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Burgess & McDowell Discuss A Clockwork Orange
December 7, 2009 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Burgess & McDowell discuss A Clockwork Orange with film historian William Everson (who talks a little too much.)
posted by OmieWise (22 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
A little ultraviolence (pic is SFW).
posted by exogenous at 9:18 AM on December 7, 2009


A LITTLE too much? I'm four minutes in, and I want to punch the guy in the throat.
Still, cool! thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:21 AM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, yeah, but I didn't want to scare you off.
posted by OmieWise at 9:23 AM on December 7, 2009


I had no idea that celebrated philosophical Johns John Burgess and John McDowell had an such interest in film.
posted by kenko at 9:24 AM on December 7, 2009


I just started listening to the audiobook of Clockwork Orange. Burgess's intro goes into great depth about the differences between the UK and US versions. How the movie was made from the US version and how shitty it is and how horrible it is to be remembered most for the book that he, the author, likes least of his own work. The last (missing in the US) chapter shows Alex as a reformed and repentant adult. Minus this chapter, Burgess feels the story is not complete as a novel and lowers the work significantly in his eyes.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:44 AM on December 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure who the host is (he doesn't seem to be credited at the beginning), but I could watch his voice-over-still-photo summaries of movies all day. Something about the atonal, professorial delivery and the use of stills instead of motion sequences really makes it work -- I'd love to see more of these, for some weird reason.
posted by Shepherd at 9:50 AM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


A LITTLE too much? I'm four minutes in, and I want to punch the guy in the throat.

Well, it stands to reason, when you're a starry old sophisto chilovek like that, what with your glazzies all broken and bifocaled and your gulliver like a wrongways fishybowl with lovely colorful thoughts all going slishyslosh and leaking all over, waving your little malenky arms, and going blurp blurp blurp like mister toad in his motorcar, like you're Bog's own walkietalkie, well then there's nothing for you but a rightways good tolchocking in the dick.
posted by kid ichorous at 9:53 AM on December 7, 2009 [25 favorites]


Something about the atonal, professorial delivery and the use of stills instead of motion sequences really makes it work.

/me pitches "movie criticism meets Cliff Notes" to the folks at Viewmaster
posted by DU at 9:54 AM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah -- James Macandrew was the host. Thank you, end credits.
posted by Shepherd at 9:54 AM on December 7, 2009


A LITTLE too much? I'm four minutes in, and I want to punch the guy in the throat.

Don't drink your moloko so fast, you'll get gas.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:55 AM on December 7, 2009


Hmm. As someone who prefers the book to the movie (I know, I know) I can't wait to dig my teeth into this.
posted by Eideteker at 10:19 AM on December 7, 2009


Another film about A Clockwork Orange
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:47 AM on December 7, 2009


The last (missing in the US) chapter shows Alex as a reformed and repentant adult.

I like the non-US version of the book better too, but I never got the reformed or repentant angle. To me, in the last chapter, he is just a different kind of orange - the clockworks say it is time to grow up, so grow up he does, but he doesn't learn anything, and he is not any more in control than he ever was.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:59 AM on December 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love how (and remeber the feeling that) the year 2000 is so far in the future.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:03 AM on December 7, 2009


I have always felt roughly the same as dirtdirt. The reform is a joke; if anything he's simply had a different timing set in his clockwork. I'm not sure Burgess realizes quite how anti-establishment his work actually was.
posted by dhartung at 11:19 AM on December 7, 2009


but he doesn't learn anything, and he is not any more in control than he ever was.

Yeah, it's like an anti-Bildungsroman. No constructive lesson.

He's been extinguished. This question of the possession of Alex's soul - once so important that the state intervenes on the side of God - is finally answered by time. God wins. The devil's music winds down. And the final plea to the reader, that we "remember the little Alex that was," a cold and hot blooded thing and a rapist and sadistic killer, but still better than the lukewarms of old age, is really the one of saddest thoughts in the book. He's only twenty or so.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:38 AM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Minus this chapter, Burgess feels the story is not complete as a novel and lowers the work significantly in his eyes.

I've read this before, doctor_negative. Read the book without that chapter, and years later with it. I've never known another book that had a chapter that felt so... artificially tacked on. The "grown-up", aged Alex felt like they replaced Richard Harris as Dumbledore with Carol Channing. Or like describing GHW Bush as "an older, less violence-prone GW Bush".

Fail. Hated the final chapter. Doesn't belong in the book.I really, really wonder if Burgess waited months or years before tacking it on.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:58 PM on December 7, 2009


I really, really wonder if Burgess waited months or years before tacking it on.

Neither. Apparently the chapter was originally present and removed for American publication.
posted by hippybear at 1:05 PM on December 7, 2009


This is excellent Omie Wise. Thanks.

I remember shows like this on tv all the time when I was young. Nothing on like them now, it's sad.
posted by vronsky at 1:05 PM on December 7, 2009


I totally thought this was going to be Burgess Meredith and Roddy McDowell. In fact, I'm kind of disappointed that it's not. Dystopian futures FTW!
posted by The Tensor at 1:06 PM on December 7, 2009


but he doesn't learn anything, and he is not any more in control than he ever was.

Maybe it was just my reading of it, but I got the impression that, while adult Alex still had all of the antisocial tendencies that marked his adolescent years, that antisocial energy had been tamed and directed to more socially-acceptable pursuits, much as Billyboy and Dim had become police officers.
posted by lekvar at 2:47 PM on December 7, 2009


well then there's nothing for you but a rightways good tolchocking in the dick. reasoners.

FTFY.
posted by flabdablet at 5:50 PM on December 7, 2009


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