a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, A Clockwork Orange (1971), starring Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee and Michael Bates.
Per IMDb: “In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society’s crime problem – but not all goes according to plan.”
The fancy-speaking, bowler-wearing and Beethoven-loving Alex DeLarge (McDowell) leads a small gang of miscreants into debauchery, chaos and destruction. From bums to rich elitists, even to rival gangs, Alex and his droogs make no exceptions when it comes to beating or raping or pillaging. Alex is a ruthless leader and really is no friend of the gang he commands. He skips school, womanizes and has a power trip. When his “friends” try to perform a coup, he sets them straight. They get revenge, however, by setting him up to be captured, in the act of a crime, by the police.
The government has developed a new therapy to rehabilitate young Alex including torture and brainwashing. Of course, religion plays a part of this. They even manage to use his beloved “Ludwig van” against him. They showed him videos of violence and rape while clamping his eyes while a lab assistant constantly put drops in them. Serums, shots, Beethoven, films and torment. Does this aversion therapy work? Of course, you’ll have to watch to find out.
Stanley Kubrick was a master of his art. This art may be somewhat abstract and difficult to follow at times, and A Clockwork Orange is certainly that, at least upon first viewing. Luckily, this was about the fourth time I’ve seen it and it made more sense. I think the previous viewings were hard for me to understand because I focused on the abstract and not the actual story. The ambience of the film isn’t so much random as it is bizarre. The visuals are vivid and brilliant but doesn’t make much sense without the story line. I know that can be said of most films but Kubrick, and I suppose author of the book, Anthony Burgess, took this to extremes and one can get lost in it. It’s almost cartoonish and comedic in some very serious parts. It also was anti-establishment and dystopian in nature.
I love the language in the film called “Nadsat,” which according to Wikipedia is “a fractured adolescent slang composed of Slavic (especially Russian), English, and Cockney rhyming slang.” Some of the language is very hard to follow but in the fourth watch, it makes more sense; well somewhat more. I first saw the film (not counted in the watch count) back in the early 80s on HBO and I really had no clue what was going on but there was nudity and that included full-frontal so I didn’t have to know what was going on. I’m still like that with some films. I didn’t know what they were saying and as a 12-13 year old, I didn’t care. There was nudity and that was what mattered.
A cue for Star Wars fans, Julian, the body building assistant of the writer later in the film is David Prowse who was the body actor that played Darth Vader. He is a huge figure and actually carries Patrick Magee in a wheelchair like it’s nothing. This was the role that George Lucas saw that made him want Prowse for the part of Vader.
It was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Director (Kubrick), Film Editing, Picture, Adapted Screenplay. Unfortunately, it won none of them. This film isn’t available on Netflix streaming right now, it’s on DVD.com. But, if you’re an Amazon Prime customer, it’s available for free, streaming there, which is how I watched it. Rotten Tomatoes has the film as 90% Fresh with an Audience Score of 93%. IMDb has it 8.4 stars out of 10. It was #46 on the 1998 version of AFI‘s 100 Years… 100 Movies list and #70 on the 2007 version. I don’t know exactly where it would rank but I’d say A Clockwork Orange is in my Top 20 of all time. I rate the film 4.75 stars. Have you seen it? Do you agree? What would you like to see or hear me review?
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening. 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 ultra-violence.” – Alex DeLarge