Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange
-1971 film adaptation of the 1962 novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess
-Features disturbing, violent images relating to psychiatry, gangs, and is set in a dystopian, future Britain

Did You Know?
-Anthony Burgess had sold the movie rights to Mick Jagger for $500 when he needed quick cash. Jagger intended to make it with The Rolling Stones as the droogs, but the resold the rights for a much larger amount.
-During the filming of the Ludovico treatment, Malcolm McDowell scratched one of his corneas and was temporarily blinded. He also cracked a couple ribs during the humiliation scene
-1 of only 2 movies with an X rating to get a nomination for Best Picture at the Academy Awards
-Filming the rape scene was so difficult that the actress originally cast quit the part and actress Adrienne Corri was cast.
-Mick Jagger was actually considered for the role of Alex and the rest of The Rolling Stones were to be cast as Alex's 'droogs'
-The name 'clockwork orange' is a Cockney slang phrase for a gambling machine in England
-The car used by Alex and his gang is an Adams Probe 16, only 1 of 3 ever made
-Alexander, Peter, Dimitri were common names of Russian kings and princes and Georgie(Gyorgi) was their patron saint
-Malcolm McDowell's eyes were numbed with anesthesia for the torture scene so he would not be in any pain, but that did not stop the metal lock lids from scratching his corneas.
-The doctor standing over Alex while he is forced to watch violent images is a real doctor who was keeping a close eye on Malcolm to make sure his eyes did not dry up
-In 1973, there were 2 copycat crimes which prompted to have the movie withdrawn from the UK. The first was of the rape of a Dutch girl in Lancashire in 1973 while men sang Singing in the Rain and the beating of a 16 year old boy who had beaten a younger child while wearing the uniform Alex wore: white overalls, black combat boots and a black bowler hat. The 16 year old beat the child with a baseball bat called The Ultra-Violence Stick
-One of the highest grossing movies of 1971
-The character of Alex was supposed to be a 14 year old, but Malcolm McDowell was actually 27 when he played the role.

-In London, Alex DeLarge(Malcolm McDowell) is the leader of his "Droogs", Pete(Michael Tarn), Georgie(James Marcus) and Dim(Warren Clarke), one of the many youth gangs in the broken down future. One night after getting drunk on something they call "milk plus", they engage in an evening of "ultra violence", which includes beating an elderly vagrant(Paul Farrell) and fighting a rival gang led by Billyboy(Richard Connaught). Stealing a car, they all drive to the home of a writer named F. Alexander(Patrick Macgee), where they beat Mr. Alexander to the point of crippling him, and then Alex rapes his wife(Adrienne Corri) while singing Singin' in the Rain

-The next day, while gone from school, Alex is approached by probation officer Mr. P.R. Deltoid(Aubrey Morris), who is very well aware of Alex's violence and warns him. After the events of the previous night, his gang express anger with Alex's petty crimes, wanting more equality and more high yield thefts. Alex rethinks his leadership by attacking them and throwing them into a canal. That night, Alex invades the mansion of a rich woman(Miriam Karlin). While his gang remain at the front door, Alex beats the woman with a statue. Hearing police sirens, Alex tries to run away, but is betrayed by his gang. Dim smashes a pint bottle of milk across his face, leaving him stunned and bleeding. Alex is captured and beaten to within an inch of his life by the police. Deltoid, gloating at this, spits in his face anad informs him of the woman he beat died in the hospital, making him a kilelr. Alex is then sentenced to 14 years in prison

-2 years in to the sentence, 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 within 2 weeks; Alex volunteers. The process involves drugging the subject, strapping him to a chair, propping his eyelids open and forcing him to watch violent movies. Alex, initially pleased by the images, then becomes nauseated due to the drugs; and he starts to realize the music of the movies are from his favorite composer, Ludwig van Beethoven and that the Ludovico technique will make him sick when he hears the music he loves. He tries, unsuccessfully to end the treatment

-After 2 weeks of the treatment, the Minister of the Interior puts on a demo to prove Alex is cured. He is shown to be incapable of fighting back against a man(John Clive) that insults and attacks him, and becomes violently sick at the sight of a topless woman(Virginia Wetherell). Though the prison chaplain(Godfrey Quigley) protests the results saying "there's no morality without choice", the prison governor(Michael Gover) assesses they are not interested in the morality but only the means to prevent violence.
-Alex is released and discovers that his possessions have been taken by the police to help make restitution to his victims and his parents rented out his room. He encounters the same elderly man from before, who beats him several of his friends. Alex is saved by 2 policemen but is shocked to find they are 2 of his former gang members, Dim and Georgie. They drag Alex to the countryside, where they beat him and attempt to drown him. The stunned Alex wanders the countryside before coming to the home of Mr. Alexander and collapses. He wakes up to find himself being treated by Mr. Alexander and his manservant Julian(David Prowse). Mr. Alexander does not remember Alex from the earlier attack but has read about his treatment in the papers, and sees Alex as a political weapon to bring down the government, exposing the Ludovico treatment as a step towards totalitarianism by way of mind control. As Mr. Alexander prepares to introduce Alex to fellow colleagues(John Savident and Margaret Tyzack), he hears Alex singing Singin' in the Rain in the bath, and the memories of the assault return. With the help of his colleagues, Mr. Alexander drugs Alex and places him in a locked upstairs bedroom, playing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony through the floor below. Alex, in excruciating pain, throws himself from the window and is knocked unconscious from the fall.

-He wakes up in the hospital, having dreamt about doctors messing around in his head. While being given a series of psychological tests, Alex finds he has no longer an aversion to violence. The Minister of the Interior arrives and apologizes to Alex, letting him know that Mr. Alexander has been put away and offers Alex an important government job. As a sign of goodwill, the Minister brings in a stereo system playing Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Alex realizes that instead of an adverse reaction to music, he sees an image of himself having sex with a woman in front of an approving crowd. He then states "I was cured all right!"

Malcolm McDowell as Alex DeLarge/Narrator
James Marcus as Georgie
Warren Clarke as Dim Corby
Michael Tarn as Pete
Patrick Magee as Mr. Frank Alexander
Adrienne Corri as Mrs. Mary Alexander
Michael Bates as Chief Guard Barnes
John Clive as Stage actor
Carl Duering as Dr. Brodsky
Paul Farrell as Tramp
Billy Russell as Professor attacked by Droogs in Library (scenes deleted)
Richard Connaught as Billyboy, Gang Leader
Clive Francis as Joe the Lodger
Michael Gover as Prison Governor
Miriam Karlin as Miss Weathers, Cat Lady
Aubrey Morris as Mr. P. R. Deltoid
Godfrey Quigley as Prison Chaplain
Sheila Raynor as Mum
Madge Ryan as Dr. Branom
John Savident as Conspirator
Anthony Sharp as Frederick, Minister of the Interior
Pauline Taylor as Dr. Taylor, psychiatrist
Margaret Tyzack as Conspirator Rubinstein
Steven Berkoff as Detective Constable Tom
John J. Carney as Detective Sergeant
Lindsay Campbell as Police Inspector
David Prowse as Julian, Mr. Alexander's bodyguard


-The film's central question is the definition of goodness and whether it is logical to use aversion theory to stop immoral behavior.

-Behavior psychology. Showing the rehabilitated Alex being repelled by both sex and violence, the movie suggests that in depriving him of his ability to fend for himself, Alex's moral conditioning has dehumanised him
-The Ludovico treatment has been compared to chemical castration

-The attack on the tramp was filmed at the southern underpass below Wandsworth Bridge roundabout, London
-The Billyboy gang fight occurs at the now destroyed casino on Taggs Island, in Kingston upon Thames
-The record store where Alex picks up the 2 women was in the former Chelsea Drugstore, on King's Road.
-Alex throws Dim and Georgie into a lake at the Thameshead South Housing Estate, London. This is the same place where Alex walks home at night kicking trash
-The house where Alex is caught by the police is Shenley Lodge, in Hertfordshire, at Blackhorse Lane
-Alex is attacked by the vagrants under the north side of the Albert Bridge, in Kensington and Chelsea, London
-The check in at Ludovico Medical Clinic entrance, the brain washing theater, Alex's house lobby with broken elevator, Alex's bedroom and police interrogation room are all at Brunel University
-The Minister's presentation to the media of Alex's cure takes place at the Nettlefold Hall inside West Norwood Library.

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