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CLOCKWORK ORANGE, A

SYNOPSIS:
Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a teenage hooligan in a near-future Britain, leads three other youths in a rampage of violence and rape, until one audacious attack in a private home is interrupted by the police – but not before Alex attacks the owner, a feisty woman who pays dearly for her bravery. Alex is tried and jailed. After two years, he volunteers to be a guinea pig for the latest experiemntal aversion therapy proposed by the government to make room in prisons for political prisoners. "Cured" of his hooliganism and released, he is rejected by his friends and relatives. Eventually nearly dying, he becomes a major embarrassment for the government, who arrange to cure him of his cure. A pivotal moment is when he and his gang break into an author's home: the book he is writing (called "A Clockwork Orange") is a plea against the use of aversion therapy, on the grounds that it turns people into Clockwork Oranges (Ourang is Malay for "Man"): they are not being good from choice (sentiments later echoed by the prison chaplain).

"In the spirit of George Orwell's 1984, Anthony Burgess wrote this book as a warning about the direction that Britain seemed to be headed. Now, of course, it looks like alarmist over-reaction. Still, there are valid fears expressed about the potential for authority to manipulate elements in society ‘for the greater good’ and it pays to be always aware of that danger. Not that this celebrated film is didactic and overtly political; at first glance it is violent in a particularly brutal way, even by today’s standards, and also sexually graphic. Confronting it was – and still is, over 25 years later. Its stark use of colours throughout, offbeat production design elements and the notoriously counter-programmed soundtrack featuring Singing in the Rain as accompaniment to a bashing and rape, as well as Beethoven, Elgar, Rimsky-Korsakov and Rossini, continue to make it a fascinating, unnerving film, edgy and paranoid, seductive and repulsive all at once. Kubrick has compared Alex to Richard III; a man you should loath and fear, yet we find ourselves drawn into his world, seeing him as the victim, not the aggressor. The first half of the film is sensational filmmaking, gripping and invigorating; the second half slumps under the weight of its exposition in pursuit of its socio-political warnings. Nonetheless, it is one of the most memorable British films ever made, and one that is still valid, entertaining (in its own way) and peppered with many extraordinary scenes."
Andrew L. Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

VIDEO RELEASE: November 7, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

CLOCKWORK ORANGE, A (1971)
(UK)
Re-release

CAST: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke, John Clive, Adrienne Corri, Carl Duering, Paul Farrell, Clive Francis, Michael Gover, Miriam Karlin, James Marcus, Aubrey Morris, Godfrey Quigley, Sheila Raynor

DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Stanley Kubrick

SCRIPT: Anthony Burgess, Stanley Kubrick

CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Alcott

EDITOR: William Butler

MUSIC: Wendy Carlos, Henry Purcell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Barry

RUNNING TIME: 137 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 18, 1998 (Syd, Melb)







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