Pictures | My Intro | Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4Chapter 5 | Positive Review | Negative Review | Appendices


Front Cover
Back Cover

My Intro

    Of course an entire book on ACO is something I'm going to buy, no geo questions asked. The only problem is that you know going in that a book like this is mostly a big headed lofty enterprise that is nearly impossible to read and says nothing. I am open to any new point of view on the film, but mostly we get self-proclaimed experts on a subject that use endless big words and never get to a tangible point. If there is one thing in this world I can say I'm an expert about it is ACO and after reading this book I still have no idea what most authors were talking about. I summarize each chapter, point out the errors and review them.

Acknowledgements xi
List of contributors xiii


"What's it going to be then, eh?": Questioning Kubrick's Clockwork
By Stuart Y. McDougal, Pages 1-18

    It is interesting that his title quotes the main line from the book in an essay that is to cover the life of Kubrick. One really has nothing to do with the other. From the title you would gather a couple of possibilities on where it might lead. First he might be comparing the book to the film. Or maybe it will be about if the film was a successful adaptation of the book or maybe an interview or questions he would ask Kubrick if he had a chance. Of course it is none of those things. This essay is loaded with errors so it is impossible for me to take it seriously.

Pg 1 - "…Kubrick died at his home outside of London after nearly completing the editing of his final film Eyes Wide Shut." Then in the same paragraph he writes, "Although Kubrick prepared a final cut of the film before his death…" Well, which is it? He was either done or he wasn't. What does this have to do with ACO anyway? In the footnote he claims we will never know if the film was complete because he was known to tinker with his films right up until the release date. So he gives three different stories. The film was completed, that is a fact. Only 2001: ASO and The Shining were changed after the initial release, so it is not 100% certain that he would've done so again, especially since he said he was proud of it.
Pg 2 - "…hired Kubrick to replace Stanley Mann as director." This is just inexcusably sloppy. The man's name was Anthony Mann.
Pg 3 - "premier on December 20, 1971." The film premiered on 12/19/71.
Pg 3 - "In October, Kubrick declared that he had replaced thirty seconds of film…" The correct story is he pulled the film on 10/31/72 and it was re-released on 1/1/73.
Pg 5 - 2nd paragraph "P.R. Deltoid, who makes unsuccessful homosexual advances while Alex is getting dressed." While it is debatable if Deltoid was gay, Alex made no attempt to get dressed in front of him.
Pg 5 - Same paragraph "Alex joins his droogs at the Milkbar for another evening of fun." This sentence makes me wonder if he even watched the film. After Alex has sex with the two girls his droogs are waiting downstairs for him in his building. They never go to the Korova again.
Pg 5 - Same paragraph "…as his authority is challenged by the gang, and he viciously attacks the three of them." Wrong again. Only Georgie and Dim are attacked by Alex in the film.
Pg 7 - "At the time, however, Kubrick himself was occupied with other projects." This sentence is very bizarre because he repeats the myth that The Rolling Stones were too busy to make the film and then starts with Kubricks' 'Paths of Glory' in 1957. This is at least eight years before the Stones myth. Kubrick could've done ACO after 'Dr. Strangelove' if he wanted, but he hadn't read it yet. He almost makes it seem like Kubrick wanted to do ACO, but he too was busy.
Pg 8 - "…and with one film on Napoleon in the theaters already, financers were reluctant to back another." More poor research. The 1970 film about Napoleon called 'Waterloo' was a box office failure which is why backers abandoned Kubrick's dream film.
Pg 10 - 1st paragraph "…the repeated use of "my brother" when addressing the reader". He should know that Alex's line in the book is "O my brothers" especially since it is used in the second sentence in the book. Sad.
Pg 10 - Same paragraph "…by the drugged customer in the Moloko bar." Since this takes place right away in the book it should read "Korova Milkbar."
Pg 10 - 2nd paragraph "'adventures of a young man who loves violence, rape, and Beethoven' (as the film poster proclaims)". This proves he hasn't even seen the poster. If he had he would know it reads, "Being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven."


    Half assed, rushed and his heart was not into it. It reads like an intro was decided a necessity a few hours before going to print. Because of the long windedness and the never-ending juvenile mistakes this intro is a total failure. There is too much talking about Kubrick's other works and the novel. He should've done a history of the film only. I am surprised he just didn't rip off my site, but we can see that he is just plain lazy. Even he admits in the acknowledgements that it took him almost four years after the book was finished to finally submit and get it published. These means it is worse than I thought. Four years to check his writing for errors and he didn't even bother.

Chapter 1

A Clockwork Orange...Ticking
By Robert P. Koller, Pages 19-36

    Here is what I think he is saying in his piece by using short notes instead of a straight summary, which is impossible. ACO is the modern day equivalent of Natural Born Killers as both deal with the nature of evil. He is obviously a liberal since he attacks Bob Dole, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan twice. He doesn't attack a single democrat, which proves he is biased. It takes many people to make a film. Films like Rambo and Die Hard have action heroes, which are self-mocking. He goes into pre-ACO films like Bonnie and Clyde and the Wild Bunch that show the rebellious side of people. He feels the juvenile delinquent of the 50s turns into a hippie concerned with Vietnam and politics in the 60s. Bonnie and Clyde deals with the past and ACO is the straightforward future. He talks about other Kubrick films and says ACO is post doomsday and deals with class warfare. The story moves fast because the use of nadsat which takes away the violence. Free will is better than state control. The voice over and the music in the film are the same as both are everywhere. Alex is the focus. The film is an oxymoron because the people are unreal as the film is not real. Perspective is important like the rape of Mrs. Alexander and the attack on the Cat Lady. Alex loses control when he is in jail. There are other options - free will or control. Who is Alex? Does he have a choice with his life? No choices are available. There are no attractive characters in the film. The key to the film is when Alex says the colors of the real world are more real in the movies. Alex is cured, but is part of the state. ACO is ironic because the real world is replaced by film. There is no redemption to be found at the end.

Pg 32 - "oh my brothers" instead of "O my brothers."
Pg 34 - "He suggest" instead of "He suggests".


    This is boring, self-righteous, unreadable crap. It takes almost five pages to get to ACO and then another six to really, finally get to ACO. So the first eleven pages are just filler. This essay literally makes no sense. Here is an example from when he writes about the famous million year cut scene from ape to the future in 2001 A Space Odyssey, "In that cut, Kubrick suggests that all progress is based on, marked by, and articulated through violence, which he defines both as physical harm done upon one physical body by another, as well as the manifestation of power, cunning, manipulation, and blind obedience to a self-defeating cause." If you are saying this has nothing to do with ACO, well then you are right. If you are also thinking Robert must get off on the sound of his own voice droning endlessly by spewing out garbage, then I think you are really onto something. This line is just sheer insanity. What Kubrick did was to come up with a brilliant way to jump the story ahead a million years without words. The bone goes up into the air and changes into a spaceship that is a similar size. Nothing is said, no title card informs us of anything, but without saying a thing, we know Kubrick brought us from the distant past to the year 2001.

Chapter 2

The Cultural Productions of A Clockwork Orange
By Janet Staiger, Pages 37-60

    This starts out with a quote from Susan Rice about how you will feel nausea every time you hear "Singin' in the Rain" after you watch ACO. Sorry, there is no pavlovian response when hearing that except thinking about ACO. Same with the William Tell Overture. Same with how Thus Sprake Zarathusla is now exclusively associated with 2001. She then oddly goes into the question of what the effects of ACO are and then says they won't be answered here!? She then goes into the history of attacks on the film from a wide release ban in the UK, to bad reviews in the press in the US to accusations of misogyny. Then she goes through how films were getting more violent and sexual in the years leading up to ACO. The 1968 ratings codes changed everything and allowed more expression of "obscene" acts. She also gives a history of pornography and how it differs from obscenity. The distinction of something being called art instead of obscene is examined. Some reviews claimed that ACO has sex and violence intertwined and therefore it was not art. The rest of the chapter deals with the ways it was defended as art. The next part deals with the ideology of the film and who created it. Credit was given to Kubrick over Burgess. She also goes on to comment about Alex. She goes into how his attractiveness is a lure to liking him and how other characters are not fleshed out and unlikable. The chapter concludes with two differences discussed - Kubrick's adaptation of the novel and his style. The third chapter starts with the feminist views of the film. One reviewer feels all the women were made sexier than in the book. In the book they are children or old, in the film they are all well endowed young women. They feel the film is cold and hates women. For some reason she says she couldn't find any reaction from the fans about the film!? Then she goes into how the art house crowd and the underground scene embraced the film for different reasons. She ends with touching on a gay table in the film and a little comparison to Andy Warhol's Vinyl.

Pg 51 - "Another favorite image is the scene of Alex's rectal examination by the prison guard…" Just because it was used on ONE magazine back then, doesn't make it a favorite image. It was not used on lobby cards or any other promotional material of the day.
Pg 55 - …"Andy Warhol purchased the screenplay rights to Burgess's novel." This is false. Because he couldn't get the rights he made his own bizarre interpretation of the film.


    This is the first near worthy read in the book and I almost made it to the end without an error. It is also well documented with five pages of footnotes. This isn't so much anything new as it is more an examination of what was said at the time of the films release. She picks a topic and then quotes famous reviewers of the day with mostly negative points. I'm not sure what the point of this was. Why didn't cover both sides? That is not journalism. To say there is no indication of the fans point of view is just a cop out. Surely she could find people who saw the film then and ask them what they thought. Does she believe it doesn't count if it wasn't written down back then? She then self-destructs at the end with the mistake about Warhol and the audacity to say that Warhol's "film" follows "…the general line of development is remarkably close to that of the novel." She is obviously insane. A film that takes place in one room with a half dozen characters in the dark is close to the novel how? There is no Alex and his droogs, no attack on the bum, no rape, no jail, no matching dialog. It is pathetic at best. Then she seems like she ran out of things to quote by ending the essay without being interested or understanding why ACO is a cult classic. If you have to ask, it's too late. This piece is more interesting as a history of pornography and obscenity than it is about ACO. Otherwise quoting bad reviews from over 30 years ago is less than stellar reading.

Chapter 3

An erotics of violence: masculinity and (homo)sexuality in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange
By Margaret DeRosia, Pages 61-84

    She says there are three things ACO reviews focus on – philosophical questions, violence and Kubrick’s genius. There is no focus on sexuality. She says we feel sorry for Alex in the Ludovico clinic since he is sympathetic. Even though there is violence toward men and women, the Vietnam era men are more violent toward men. She feels that the discussion of Kubrick as an auteur never deals with his problematic treatment of women and that masculinity is the default setting in the film.
    Masculinity is on trial, is challenged and the sex is not erotic, but is a diversion for more meaningful S&M encounters with men. The playing field is rendered unequal through violent ambivalence toward women. There are anxieties toward masculinity. Alex is ironic in that he charms us in the first shot. She also believes the furniture in the Korova is more alive than the people inside. She thinks that Alex’s fake eyelash is a feminine masquerade. His eye and the eyeballs on his cufflinks link him to the feminine furniture and their clothes blend in with the furniture. This makes it masculine because of the lifeless women tables. The film opening creates dual anxieties in power and gender differences. All the attacks on women have a presence of phallic items to intimidate and reassure men. The scene at the derelict casino is comic because of the setting and music. The boys focus on the woman is a preamble to the struggle between the men. Alex repeatedly beating Billyboy is a form of penetration. Later she says that Mrs. Alexander is not considered important. Her rape has Oedipal overtones as the father is forced to watch the son rape his mother. Also by showing the attacks in slow motion that it is homosocial. Playing the William Tell Overture to a sexual encounter is a diversion. She also claims that when the droogs meet up with Alex in his lobby that Georgie standing behind Dim represents sodomy. The mural in the lobby is also loaded with homosexual graffiti. The droogs meeting Alex in his flatblock is a form of seduction with Dims’ comments about Alex’s Gulliver referring to him having sex and him giving orders and discipline is a reference to sexual acts and harsh discipline. All references to money, sex and discipline are a referral to the penis. Alex’s attack on Georgie and Dim at the marina is castration by attacking them in their crotches and cutting Dim’s hand. 
    She then proclaims the attack on Alex is the films’ most disturbing scene. It is the one time when it isn’t from Alex’s point of view. We see he bottle crash down on him from Dim’s hand from behind. In prison Alex is rewarded for being a villain by being chosen for the Ludovico treatment. By using film as the form of treatment it encourages the illusion of participation. In the treatment Alex becomes the subject and object both active and passive. Eventually the film is replaced with Alex. Afterwards the demonstration shows Alex as the unwitting participant as the actors know their roles. Only Alex is oblivious and the chief guard reacts to it all. Also the treatment is ambivalent to woman in that the only woman shown is ugly and stern. The treatment actually makes Alex disgusted by heterosexual sex, which makes a kinship between Alex and the raped woman. By taking away his sexual urges he becomes a woman. The story shows that trying to be masculine only gets you tested, tortured, beaten and reformed. 
    When Alex comes to Home the second time it is role reversal. Mr. Alexander is the one in control and takes pleasure in causing harm to Alex. Mrs. Alexander has been replaced by Julian in a possible gay relationship. She is only a decorative object. Mr. Alexander seduces Alex with wine and by moving closer to him each time. She says they are locked in a sadomasochistic struggle where pleasure is not drawn from a woman, but from attacking each other.
    Alex’s cure links him with the state, but for how long as public opinion is quick to change? She wonders how cured can he possibly be when the final shot has to resort to fantasy instead of reality.
    In conclusion she refers to how the violence of the ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ sequence is punctuated to the music. These two things come together to make a third – the final image, a sadomasochistic struggle between two men as father and son. By Alex addressing the audience as “my brothers” he is also leaving the women out. Then she says that all erotic sequences in the film are mixed with violence. The lack of heterosexual relief spills over into the violence causing homosocial release.

Pg 63 – “…the film’s final image of Alex and a woman frolicking in the mud…” Mud!? Since when is mud white!?
Pg 64 – “…the mud wrestling finale.” Once again, what is she smoking?
Pg 68 – 2nd paragraph “…a gang of men raping a young woman on the casino’s stage.” This should be attempted rape. She vacillates between rape and attempted rape in her description.
Pg 68 – Same paragraph says Alex refers to the rape as a “…game of the old in-out.” The correct quote would be “They were getting ready to perform a little of the old in-out, in-out on a weepy young devotchka they had there.” She wants us to think of it as a game, so she made that quote up.
Pg 69 – Billy Boy responds to Alex, “Let’s get her boys.” Once again she is desperate to twist the film to her warped ideas that she makes up another quote. The correct quote is, “Let’s get ‘em boys.”
Pg 71 – 1st paragraph “…the last attempted rape/attack…with the Cat Lady” There is absolutely no attempt to rape the Cat Lady. That was not the intention of the whole break in. The point was to rob the place.
Pg 71 – 3rd paragraph Dim saying “using the Gulliver too much” she equates with sex. This is far from the truth as Dim had no way of knowing Alex was with the two women.
Pg 71 – Dim saying “orders and discipline” is a reference to sexual acts. Once again this is pure fantasy. It is painfully obvious that Dim is referring to Alex being their leader when they didn’t see him as such.
Pg 72 – “…one wonders what ‘pretty polly’ really is”. She tries to say it is a sexual reference. She should consult the stolen nadsat glossary in the back of the book, which clearly labels it as money.
Pg 80 – referring to Mrs. Alexander “her appearance in the red, eye-shaped chair.” First of all the chair is white! Eyes aren’t round and this chair is ball shaped.


    Delusional. This is a typical trait of gay people – they think because they chose to be gay, so has everyone else. This is pure fiction. She makes up quotes and sees things that do not exist to support her insanity – and she is insane. To say two gangs fighting over a girl is homoerotic just makes no sense. In the jungle males fight over the nearest female. Besides, Alex isn't interested in the girl, just pounding on Billboy.  Even when there is sex she claims it isn’t erotic and the women are just objects. Just because there are penises drawn on the wall in Alex’s building doesn’t mean it is gay. It is just funny to draw penises on the paintings of the men, nothing more. I don’t want to be like her and drone on and on using big words to cause confusion and subterfuge. Simply there is nothing here that makes sense. Everything to her has nothing to do with heterosexual pleasure, it is all to cover up or embrace something gay. To honestly say that Alex beating the crap out of Billyboy is a sexual penetration is sheer lunacy. This is a person who knows nothing of fighting and anger. Also conveniently forgotten is the fact that the droogs are high on drugs here which causes them to go overboard. I could go on and on tearing down each “argument” she makes, but what is the point? There is nothing gay about gangs wanting to go out and have fun and cause damage. It is a release, not a sexual one, but one of frustration and pent up rage by a society that does accept of understand them. The irony of it all is that the one scene that lends itself most to homosexual interpretation is when Deltoid confronts Alex and she doesn’t even mention it! I think Deltoid is trying to get through to Alex in a harsh way by grabbing his yarbles because it is painful, not pleasurable even though others think he is gay.

Chapter 4

Stanley Kubrick and the Art of Cinema
By Krin Gabbard and Sailja Sharma, Pages 85-108

    The pair think that ACO was a new direction for art films and is a modernist work. It drew upon writers like Nabokov, Brecht, Weiss and Beckett. They feel conservatives didn’t like the sex and violence in the film and liberals didn’t like the portrayal of British socialism. To back up their claim film they say the movie follows art film rules. First it must contain a goal bereft protagonist. Second is an episodic format, in this case the tormented become tormentors. Third is Spatiotemporal expressive effects like the backlighting in the tunnel, quick camera movements and montages. Fourth is central boundary situation, which is a world that makes real change impossible. Finally it references older cinema like ‘2001’ and ‘Singin’ in the Rain.’
    They think the film is grand guignol and that the sociopathic nature of the anti-hero is not new. They feel the artist is the hero and spend time comparing Alex to Stephen Dedalus in Joyce’s “Portrait.” Alex rejects his parents and there is an ambiguity toward religion. The chaplain is played for a fool, yet is the only one who speaks out against the Ludovico treatment. At the end of the film Alex rejects everyone except for Beethoven who saves him by making him able to enjoy music again.
Alex’s eyelash calls attention to his eye and what he sees. The change in this is when the final blow to the Cat Lady is from her point of view and that she was killed by her perception of what art is. We feel what Alex feels and Kubrick insists the audience share his POV.
    The music embraces romanticism and rejects being inaudible or in the background. Then for no reason they carry on and on for pages and pages on the use of music in all of Kubrick’s films up to ACO.
    Singin’ in the Rain is used in three different styles. Alex stares like Beethoven in the beginning of the film. They feel Rossini is inappropriate in a futuristic setting, but is appropriate for the fight scene. Kubrick uses well-known classical pieces so the audience would recognize them. Alex demands respect for the music, which is why he whacks Dim in the Korova. Then they spend a lot of time covering the music in Kubrick’s post ACO films. They say “Lighthouse Keeper” is intended to increase our alarm over Alex’s rejection by his parents. At the Ludovico Center they use Beethoven, which is their undoing and failure. To Alex it is a sin to equate Beethoven with those images, to the doctors it is just a background score. This shows he is the only one with good taste. Kubrick also had Walter Carlos create electronic versions of popular classical pieces to make the audience feel more at home. Alex becomes deprived of his freedom and Beethoven’s music symbolizes freedom.
The film portrays a morally bankrupt culture where victims are not sympathetic. Alex is compared to Richard III, but Alex is sympathetic where as Richard is not. They also feel many of the performances are highly stylized like those given by Patrick Magee, Aubrey Morris, Godfrey Quigley and Michael Bates. At the end Beethoven equals redemption and the film achieved cult status because of the imagery, not because it is high art.

Pg 89 – “F. Alexander, the initial standing perhaps for ‘father of’”. Not quite, his name is Frank.
Note 3 – “As of this writing Malcolm McDowell appears…in the sitcom Pearl.” This piece was written in 1999/00, published in 2003 and that show was cancelled in 1997.


    Confusing and off topic. This piece started out on an interesting track attempting to prove that ACO is an art film. This is fine and I don’t disagree with it. Then for some reason the piece goes off course and talks about music in Kubrick films. This would be OK if they just focused on ACO, but for reasons unknown they go back to Kubrick’s first short film in 1951 and work their way all the way up to ACO. Then ACO is covered a bit and they continue with all of Kubrick’s post ACO films! What is the point of all this? They and the editor seem to forget this is a book about ACO, not the complete film library of Kubrick. So once again the bulk of an article here is just unnecessary filler. The ending is also bizarre. They imply that the only reason anyone likes the film now has nothing to do with great acting, story or directing – it’s just because it looks cool!? Then they seem to conclude that maybe the film really isn’t art. This makes the entire piece a total waste since the bulk is about music, which it isn’t supposed to be and then it ends like a car crash into a brick wall because they weren’t watching where they were going by changing their minds about it being an art film.

Chapter 5

"A bird of like rarest spun heavenmetal" - Music in A Clockwork Orange
By Peter J. Rabinowitz, Pages 109-30

He begins by going into Alex's description of an imaginary violin concerto by Geroffrey Oautus, which is detailed in the book. He says Burgess came up with fake composers so, like nadsat, it wouldn't date the book no matter when you read it. He also says that it makes us feel antipathy to Alex's violent side as he is our sole guide to the music and story. This leads to two choices for Kubrick - to portray the fake music with new compositions, or to just leave them out completely. Kubrick chose the latter. He writes how Kubrick ditched the fake composers and hits us brilliantly with Beethoven and other classic masterworks. The music acts as an emotional counterpoint to what is on the screen. He does feel that Kubrick lost something by switching from the fake to the real. He feels the novel is written more as a musical composition, a sonata if you will. He thinks Kubrick, unlike Alex, wasn't keen on music and disregards Burgess' central theme.
He goes on to say that there are three primary components to the process of listening to music. It isn't clear what they are except the technical, the meaning and the observation of usage. Once you've seen 2001 it's hard to think of 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' in a different way because you associate it with the imagery of the aligning of planets. The same thing with ACO as you associate the William Tell with Alex's threesome, though the older crowd might still think of the Lone Ranger.
He also feels that playing Beethoven over the Nazi images in the Ludovico films is no accident because both are of German origin. Because the songs in the book are made up we are forced to recognize the attributive aspects of Alex's experience. Alex offers us two views - the historical one as in the German classical music and the ethical view - the rights and wrongs of how the music makes him feel. Music makes Alex feel violent, where it doesn't affect us in the same way. The music stimulates his aggressive instincts at first, but in the end he learns to appreciate the music for what it is. He cannot choose the good without the knowledge that the bad does exist.
Kubrick left out the 21st chapter by choice. Even if he had included it he feels it wouldn't have been true to Burgess' vision because Kubrick is insensitive to music. Kubrick jokes by making Beethoven's Fifth the doorbell chime as Mr. Alexanders', but his musical taste is incompatible with the novel. He also separated the music from the Nazi regime and Beethoven represents the good music. He also feels that the extensive use of Rossini is a very different direction than the musical terrain of the novel. The inclusion of 'Singin' in the Rain' is something Alex would've never sang in the novel. Alex hates the popular music of the day, especially the stuff the girls in the record shop listen to. It is in the film because it was the only song Malcolm knew all the words to. With the elimination of the imaginary music there is a shift to how music is used. Instead of being in the background like most films, here it is in the foreground. Therefore Kubrick is able to use the music to neutralize the violence. He is able to turn the attack on Billyboy into an almost balletic dance. The sped up ménage a trios scene turns into art and the music becomes a joke to counter it. We are to take the high moral aspect of Beethoven's Ninth as a juxtaposition to Alex's fantasies of sex and violence. The viewer is asked to accept this without question. The main difference between the book and the film is that the book uses the violence to raise questions about the music and the film uses the music to manipulate the reaction to the violence.



    Very interesting. This is the best and only worthy addition to the book. It is really odd that they have included an essay on the music, especially after the previous essay on art decided to turn into an essay on the music. This makes it even more apparent that the fourth essay should've been drastically edited. It is totally unnecessary to include two essays on the music especially when the first one wasn't supposed to be about music at all. The author really took an interesting path into something I hadn't spent any time considering - the fake music in the book vs. the real music in the film. I can see the distinction, but it doesn't matter to me since the music works so perfectly in the film that I can't imagine it any other way. If the film was silent it would be dangerously empty, so the soundtrack is Kubrick's secret weapon. While I don't agree with the author that the change ruins the rhythm of the film, I appreciate him opening my eyes to this new avenue of thought. I like the analysis, just not the conclusions. If you do decide to buy or borrow this book I would recommend only reading this chapter. Even though at times it is long winded and almost impossible to follow his very own musical rules, it is definitely food for thought.

Positive Review

The Décor of Tomorrow's Hell
Review by Robert Hughes in Time, December 27, 1971 - Pages 131-3

    This is a "positive" review of the film, though it is hard to say why he liked it as he doesn't get into it. Since he was the art critic he carries on about the art and sculpture in the film deciding that in the vast cultural emptiness in which the film is set no work of art can be important. He thinks it made exquisitely chilling predictions of the future more so than any film in history. He wants us to watch out for the music on the soundtrack as it means some atrocious will soon appear. He too agrees the defining line of the film is Alex's comment about the colors of the world only seeming real when seen on the movie screen.

Pg 131- "…Burgess's 1963 novel". It was published in 1962.
Pg 132 - "a girl is gang-raped in a deserted casino." Why do so many reviewers get this wrong? It was ATTEMPTED rape! She was able to escape, before the dirty deed was completed.
Pg 133 - "I was really cured at last" he lists as the final line instead of the proper, "I was cured all right." Just plain sloppy.


I hate to say anything bad about a positive review, but this is just typical long-winded junk in a small package. What is so hard about coming out and saying if you like a film and what you like about it? I'm not even certain he truly liked the film. He may have liked some things, but he doesn't bother to  say what. It is just sad that these people are paid "professionals", but take a long time to say nothing. Is he recommending the film or is he just commenting on the art?

Negative Review

A Clockwork Orange: Stanley Strangelove
Review by Pauline Kael in The New Yorker, January 1, 1972 - Pages 134-9

    She calls the film cold and strict, but loves the book as it is lyrical music. She describes the book and how Alex is mechanical whether he is good or bad. Kubrick's Alex is likable because he victims are repulsive. Alex is only a robot when he is good and when he is bad he is truly alive and passionate. She gives high praise to Malcolm's performance and likens him to James Cagney, which must have thrilled him since he is Malcolm's favorite actor. Then she switches back to saying Kubrick enjoys making us not care about the victims and wants us to feel they are worse than we are. In the book Alex is more evil and Kubrick removes many of his more horrible traits making him more of a victim and the government into the evil one. The film has no depth, is adolescent, confusing, corrupt and pornographic. This is what makes it repulsive, because Kubrick has no talent for it. Kubrick has always been one of the least erotic directors and the phallic humor is awful. Instead of being turned on or repulsed you are just left cold. Every performance is terrible except for Malcolm's. She then  accuses the film of dragging on endlessly long after we get the point. The attempted rape of the girl by Billy Boy's gang is pure exploitation and Kubrick is just a showman who cannot make simple movies. In conclusion she feels Kubrick is just sucking up to the thugs in the audience.

Pg 134 - "The numerous rapes and beatings have no ferocity and no sensuality." This is just plain wrong and disturbing. In fact there is only one rape that is shown and that is during the Ludovico treatment. Ironic isn't it that the worst scenes are during that film? Iis just disturbing that she wants ferocious rapes and thinks that there can actually be sensuality in rape!? Rape is a violent act. That is all it can ever be. There is just something not right in her brain.


I'm no fan of Pauline, mainly because of this review. I have no idea why she was such a highly regarded reviewer of the day. Was there just no one else with any talent that a hack like her was able to rise to prominence? First of all the title alone annoys me. What does Stanley Strangelove mean? It is such a sickening cute little snide statement. Here diatribe is unforgettable in it is so asinine. She starts, "…ACO might be the work of a strict and exacting German professor who set out to make a porno-violent sci-fi comedy." What the hell does that mean? It sounds to me like she is saying, "Look how brilliant I am" more than anything else. She is just a humorless, staunch feminist who doesn't get it or doesn't want to get the joke. She is horrified at the nudity and violence because she can't see it as absurd. How can anyone not think it is funny to beat some to the tune of 'Singin' in the Rain'? In fact, we don't see the rape or the blood and it seems that is why she is upset. She doesn't want to be teased, she wants to be fully turned on, if that is possible. Then she carries on that the film is just low brow exploitation. She misses the whole point that the most violent scenes in the film are the ones shown to Alex to make him good. She is also upset because she feels Kubrick missed the point of the book by not looking at the book and film as two different entities. She is closed minded from the beginning and wasn't willing to give the film a chance. Therefore I have never been willing to give her a chance as a reviewer because of her lack of respect for Kubrick. It is one thing to say you don't like the film, it is another to delight in putting the director down.


A glossary of Nadsat
Pages 141-9

This section is basically stolen from my website and others. It also doesn't make any sense to include it since this book is only supposed to be about the film, but this glossary covers the entire novel. If it were just a glossary of what was in the film it would make sense to include it.

Pages 151-61

This is a list of credits to all of Kubricks' films. Once again it is nothing new and was most likely just taken from the imdb. Since it really has nothing to do with anything it is just filler to include it. Only the inclusion of the ACO credits is warranted.

Selected Bibliography
Pages 161-3

It would've been better to get a complete bibliography, but there is almost two pages of ACO reviews so that is something. Disappointing overall.

Pgs 167-8

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