A CLOOKWORK ORANGE
Having risen to mythic status since it was withdrawn in 1973, Stanley Kubrick's A CLOCKWURK ORANGE is being returned to celluloid for the most eagerly 'awaited re-release ever. So much for the legend, what about the film? Words: Miles Fielder
)ID THIS FILM
AFTER BEING DENIED A PUBLIC SCREENING for twenty years. Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange was shown at Glasgow‘s Salon cinema in April 1993. Except it wasn't. It was an April Fool run by The List. Hopeful punters went along to
months). and when their hopes were dashed they gave The List a (well deserved?) bollocking.
Stories like this — and the one about London’s Scala cinema. which actually did screen the film in 1993 before being sued into bankruptcy by Kubrick — are what A Clockwork Orange means to the post- baby boom generation. That’s because A Clockwork Orange is no longer a film. It‘s a series of iconic images:
Malcolm McDowell‘s eyelinered . face in close up. the beating of the tramp in the underpass. It‘s a cultural reference point — controversy surrounding David Fincher's violent Fight Club predictably led to it being labelled last year’s new A Clockwork Orange. like Romper Stomper and Natural Born Killers before it. It‘s a celluloid myth: the dodgy pirate videos bearing foreign subtitles. the pilgrimages to Parisian cinemas. But A Clockwork Orange used to be a film.
Cut to Hertfordshire. I969. With 200/.“ A Space Odyssey in the can and on the way to securing its place as the biggest money maker of the time. Kubrick was at his new English home preparing his next project. a film about Napoleon. But when Kubrick went back to Anthony Burgess‘s 1962 novel. be dumped the diminutive Corsican for a futuristic teenage hooligan who becomes a guinea pig for the State’s
the Salon (which had been closed for.
experimental criminal rehabilitation scheme.
Two years later. A Clockwork Orange was released and received reviews that both praised it as genius and damned it as immoral. It didn‘t take long for the press and politicians to link a number of copycat crimes to the film. and when Kubrick felt personally threatened. he withdrew the film from British cinemas. For the rest of his life.
And then the myth-making began: the film was banned (not true. in fact the original release was passed uncut): star Malcolm McDowell was blinded in one eye during filming (true) so Kubrick shot the good eye (also true): Gene Kelly snubbed Kubrick for using ‘Singin‘ In The Rain‘ during the film‘s rape scene (true). Over the years. the myths have continued to reproduce. eclipsing the film itself. Ask Joe and Josephine Public their opinion of the film and you‘re more likely to get a third-hand fact