out there, and still looks as good today as it did originally. Malcolm Mcdowell's performance as alex is spellbinding, he sucks you into his world, and encapsulates you into believing that this nightmarish view of the future might become a reality. Do not watch if you are easily offended. By the way it is for sale in tesco at the minute for three pounds, so you cant go wrong. Thanks G

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                                04.01.2007 00:51
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                                Classic Kubrick

                                I only saw this film when it was screened on television for the first time a few years ago, it has recently been shown on Film 4. A Clockwork Orange is a disturbing powerful satire based on Anthony Burgess's experimental novel in which contemporary society is overrun by gang violence. Instead of hoodies the culprits are 'droogs' who wear bowler hats and codpieces and terrorise the neighbourhood with their 'ultraviolence'.

                                Malcolm McDowell, who plays the film's main protagonist Alex, gives a gripping performance as both narrator and actor. Set in the near future, the film starts by portraying the life of Alex and his gang - Dim, George and Pete - as they prowl the streets at night in search the victims of their criminal deviance and to fulfil their warped sense of pleasure by performing violent acts upon them. Later in the story Alex is imprisoned long term for a serious crime but is offered an early parole if he is willing to undergo the Ludovico Technique; an experimental aversion therapy, developed by the government to solve societal crime.

                                The film attempts to tackle universal themes of morality such as the concepts of good and evil, the longing for revenge, the relationship between violence and sexuality, and the notion of free will. It also reflects Burgess' disapproval of the psychological theory of behaviourism that was popularized in the 1950s and 1960s by writers such as B. F. Skinner. The film in a way presents a dichotomy of evil; on the one hand the evil that exists inside the individual and the evil of the state as it tries to inhibit free will.

                                Director Kubrick skilfully manipulates the emotions of the viewer by at first making us feel disgust at the violence committed by Alex and his Droogs only to later feel sorry for him as he himself becomes a helpless victim of his psychological conditioning. The poor soul even ends up being unable to listen to his favourite music: good old Ludwig van.

                                One of the things I love about this film is the unique language of the script. Alex narrates most of the film in "nadsat". Burgess designed this adolescent lingo by mixing aspects of Russian, English, and Cockney rhyming slang.

                                I also like the sublime sound track that comprises classical music and electronic synthetic music composed by Wendy Carlos. The classical pieces include: "The Thieving Magpie and the William Tell Overture (Rossini), Ninth Symphony, Fourth Movement (Beethoven) and Pomp and Circumstance (Elgar).

                                Given the fact that it was made in the early 1970s I expected the film to appear slightly dated but in my opinion it stands up to the test on time fairly well. The film's well documented infamous notoriety for its depiction of gratuitous violence may continue to be a turn off for members of the Christian Coalition but I feel that at least the violence committed by the Droogs is presented as something truly damaging and sinister, unlike the diet of mindless blood and gore that Hollywood constantly churns out. Although this film might be a bit too ultra erotic and violent for some, in my opinion it's definitely one to see before you're pushing up daisies.

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                              • Product Details

                                The controversy that surrounded Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Anthony Burgess's dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange while the film was out of circulation suggested that it was like Romper Stomper: a glamorisation of the violent, virile lifestyle of its teenage protagonist, with a hypocritical gloss of condemnation to mask delight in rape and ultra-violence. Actually, it is as fable-like and abstract as The Pilgrim's Progress, with characters deliberately played as goonish sitcom creations. The anarchic rampage of Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a bowler-hatted juvenile delinquent of the future, is all over at the end of the first act. Apprehended by equally brutal authorities, he changes from defiant thug to cringing bootlicker, volunteering for a behaviourist experiment that removes his capacity to do evil.It's all stylised: from Burgess' invented pidgin Russian (snarled unforgettably by McDowell) to 2001-style slow tracks through sculpturally perfect sets (as with many Kubrick movies, the story could be told through decor alone) and exaggerated, grotesque performances on a par with those of Dr Strangelove (especially from Patrick Magee and Aubrey Morris). Made in 1971, based on a novel from 1962, A Clockwork Orange resonates across the years. Its future is now quaint, with Magee pecking out "subversive literature" on a giant IBM typewriter and "lovely, lovely Ludwig Van" on mini-cassette tapes. However, the world of "Municipal Flat Block 18A, Linear North" is very much with us: a housing estate where classical murals are obscenely vandalised, passers-by are rare and yobs loll about with nothing better to do than hurt people. On the DVD: The extras are skimpy, with just an impressionist trailer in the style of the film used to brainwash Alex and a list of awards for which Clockwork Orange was nominated and awarded. The box promises soundtracks in English, French and Italian and subtitles in ten languages, but the disc just has two English soundtracks (mono and Dolby Surround 5.1) and two sets of English subtitles. The terrific-looking "digitally restored and remastered" print is letterboxed at 1.66:1 and on a widescreen TV plays best at 14:9. The film looks as good as it ever has, with rich stable colours (especially and appropriately the orangey-red of the credits and the blood) and a clarity that highlights previously unnoticed details such as Alex's gouged eyeball cufflinks and enables you to read the newspaper articles which flash by. The 5.1 soundtrack option is amazingly rich, benefiting the nuances of performance as much as the classical/electronic music score and the subtly unsettling sound effects. --Kim Newman