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Posts Tagged ‘A Clockwork Orange’
Richard takes a walk through the TIFF Bell Lightbox exhibit of the work of Stanley Kubrick. He highlights props from “Full Metal Jacket,” “The Shining,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Clockwork Orange” and “Barry Lyndon.” Click HERE to see “The Shining’s” axe and typewriter, Alex’s cane from “A Clockwork Orange” and much more!
My reference to McDowell, the menacing actor who famously played the man who killed Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Generations and became an icon starring as Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange, drew dozens of comments.
The interview was meant to promote Silent Night, a Winnipeg-shot slasher flick about a killer Santa Claus, on DVD next week, but before we get into talking about the film, however, I tell him about the postings. He connects the dots between table tennis and his most famous film.
It seems director Stanley Kubrick and McDowell played ping-pong on the set of A Clockwork Orange. When I ask who usually won, he said:
“He never ever took a set from me. I wiped the floor with him such great relish because it was the only thing I could really beat him at. He was tormenting me as the character and I’m sure deep down he enjoyed it. He was a little bit sadistic. I went through quite a lot of nasty injuries from the eye thing and horrible things like being dunked in water and almost drowned. There was a lot of physical abuse. So when I could get my own back, I really loved it.”
When I ask if he still plays the game he replies, “No, I haven’t played in years.”
Hasn’t had time I guess.
An on-going role in the series Franklin and Bush and seventeen other IMDB credits for 2012 alone are proof that at age 69 he keeps as busy as most actors half his age. He says Silent Night was a welcome change, however.
Usually cast as a baddie, he was chuffed to play the brave sheriff of a town terrorized by a slaying Santa. “Without pandering to the audience I just wanted to bring a little lightness and humor to it without chewing the scenery, “ he says. “Well, not too much.”
Not that he’s unhappy playing villains.
“In my early career I started playing heavies,” he says. “Clockwork Orange is one of the great heavies. If I had been playing heroic types I would have had a very short career. Playing heavies has allowed me to work no matter what my age.”
1971 was a watershed year for new cinema. Films like A Clockwork Orange, Dirty Harry and Straw Dogs pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable on the silver screen. None are passive films. Each brims with the obsessions of their makers, and for that each was the subject of controversy and censorship.
Eventually they became accepted by the mainstream. A Clockwork Orange has become a cultural touchstone, with everyone from Lady Gaga to David Bowie to Kylie Minogue, who dressed in a black bowler hat and a white jumpsuit on tour in 2002, paying tribute. It was even played at the Cannes Film Festival and released on Blu Ray to mark its fortieth anniversary. Dirty Harry is on constant rotation on television and Rod Lurie’s remake of the Sam Peckinpah film Straw Dogs hits screens this weekend.
The movie stars James Marsden and Kate Bosworth as David and Amy Sumner, a big city couple who move back to her hometown on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Tensions with some of the locals (including True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgård) bubble to the surface and soon boil over into violence.
“If you look at a movie like Straw Dogs, which was heavily influenced by a book called The Territorial Imperative,” says Lurie, “Peckinpah seems to be saying that violence is in the genetics of all men and therefore we must be aware of it so we can control it. It was extremely fascist thinking but that also seems to be the thing with Dirty Harry.
“A Clockwork Orange is a much more clinical look at that but I think artists were trying to provide the answers top what society was asking then. It was a very, very violent era.
“This was an era in which people were searching for answers to the madness that was going on around them,” Lurie continues, “and filmmakers were trying to provide some of the answers. You had everything from the assassinations of Kennedy and King to Vietnam to the Whitman murders to My Lai. I think all of society was trying to understand how human beings could do such things.”