A Clockwork Orange is a February 2, 1972 dystopian crime film adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on Anthony Burgess‘s 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange with the film soundtrack by Walter/Wendy Carlos.
A Clockwork Orange employs disturbing, violent images to comment on psychiatry, juvenile delinquency, youth gangs, and other social, political, and economical subjects in a dystopian near-future Britain.
Four and a half decades later ACO has arrived on the streets of Britain and in cities all over the world – only without the cool music, directorial creativity, eyelash-pleasing cinematography, and codpieces. Unfortunately, the current real-life present day is far more sinister and insidious.
Anthony Burgess’ book and Stanley Kubrick’s film are eerily prescient today. Let’s sample a few quotes that derived from the trials and tribulations of the little anti-hero Alex (performed to perfection by the legendary Malcolm McDowell) and his Droogs as they go out for a night about town after a taste of synthemesc for a little bit of the old ultra-violence and in out:
“An eye for an eye, I say. If someone hits you you hit back, do you not? Why then should not the State, very severely hit by you brutal hooligans, not hit back also? But the new view is to say no. The new view is that we turn the bad into the good. All of which seems to me grossly unjust.”
“When we’re healthy we respond to the presence of the hateful with fear and nausea.
“Let us have evil prancing on the page and, up to the very last line, sneering in the face of all the inherited beliefs, Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Holy Roller, about people being able to make themselves better. Such a book would be sensational, and so it is. But I do not think it is a fair picture of human life.
“My son, my son. When I had my son I would explain all that to him when he was starry enough to like understand. But then I knew he would not understand or would not want to understand at all and would do all the veshches I had done, yes perhaps even killing some poor starry forella surrounded with mewing kots and koshkas, and I would not be able to really stop him. And nor would he be able to stop his own son, brothers. And so it would itty on to like the end of the world…
“Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?”
“When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.”
“Unfortunately there is so much original sin in us all that we find evil rather attractive. To devastate is easier and more spectacular than to create.
“Each man kills the thing he loves“
“But when the social entity grows large, becomes a megalopolis, a state, a federation, then the governing machine grows remote, impersonal, even inhuman. It takes money from us for purposes we do not seem to sanction; it treats us as abstract statistics; it controls an army; it supports a police force whose function does not always appear to be protective.”
“The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities.”
“There comes a time, however, when violence is seen as juvenile and boring. It is the repartee of the stupid and ignorant.”
“Well, everything’s a lesson, isn’t it? Learning all the time, as you could say.”
With 1968’s groundbreaking and genre creating album, “Switched On Bach”, Walter Carlos was the leader in synthesizer and Moog classical electronica.
Composed by Wendy Carlos (then Walter Carlos) the soundtrack was a huge hit with the Counter-Culture, as was the movie, and the music not only based the film in a alternate reality with the “new” synthesizer sound, but was a thematic extension of Alex’s (and the viewer’s) psychological conditioning.
During the height of Drug experimentation of the early-to-mid-’70s Heads, Rockers, Creatives, Film Nuts, Classical Music Fiends, and the Avant Garde were prime for anything, the weirder, the better. Synthesizers were beginning to become very popular and with the Electronic Wizardry of Wendy Carlos, Isao Tomita, Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou, and Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream the beginning of a new era in music began in earnest.
A Clockwork Orange
1. “Title Music from A Clockwork Orange” (From Henry Purcell’s Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary) Carlos, Rachel Elkind Wendy Carlos 2:21
2. “The Thieving Magpie (Abridged)” Gioachino Rossini A Deutsche Grammophon Recording 5:57
3. “Theme from A Clockwork Orange (Beethoviana)” Carlos, Elkind Wendy Carlos 1:44
4. “Ninth Symphony, Second Movement (Abridged)” Ludwig van Beethoven A Deutsche Grammophon Recording conducted by Ferenc Fricsay 3:48
5. “March from A Clockwork Orange (Ninth Symphony, Fourth Movement, Abridged)” Beethoven, arr. Carlos Friedrich Schiller (lyric) Wendy Carlos (Articulations: Rachel Elkind) 7:00
6. “William Tell Overture (Abridged)” Rossini Wendy Carlos 1:17
7. “Pomp and Circumstance March No. I” Edward Elgar (not credited) 4:28
8. “Pomp and Circumstance March No. IV (Abridged)” Edward Elgar (not credited) 1:33
9. “Timesteps (Excerpt)” Carlos Wendy Carlos 4:13
10. “Overture to the Sun” (rerecorded instrumental from Sound of Sunforest, 1969) Tucker Terry Tucker 1:40
11. “I Want to Marry a Lighthouse Keeper” (rerecorded song from Sound of Sunforest, 1969; film version differs from soundtrack version) Eigen Erika Eigen 1:00
12. “William Tell Overture (Abridged)” Rossini A Deutsche Grammophon Recording 2:58
13. “Suicide Scherzo (Ninth Symphony, Second Movement, Abridged)” Beethoven, arr. Carlos Wendy Carlos 3:07
14. “Ninth Symphony, Fourth Movement (Abridged)” Ludwig van Beethoven A Deutsche Grammophon Recording (Karajan, 1963, uncredited) 1:34
15. “Singin’ in the Rain” lyrics by Arthur Freed, music by Nacio Herb Brown Gene Kelly 2:36
A Clockwork Orange and Ziggy Stardust
The music and film had a cultural impact to the point that David Bowie adopted the film’s aura with lyrics on his “Alladin Sane” album’s Sufferagette City track with, “Hey Droogie don’t crash here, . . .” and used the Pomp and Circumstance from the soundtrack to open his 1975 Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars Farewell Tour Concert. 00individual speaks Tribal Truth, he was there:
DAVID BOWIE ZIGGY STARDUST and the Spiders from Mars (Farewell Tour – Aladdin Sane Tour) Hollywood Palladium 3-12-73
A Rock Star in his field, Stanley Kubrick filmed ACO with equal bravado and operatic depiction of violence as Sam Peckinpah did when he made history with the 1969 classic “The Wild Bunch”; ACO was the perfect ambient portrayal of Drug-fueled Degeneracy in a sardonic near-future music-filled horrorshow environment.
Kubrick knew how to create worlds filled with awe and mystery, sex and violence, beauty and beasts – one of the top historic auteurs of the film industry. Kubrick was a God.
Stanley Kubrick vs Pink Floyd
Stanley Kubrick asked Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters if he could use elements of the Atom Heart Mother suite in ACO. Waters refused when he found that Kubrick wanted the freedom to cut up the piece to fit the film. Sometime later, Waters asked Kubrick if he could use sounds from 2001: A Space Odyssey; Kubrick duly refused.
Alex picking up two Devotchkas in a record store.
The “Atom Heart Mother” album can be seen during the scene in the record store on the top shelf in the back to the right. The soundtrack to “2001: A Space Odyssey” is in the front of the plexi-bin bottom center.
“Yes, sir! That’s exactly who I am and what I am, sir. A victim, sir!”
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