Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Clockwork Orange (1971)



A Clockwork Orange is a 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. To underline the assaultive nature of the film's content, much of its camera work is deliberately in-out, with few pans or much lateral/horizontal movement. Because of the copy-cat violence that the film was blamed for, Kubrick withdrew it from circulation in Britain about a year after its release. [Shortly after the ban was instituted, a 17-year old Dutch girl was raped in 1973 in Lancashire, at the hands of men singing Singing in the Rain. And a 16-year-old boy had beaten a younger child while wearing Alex's uniform of white overalls, black bowler hat and combat boots. Both were considered 'proof', after the fact, that the film had an influential effect on violence in society.] In preparation for a new 1972 release for US audiences, Kubrick replaced about 30 seconds of footage to get an R-rating, as opposed to the X-rating that the MPAA initially assigned to it. (The replacement footage was for two scenes: the high-speed orgy scene in Alex's bedroom, and the rape scene projected at the Ludovico Medical Center.) In the spring of 2000, an uncut version of the film was re-released to British screens.

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