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Richard Kaufman

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It's defiantly uncomfortable to watch. Scenes of sexual violence against women always make me head toward the exit. I found few qualities in this film that redeemed its horror.
 

Ken Koc

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I was an usher in San Diego at the Valley Circle theater where Clockwork Orange played for 13 weeks. I must have watched it 100 times. The violence was too stylized to bother me in 1972, as opposed to Straw Dogs. The entire theater staff learned and danced the Singing' in the Rain sequence. It was great fun for both the male and female staff. I have fond memories ...I was 20. BTW the audience always laughed and no one ever walked out..
 

Kyle_D

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I’ve never taken it that way.

I do think he’s saying that we cannot force people to change. We can abhor Alex’s actions, we can incarcerate him for crimes against society, we can give him the chance to rehabilitate himself, or we can do none of that. But what we cannot do is force him to change himself; that decision to change has to come from within - and I don’t think Kubrick closes the door on that possibility. Indeed, by showing that his droogs became productive members of society, Kubrick shows it is possible to change one’s ways. The treatment Alex is given may have been intended as rehabilitation, but it’s ultimately proven to be revenge instead. Alex being chemically forced into changing his behavior isn’t real change. Alex is tortured after his treatment and unable to defend himself, which is no more permissible in a civilized society than Alex’s crimes were. By enabling this torture, the state becomes as horrific a monster as Alex himself is. That can not be permissible. As tempting or as sensible or as necessary as it might seem, we cannot become a monster to defeat a monster - I think that is more Kubrick’s point than “Alex can’t help himself and that’s that.” If we are to live in a free society, we must be free to make choices, even if those are the wrong choices - and wrong choices should have consequences, of course - but we cannot cure ourselves of what ails us by brainwashing our citizenry. And if it is true that Alex may be beyond redemption - and that’s a reasonable conclusion to consider when we’re talking about a serial rapist/murderer - we cannot brainwash him and pat ourselves on the back as if that solved the problem.

Kubrick recognized that the essence of humanity is free will, for better or worse. When society removes a person's ability to make choices, it may defeat their ability to commit evil acts, but it also robs them of their humanity, which is itself an evil act. That's the dilemma at the heart of Kubrick's Clockwork Orange.

Unlike you, however, I don't think he offers a definitive resolution to the dilemma. Burgess' final chapter suggests that Alex--and, by extension, mankind--will eventually redeem himself if allowed the choice, but Kubrick does not offer that easy out. Like most great artists, he asks the audience to converse with the work and reach their own conclusions.
 

Keith Cobby

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When I was 15 and first saw ACO I thought it was brilliant. Over the years, I've come to dislike Kubrick's overplaying of all the actors, the peak of his worst instincts and the cheap easy answers as opposed to the novel. Now it's on my rung of Kubrick I never need see again while BARRY LYDON rises to the number three spot.

I've never liked it. Barry Lyndon is second for me, and much worthier of a UHD release.
 

Jeffrey D

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I was an usher in San Diego at the Valley Circle theater where Clockwork Orange played for 13 weeks. I must have watched it 100 times. The violence was too stylized to bother me in 1972, as opposed to Straw Dogs. The entire theater staff learned and danced the Singing' in the Rain sequence. It was great fun for both the male and female staff. I have fond memories ...I was 20. BTW the audience always laughed and no one ever walked out..
McDowell says on the commentary that he always thought of the film as a black comedy. I fail to see anything remotely humorous about that segment especially- a couple in their own home, bothering nobody, and a gang of reckless youth slither their way into the home, and commit heinous acts of violence on the couple. To me, this is terrifying, not funny. I still think of the film as brilliant though.
 

Ken Koc

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McDowell says on the commentary that he always thought of the film as a black comedy. I fail to see anything remotely humorous about that segment especially- a couple in their own home, bothering nobody, and a gang of reckless youth slither their way into the home, and commit heinous acts of violence on the couple. To me, this is terrifying, not funny. I still think of the film as brilliant though.
In Straw Dogs it was terrifying and unsettling, because it was realistic. Clockwork Orange was for me like a Roadrunner cartoon.
 

Billy Batson

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I saw it when it opened at the Warner cinema Leicester Square, & there were people walking out, but I think they'd gone in just to walk out (the same with The Devils). Whatever you think of it, it is a brilliant piece of film-making. I went off it a bit & haven't seen it in years, I'll have to give it another go.

The film changed my life quite a bit! I bought the soundtrack LP & loved the synthesizer tracks, & noticed it was by Walter Carlos (now Wendy) & there was a couple of classical albums by this artist, Switched-On Bach & The Well-Tempered Synthesizer, full of classical stuff, well I bought them & loved them, & they sort of flipped my brain over to classical (never the case before). Within six months I was taking Cello lessons (I was terrible), & all these years later, classical music is very important to me, from Lully/Purcell to Shostakovich/Bliss. So thank you Stanley.
 

Jeffrey D

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I saw it when it opened at the Warner cinema Leicester Square, & there were people walking out, but I think they'd gone in just to walk out (the same with The Devils). Whatever you think of it, it is a brilliant piece of film-making. I went off it a bit & haven't seen it in years, I'll have to give it another go.

The film changed my life quite a bit! I bought the soundtrack LP & loved the synthesizer tracks, & noticed it was by Walter Carlos (now Wendy) & there was a couple of classical albums by this artist, Switched-On Bach & The Well-Tempered Synthesizer, full of classical stuff, well I bought them & loved them, & they sort of flipped my brain over to classical (never the case before). Within six months I was taking Cello lessons (I was terrible), & all these years later, classical music is very important to me, from Lully/Purcell to Shostakovich/Bliss. So thank you Stanley.
The classical music pieces that accompany the film are great- maybe the strong suit of the film, and I’m not a fan of that type of music. I have the soundtrack on CD.
 

Walter Kittel

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Since folks are using the thread to weigh in on the film...

I think it is a brilliant film and is my second favorite Kubrick feature behind 2001: A Space Odyssey. Some of the aspects of the film that have always stayed with me include:

- The oddity of the future world envisioned by Burgess and Kubrick, especially in terms of the use of Nasdat by our humble narrator and his droogs. This extends into the art, production, and costume design of the feature; all of which really help create this alternate reality.
- A great performance by Malcolm McDowell who succeeds in making someone as reprehensible as Alex into an ostensible protagonist.
- The way that my mental associations of the song Singin' In The Rain were forever and irrevocably altered. No small feat IMHO.
- The subversive nature of the film's take on the concept of Free Will. (We have a religious figure ironically arguing for Original Sin without which mankind could never choose to be good.)
- A terrific score including some wonderful works by Rossini and a strong synthesizer score by Walter/Wendy Carlos.
- As is typical for Kubrick's features, meticulous cinematography. There are some great shots in this film and some excellent use of shadows and backlighting. (The scene at the beginning of the film when the droogs encounter the bum under the bridge come to mind. Some beautiful imagery in that sequence.)

While I certainly respect the opinions of those who are repulsed by the violence of the film, I agree with Ken Koc that (for me) the violence is very stylized which creates a certain amount of abstraction.

- Walter.
 

Reggie W

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So, can I assume that the Blu-ray that comes with this set also is derived from the same master as the UHD? I mean they would not throw the old transfer on a Blu-ray and include it in this set, right?

Sorry if this has already been answered I only skimmed this thread. Love this film though!
 

Robert Crawford

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So, can I assume that the Blu-ray that comes with this set also is derived from the same master as the UHD? I mean they would not throw the old transfer on a Blu-ray and include it in this set, right?

Sorry if this has already been answered I only skimmed this thread. Love this film though!
It's the same Blu-ray as 2011. Read the Blu-ray discussion starting with this post.
 

Reggie W

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Unlike you, however, I don't think he offers a definitive resolution to the dilemma. Burgess' final chapter suggests that Alex--and, by extension, mankind--will eventually redeem himself if allowed the choice, but Kubrick does not offer that easy out. Like most great artists, he asks the audience to converse with the work and reach their own conclusions.

Yes, Burgess was annoyed that Kubrick dropped the final chapter of his novel because he felt that final chapter was what made it a great story...that Alex changed in the end and did become a better person. He felt the way Kubrick portrayed Alex he never changes. He is the same scum at the end of the picture that he is at the start.

Why did Kubrick do this?

Kubrick believed in humanity's darker instincts and that they are likely to prevail. In his film there are no good guys, just different versions of terrible people. The one guy in the picture that Kubrick gives a bit of a grace note to is the priest that Alex meets in prison. Everybody else...well...they suck.

Kubrick never nods to anybody getting better or changing. The other Droogs do not become productive members of society, they are still scum they are just being paid to be scum. They have not changed.

The point of Kubrick's picture is you can't change the nature of a man. That's what he believed. Alex is evil by his nature, he neither wants to change nor is he likely to change in this world. Kubrick never would attempt such a sunny message as to leave a door open that Alex may get better.

Burgess felt that in good literature you need to show a character changing based on the events you put him through, otherwise the story has gone nowhere and ends where it begins. The title "A Clockwork Orange" referred to the idea that if you change a person through the means used in the story they are no longer a person. They have become an automaton. He saw humans as the orange, beautiful, colorful, and juicy inside. The process they put Alex through, guts the orange, and inserts a clockwork in the shell.

Kubrick is pointing out that society, science, well meaning people can't change the nature of human beings. It's quite relevant to the times we live in right now.
 

Reggie W

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They did the same thing with Full Metal Jacket, but The Shining and 2001 have a blu-rays from the new masters.

Yes, I find it odd they would do this unless they are planning to release these on Blu-ray later. I mean, why include the blu in the set at all if it is the same old transfer.
 

Reggie W

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Whatever you think of it, it is a brilliant piece of film-making. I went off it a bit & haven't seen it in years, I'll have to give it another go.

I agree this is a brilliant film based on a brilliant novel. One thing I would point out is in this case Kubrick followed the novel almost to a T with the exception of dropping the final chapter. I think the thing that angered Burgess is after the film came out there was a version of his novel published without the final chapter. Or they did this in the United States or something.

Anyway Burgess felt the final chapter was critical to his novel and to that I say, OK I get that and in the novel this works and gives you an idea of what happens to his central character.

Kubrick though uses the story as a meditation on the nature of man and his take on that is pretty dark. What is so brilliant about the film and what makes it so worth multiple watches is how he portrays all the different aspects of society and how it operates. He gives you the thought process that human beings go through, not just through Alex, but through the other characters as well. Nobody is spared.

And even though I say he gives a grace note to the priest, the priest is being conned and used by Alex and in the end is totally helpless in the face of what they do to him. So, not really a pretty take on the religious side of things either.

In this case Burgess wrote a brilliant story and Kubrick recognized this and did an amazing job bringing it to the screen. Sure, things that happen in the story are cruel, ugly, and hard to watch, but this is the point of those scenes. Mankind, at every level, can often be cruel, ugly, and hard to watch.

I get that some people would not at all see this as entertainment but it is flat out genius filmmaking.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Yes, I find it odd they would do this unless they are planning to release these on Blu-ray later. I mean, why include the blu in the set at all if it is the same old transfer.

The bonus features are on the BD disc. They’ve likely concluded that the cost of authoring a new disc would exceed the extra sales such an inclusion would bring, but the cost of including an already authored disc is negligible and allows them to include the existing bonus features with minimal effort.
 

JoshZ

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Guys, you're revealing significant spoilers for those that have never seen this film.

For real? The movie is 50 years old.

Rosebud is the sled! Darth Vader is Luke's father! :)

I don’t think Burgess was suggesting that everything will work out on its own if it’s only given time. I think Burgess was suggesting that forcing people to change was futile, and that the only possibility of change is when it is given an opportunity to grow from within. It doesn’t mean that everyone is automatically redeemable. It takes hard work for an individual to change, and it takes hard work for a society to allow the room for that to happen.

The Burgess novel, on the other hand, is about human beings, and how we have the possibility, not only for change, but Grace. That happens to be the overriding theme of all of Burgess' work. And when I talk about Grace, I'm not talking about religion, but the possibility of human understanding and transformation. That's not a shrug, nor does it let anybody off the hook. In fact, it's the opposite. If anyone is letting characters off the hook, it's Kubrick. By allowing the film to end with Alex regressing back to unthinking "ultraviolence", Kubrick is saying that we're not responsible for our actions. This is who Alex is, and he can't change. But in fact, he can, and in the novel does.

The problem I have with the book is that it isn't actually about those things until the epilogue. We have 20 chapters of Alex being an irredeemable psychopathic monster that no amount of punishment or behavior modification (all scathingly presented as terribly misguided) can tame, and then one chapter that jumps forward to tell us that he was eventually redeemed after all. We never see him doing the "work" of earning that redemption. Instead, we get the suggestion that all he needed was time to grow up and put all those silly childish behaviors behind him.

I don't think anyone is "wrong" for preferring Burgess' ending. But it didn't work for me, and it clearly didn't work for Kubrick. As with any good book-to-film adaptation, the movie version should reflect the filmmakers' artistic intentions and world view as much as the author's.
 

Colin Jacobson

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I was an usher in San Diego at the Valley Circle theater where Clockwork Orange played for 13 weeks. I must have watched it 100 times. The violence was too stylized to bother me in 1972, as opposed to Straw Dogs. The entire theater staff learned and danced the Singing' in the Rain sequence. It was great fun for both the male and female staff. I have fond memories ...I was 20. BTW the audience always laughed and no one ever walked out..

I don't view the film's violence as stylized, but the whole film lives in a weird sense of its own reality that makes it distanced from our own, and that - for me - makes the violence less "real".

Not that the movie doesn't get brutal and ugly - it does - but the whole film is painted in a detached, satirical manner that keeps us somewhat removed from the impact of the violence.
 

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