“Clockwork Orange” turns 50: for actor Malcolm McDowell, Kubrick’s film “was torture” – Current Events

Three years after “2001: Space Odyssey”, Stanley Kubrick’s long-awaited new film “Clockwork Orange” hit theaters.

With one of the most famous posters in the history of cinema, New York viewers were the first to see on December 19, 1971 the arrival of Alex DeLarge on the big screen, kicking, assaulting and stealing, tap dancing and raping while sang ‘Singin’ in the Rain’.

Alex’s path from amoral punk to respectable citizen, after a brainwashing, formed the dramatic arc of the futuristic and shocking vision that Kubrick adapted from Anthony Burgess’s novel into a wickedly fun and terrifying study of juvenile delinquency, the nature of the evil and the application of justice, with unforgettable images and surprising musical contrasts.

It would be the most controversial film of the filmmaker’s career and the initial legacy was unpleasant, with him banned from several countries because of the controversies and blamed for various acts of violence. Kubrick would eventually ask to be removed from British cinemas in 1973.

Malcolm McDowell, too, not only regretted but long loathed his role as the young delinquent leading a band of sociopaths in dystopian England, by far his most remembered work in film.

“I resented it for the first ten years after doing it. I was fed up with it. I didn’t want to talk about the f***ing thing, I was tired of it. to move on,'” recalled Malcolm McDowell in late September in an interview with New Musical Express magazine about 50 years.

“Then I came to realize that it was a masterpiece and I was very, very much a part of it. It was better to accept it and enjoy it,” he added.

The interview recalled the experience of a filming that left Malcolm McDowell “totally exhausted emotionally and also physically”, highlighting the famous sequence in which his eyes were held by a device, unable to blink, while his character saw images of violence , brainwashing him to “cure” his perverse instincts.

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The actor was temporarily blinded by a scratched cornea because the shooting of the scene did not go exactly as described.

Worse, a week later it had to be run again because Kubrick needed a close-up of the eye.

“Of course they scratched my corneas [outra vez], nothing like the first time but I knew it would happen. This was torture because I knew what to expect… but, you know, it was worth it,” he acknowledged in the interview.

Malcolm McDowell

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Malcolm McDowell

The legacy of “Clockwork Orange” will never be unconnected with the controversy it generated when it debuted in 1971 and which lasted for many years, but it has been rehabilitated and reinterpreted on its intentions. And also Malcolm McDowell is much more comfortable with the idea of ​​being the “symbol of dystopian evil.”

“‘Clockwork Orange’ has always found an audience. It’s always had the next generation of kids who go to university, discover the film – and it becomes a rite of passage. You make a film like this, it’s historic and closes. if in a safe. You can’t live, he said, and no doubt I’m a very different person than I was when I did. I was a kid. But am I glad I did? Absolutely. It’s remarkable,” he concluded.