A CLOCKWORK ORANGE - CONTROVERSY AT THE CINEMAS

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A Clockwork Orange - Stanley KubrickIt can easily be said, that Stanley Kubrick wasn't the type of filmmaker who repeated himself very often. Throughout his illustrious career he has made films which ranged from sci-fi epics, war-time dramas, to story's that are about love and romance. That said, however, most of his movies did touch upon one common denominator, namely, tackling taboo subjects, which sometimes caused his work to court controversy.





For example, Paths of Glory was banned in France because of the way it portrayed the French army. Lolita, on the other hand, had to be heavily censored because it depicted a love affair between an older man and a younger girl. And as for films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Barry Lyndon, well, even though praise have been lavished upon them within recent years, upon there initial release, the critics abashed the newness each project possessed, calling them bland and boring despite trying to break new grounds.

No. Don't worry, folks. I haven't forgotten about A Clockwork Orange. How could I forget that?

A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess And The Rolling StonesBack in the mid sixties Anthony Burgess sold the rights to his book, 'A Clockwork Orange', to Mick Jagger for $500, with the intent that both Mick and The Rolling Stones would eventually adapt it into a movie. Problem was, the Stones were lousy actors, so they decided to sell their rights to Ken Russell (made famous for directing Tommy). But alas, he also had problems during production, so likewise he then decided to sell his rights to, yes, you guessed it, Stan the man Kubrick.

And why did Stanley want to buy these rights? Simple. Terry Southern recommended them to him while they were working on the screenplay for their 1964 comedy classic, Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Whilst Terry was telling Stan about Anthony's book, in turn he slowly came to the realization that the central character was basically a bad man who was chemically forced to become a good person. Sounds an awful lot like a taboo subject to me, doesn't it to you, dear reader? And as I said at the start of this piece, to Stan, taboo subjects are subjects that need exploring in his own amiable way.




Let us now quickly fast forward to the tail end of 1971. Got that? Good. Because it's here where we will see this movie being played in numerous theaters' throughout the land! Obviously, some of the critics applauded it for its tenacity, where as some others, surprise-surprise, hated it because of the way it, quote, unquote, glamorized violence on the silver screen, almost as if the madcap antics of Alex (as played by Malcolm McDowell) and the droogs (as played by actors I can't be bothered to google) could somehow promote gang violence in the streets, causing people to go around and beat others up.

A Clockwork Orange - Poster
Unfortunately, this did happen, and the film was blamed for numerous crimes throughout the UK. This ranged from a fourteen-year-old boy killing his classmate, a 16-year old teenager beating a homeless man to death, and even a rape of a young lady instigated by a gang of street-thugs!

Responding to these allegations Stanley contacted Warner Brothers and told them to pull the film, regardless of how well it was doing in the cinemas. In a statement he gave to the press, he said: "To try and fasten any responsibility on art as the cause of life seems to me to put the case the wrong way around. Art consists of reshaping life, but it does not create life, nor cause life. Furthermore, to attribute powerful suggestive qualities to a film is at odds with the scientifically accepted view that, even after deep hypnosis in a posthypnotic state, people cannot be made to do things which are at odds with their natures".

So let us now say goodbye to A Clockwork Orange, before saying hello to a cinematic legend. Or do we have to? No. Not really. Apart from the end credits, nothing about this film says 'The End'. So if you would like to buy into this cinematic-culture-changer, care of famousmemorabilia.com, then you might like to know, for a limited time only, you can purchase one of the few remaining original A Clockwork Orange film posters. Click here to check out a framed poster, or here for an unframed one. Plus while you're at it, watch this...



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