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Reggie W

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That may have been Kubrick's intention, to be "damning of a toxic society", but, because of the way the film is structured, edited and shot, with an insistent sense of circularity and repetition, even using reverse angle shots to imply a sense of closure, also reverse angle shots that imply a sameness between the government bureaucrats and Alex, a viewer is faced with a clockwork of escalating violence that never ends.

I believe what Kubrick is doing (through Burgess) is having this discussion. What we see is that the first method that the government uses to combat the violence within Alex is to use violent methods to quell his violence. This is the nature of man, that we will quickly resort to violence as a solution. At the end of the film Alex gets an apology from the government and this sort of promise that they will deal with him and his ilk in a kinder gentler way...and let's make sure we make that public. The promise rings hollow because it plays more as publicity stunt than actual attempt to find a better way to tame society's bad instincts. Kubrick is saying this is not a simple thing to do and so, yeah, the end is consistent with what came before it.
 

Robert Crawford

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For real? The movie is 50 years old.
I don't care if the movie is 100 years old! I'm going to place a spoiler warning in some prior posts so that those that haven't seen this 50 year old movie are warned that their enjoyment level might be compromised by certain plot revelations in some discussion posts.
 

Reggie W

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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.

I think the entire film is highly stylized and that is obviously intentional. It is satire and the problem with satire is it does not play the same way for every person. In fact satire tends to cause confusion, anger, and frustration in many viewers because often they do not at all see the satire.

Joe Dante has talked about the first time he saw Dr. Strangelove when it opened and how nobody in the theater was laughing. They were watching the picture as if it was a drama. They were not registering the comedy at all he says.

This is why satire is so unpopular now as these days it seems the preference are pictures that explain everything. Franchises that make entire movies to explain a backstory or some little detail. I mean in truth, as Dante's story indicates, satire has always been a difficult thing for many people. With satire you are not openly explaining things you just present the act or event to the audience and let them say "Holy shit that is insane!" with the thought that you really should not have to explicitly spell that out for them.

The risk of doing this is that it goes right past a lot of people.

I think the violence is meant to be disturbing and to make you squirm a bit. However, it does have aspects of the ridiculous and this does flow from Kubrick's feelings. When confronting something so disturbing as to be totally appalling, Kubrick would often see the outrageousness in the act to the point you could only laugh at the horror of it.

Not really that the violence was funny or meant to amuse but that it seemed so insane that a human would commit this act that all you could do was laugh...out of being so emotionally shocked.

Kubrick began making a serious film about atomic warfare but found the truth of it so insane he could only take this crazy satirical approach to it. It was just so nuts you had to laugh. Not that killing millions of people is funny but your laughter at it is pretty much an expression of the insanity of the truth.

With Clockwork he further examined the nature of a society that could create and use an atomic weapon. Really that's what the film is doing is just saying we are animals, violent, thinking animals and our instincts whether you are Alex or a supposed gentle liberal sitting in your house, or a politician, no matter your class, or how high minded you think you are there is this part of you...this base instinct...that will casually condone an act of violence that should be shocking.

Kubrick takes a hard look at that part of human beings in Clockwork and yes, I would expect that's not something people really want to look at.
 

Malcolm R

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I think those are so much a part of pop culture that they no longer can be considered spoilers. I watched Pitch Perfect last night and there's an extended discussion of Darth Vader and the "spoiler". So anyone who hasn't seen the SW films but watched PP, or numerous other movies and TV shows that have used the moment as a punchline, is now aware.

Same with "rosebud". That's been a punchline for decades in the "Peanuts" comics (where I first heard it) and countless other media.
 

JoshZ

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I don't care if the movie is 100 years old! I'm going to place a spoiler warning in some prior posts so that those that haven't seen this 50 year old movie are warned that their enjoyment level might be compromised by certain plot revelations in some discussion posts.

I'm sorry, but there needs to be a statute of limitations on spoilers. Anyone who hasn't watched a 50-year-old movie by now either isn't going to, or should know better than to read a lengthy discussion thread about it before starting.

Being required to put spoiler tags around the plot details of a movie older than you have been alive on this Earth is ridiculous. IMO.

The viewers may not be. And I hope you’ll delete your spoilers of two other classics some people have yet to watch for the first time.

SPOILER: There's a train robbery at the end of The Great Train Robbery! :rolling-smiley:
 

JoshZ

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What's kind of hilarious here is that all of the "spoilers" we've given out in this thread have been about a chapter from the book that isn't even in the movie. We haven't spoiled the end of the movie at all! :biggrin:
 

Robert Crawford

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I'm sorry, but there needs to be a statute of limitations on spoilers. Anyone who hasn't watched a 50-year-old movie by now either isn't going to, or should know better than to read a lengthy discussion thread about it before starting.

Being required to put spoiler tags around the plot details of a movie older than you have been alive on this Earth is ridiculous. IMO.
Then we disagree so I'm sorry if my position on this matter is ridiculous to you. With that said, I will moderate this forum according to what I think is proper in doing so, as your "Rosebud" analogy isn't what I'm talking about here. That specific plot reveal is too much part of our pop culture to be define as a spoiler. The same with the "Darth Vader" moment.
 

Robert Crawford

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What's kind of hilarious here is that all of the "spoilers" we've given out in this thread have been about a chapter from the book that isn't even in the movie. We haven't spoiled the end of the movie at all! :biggrin:
I think we need to move on as our positions on this matter have been defined and will not be changed. If you want to discuss it any further then PM me so not to sidetrack this thread any further.
 

Reggie W

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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.

Well, there is a comedy aspect to the outrageous way a lot of things in the picture are portrayed. To McDowell he probably was looking at the utter ridiculousness of a lot of it but I do think Kubrick was going for more than that. It was not meant just to make us laugh, he also wanted to make us think.
 

JosephK

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I’ve noticed what seems to be botched audio for the 5.1 track on the A Clockwork Orange 4K.

When Alex and his droogs are causing mayhem with the stolen car, during the narration — “... then we headed west. What we were after now was the old surprise visit, that was a real kick and good for laughs and lashing of the ultra-violent” — I noticed the audio here is extremely terrible, and this aberration is not a problem on the remastered DVD, Blu-ray 5.1, and the mono on the 4K. I’ve tried multiple speaker setups and the issue persists. Does anyone else have this issue? Or maybe I’ve got a bad disc?
 

JoshZ

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I noticed the audio here is extremely terrible, and this aberration is not a problem on the remastered DVD, Blu-ray 5.1, and the mono on the 4K. I’ve tried multiple speaker setups and the issue persists. Does anyone else have this issue? Or maybe I’ve got a bad disc?

What do you mean by terrible? Can you elaborate on what you hear? A time code would also help others to check it.
 

Christian D66

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The irony is that yes, ACO is one of the most faithful book-to-film adaptations in terms of closely following scenes and of course the narration.

BUT. The POV of the film is not Burgess but Kubrick. Look at the Cat-Lady who is shown as an aggressive loudmouth (as Pauline Kael rightly pointed out in her brutal review). The writer is a groteseque cariacture after his assault (maybe more close-ups of bulging eyes will get the message home). Mr. Deltoid's scene with Alex is the single worst of Kubrick's filmography imho in terms of tonal mess and uncontrolled acting. Alex is the only interesting human person in the film and Kubrick simply paints everybody else as clods so that to me is cheap because seeing Alex brutalize more fully realized people would turn us off of him. And Kubrick knew all of this.

It's Kubrick, so there's technical brilliance of course. But his version is not deep...
 

JosephK

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What do you mean by terrible? Can you elaborate on what you hear? A time code would also help others to check it.
Time code is 0:08:44, when Alex is narrating in the car. It’s hard to describe exactly what’s going on. The “t” in “west” seems to boost and scratch, and the “sur” in “surprise” sorta drops out a bit, followed by a subtle bit of a scratching when he says “laughs and laughing”. I’ve tried two speaker setups and studio headphones and it always happens. This doesn’t happen for me with either the original 5.1 from the DVD and Blu-ray, nor in the mono track.
 

JosephK

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Randy Miller III at blu-ray.com says the front three channels in the 5.1 mix are way overboosted giving the film a harsh sound. Care to comment?
I would absolutely agree. In fact, the more I listen and scrutinize the new 5.1 the more I hate it. Certainly Leon Vitale’s earlier 5.1 is far superior. And although it’s nice to have the mono track, it would be even better to have a lossless mono rather than this version which was released with the original DVD.

Of the mono, the first 5.1, and the new 5.1, I think I prefer the first 5.1. It’s not overly processed like the new one while being more immersive than the DVD quality mono.

And it’s a shame because I think the picture for the 4K is superb. The color timing, though of course one can never judge these things exactly, is mindful of at least trying to conform to Kubrick’s original intentions and mercifully devoid of the modern orange-teal look that plagues other releases of older films. The grain is just perfect, not distracting yet not scrubbed. The HDR isn’t overdone and helps it look more film-like.

One can also ignore the complaints that this 4K isn’t sharp enough. A lot of shots are especially soft when Kubrick/Alcott used extremely wide angle lenses in deep focus while shooting in relatively low light. People forget that when you’re an artist coming up against the limitations of technology you’ve often got to sacrifice quality for achieving a vision the best you can. A lot of people that criticize the technical aspects of these releases are gear-heads that think only in terms of “sharpness” and “pixel count”, totally missing the intention of artistry, and oblivious of the possibility that sharpness can be a lesser priority.

Sharpness wasn’t as important as the surreal compositions in the case of A Clockwork Orange. Kubrick, like all great artists, prioritized effect first, followed by a gear-head obsession with getting the effect to as high of quality as possible (a great example of this is in Barry Lyndon in which he worked with almost no depth of field to achieve the effect of shooting natural candlelight — which is the biggest sacrifice of sharpness for effect maybe in cinematic history).

I’m certain that even in the very soft shots, barring the occasional slight oversight once in a blue moon, Kubrick made them as sharp as scientifically possible. Uniquely, he was equally artist and gear-head.
 

Kyle_D

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I agree that 5.1 voiceover track is overboosted. Lots of noticeable hiss on the "th"-es and "ss"-es.
 

JoshZ

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BUT. The POV of the film is not Burgess but Kubrick. Look at the Cat-Lady who is shown as an aggressive loudmouth (as Pauline Kael rightly pointed out in her brutal review). The writer is a groteseque cariacture after his assault (maybe more close-ups of bulging eyes will get the message home). Mr. Deltoid's scene with Alex is the single worst of Kubrick's filmography imho in terms of tonal mess and uncontrolled acting. Alex is the only interesting human person in the film and Kubrick simply paints everybody else as clods so that to me is cheap because seeing Alex brutalize more fully realized people would turn us off of him. And Kubrick knew all of this.

It's Kubrick, so there's technical brilliance of course. But his version is not deep...

Kubrick was going for a tone of heightened satire. Even in the late '60s/early '70s, it would have been impossible to look at the Droogs' costumes with their enormous bulging codpieces as a realistic depiction of how the future would be.
 

Kyle_D

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BUT. The POV of the film is not Burgess but Kubrick. Look at the Cat-Lady who is shown as an aggressive loudmouth (as Pauline Kael rightly pointed out in her brutal review). The writer is a groteseque cariacture after his assault (maybe more close-ups of bulging eyes will get the message home). Mr. Deltoid's scene with Alex is the single worst of Kubrick's filmography imho in terms of tonal mess and uncontrolled acting. Alex is the only interesting human person in the film and Kubrick simply paints everybody else as clods so that to me is cheap because seeing Alex brutalize more fully realized people would turn us off of him. And Kubrick knew all of this.

It's Kubrick, so there's technical brilliance of course. But his version is not deep...

The film is told from Alex's point of view, and he's a classic unreliable narrator. He's a sociopath who views himself as the most interesting person on earth, and he views everyone else as a two dimensional gross caricature, which is why it is so easy for him to commit violence against them. The film's portrayal of every other character reflects his perception.
 

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