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Main | Kubrick redux »

July 10, 2002

DVD Journal: "A Clockwork Orange"

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

The wife and I watched a documentary about Stanley Kubrick (from Cinemax?) the other night. Well enough done to get us interested in Kubrick again, so we rented and watched "Clockwork Orange," my first time looking at the film since the early '70s.

I tend to blank out in front of Kubrick's late movies, love though I do "Lolita" and "Strangelove." I get bored and don't have much to say. But the wife's a Kubrick buff ("Barry Lyndon" four times!), and got me seeing that "Clockwork Orange" is like a caustic, downtown, off-off-Broadway musical -- a conceptual director's version of something Jacobean and sardonic, like "The Beggar's Opera." It's one "number" after another. I found myself taking the movie -- and semi-enjoying some of it -- as a (too long) Richard Foreman production. (Have you seen Foreman's theater stuff? Much less narrative than Kubrick, but brilliant and obsessive in a similar way.)

I dug up Pauline Kael's pan of the movie and realized that she'd missed its point. She didn't like the movie, so she set up a straw-man version of Kubrick, and then bashed away at him. An exciting piece to read, and (at least when she steps down from the debating podium, stops making a case, and just writes about what she doesn't like about the film -- ponderous, slow, overwrought, etc) perceptive and fair in spots. But not, by and large, about the movie the wife and I watched last night.

I remember what a Kubrick nut you were, and would be curious to hear your 2002 reflections about what it is you find/found interesting about his work. I'm sending a tape of the documentary out your way.



posted by Michael at July 10, 2002


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