Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange (Two-Disc Special Edition)

#46 (1998) and #70 (2007) on the AFI Top 100 Movies

A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 film adaptation of Anthony Burgess's 1962 novel of the same name. It was written, directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick. It features disturbing, violent images, facilitating its social commentary on psychiatry, youth gangs, and other social, political, and economic subjects in a dystopian, future Britain.

Alex (Malcolm McDowell), the main character, is a charismatic, psychopathic delinquent whose interests include classical music (especially Beethoven), rape, and what is termed "ultra-violence". He leads a small gang of thugs (Pete, Georgie, and Dim), whom he calls his droogs (from the Russian друг, "friend", "buddy"). The film chronicles the horrific crime spree of his gang, his capture, and attempted rehabilitation via controversial psychological conditioning. Alex narrates most of the film in Nadsat, a fractured adolescent slang comprising Slavic (especially Russian), English, and Cockney rhyming slang.

A Clockwork Orange features a soundtrack comprising mostly classical music selections and Moog synthesizer compositions by Wendy Carlos (then known as "Walter Carlos"). The now-iconic poster of A Clockwork Orange was created by designer Bill Gold.

* Malcolm McDowell as Alex DeLarge
* James Marcus as Georgie
* Warren Clarke as Dim
* 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 Cat Lady
* Aubrey Morris as 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
* Philip Stone as Dad
* 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

Another critical target is the behaviourism (or "behavioural psychology") of the 1940s to 1960s as propounded by the psychologists John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner. Burgess disapproved of behaviourism, calling prominent behaviourist B. F. Skinner's most popular book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971), "one of the most dangerous books ever written" Although behaviourism's limitations were conceded by its principal founder, J. B. Watson, Skinner argued that behaviour modification—specifically, operant conditioning (learned behaviours via systematic reward-and-punishment techniques) rather than the "classical" Watsonian conditioning—is the key to an ideal society. The film's Ludovico technique is widely perceived, however, as a parody of aversion therapy more than of classical or operant conditioning.

In showing the "rehabilitated" Alex repelled by both sex and violence, the film suggests that in depriving him of his ability to fend for himself, Alex's moral conditioning via the Ludovico technique dehumanises him, just as Alex's acts of violence in the first part of the film dehumanise his victims. The technique's attempt to condition Alex to associate violence with severe physical sickness is akin to the CIA's Project MKULTRA of the 1950s.

The Ludovico technique has been compared to the existing technique of chemical castration

No comments: