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The Walter Reade Theater salutes an exceptional British actor, whose acting career has spanned four decades: Malcolm McDowell. Vastly talented, with a seductive voice, mercurial personality and bold physicality, McDowell commands the screen as hero or villain. So full of ferocious energy that he often seems on the verge of bursting into song and dance like a Yorkshire Jimmy Cagney, he can be equally dynamic when he subsides into reflection, even serenity. In Time After Time he plays an unlikely romantic lead as H.G. Wells who is wooed by an American bank employee (charming Mary Steenburgen) through the medium of a time machine. In the powerful and previously unseen Soviet-made Assassin of the Tsar, which Vincent Canby of The New York Times called "a remarkable... meditation on regicide" he embodies a dual role brilliantly and looks entirely like a Russian out of a Dostoevsky novel. In Get Crazy he plays an egregiously narcissistic rocker named Reggie Wanker in a performance that demonstrates his gift for broad comic effect. Going into Lindsay Anderson's if.... McDowell was a 24-year-old unknown playing a 16-year-old rebel. He makes his entrance memorably in a black cape that covers most of his face, a canny self-dramatizer. The character of Mick Travis — brash, insolent, but innocent — recurred in Anderson's second film, O Lucky Man! Here, Mick embarks on a series of comic and horrific misadventures that form the core of a picaresque journey punctuated by an inspired musical score by Alan Price. In between, the Malcolm-persona is crystallized in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. As the Beethoven-worshipping droog Alex, he is mesmerizing, his enormous blue eyes staring insolently at us from beneath heavy lashes. No less riveting today in the soon to be released Gangster No. 1, he brings out the bitterness and braggadocio of a former London crime lord engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with his past. To get the full measure of McDowell's appeal, don't miss Harold Pinter's mordant domestic masterpiece, The Collection, starring Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates, Helen Mirren and McDowell. This 60-minute Granada TV production, directed by Michael Apted, will be preceded by a 20-minute video of McDowell career clips featuring films not shown in this series. Malcolm McDowell will appear in person at a number of public screenings. – Joanna Ney
New York Times Weekend
New York Guide 5/27/02
"Stanley Kubrick once said I could play a thug with intelligence. My school headmaster said I was very naughty without being malicious. I've always felt rather insolent - performing came easy. There was never any acting involved."
NY Resident 6/10/02
Ticket stubs for
Walter Reade Theater Box Office
Walter Reade Theater Front Doors
Lobby articles display
Gangster Number 1 US Poster
Painted by Philip Castle who painted the famous ACO Poster
Image was printed in reverse - whoops!
Paul was laughing because Malcolm was busting on a photographer who asked them to turn to the left again.
Candid shot of Malcolm before Assassin of the Tsar 5/24
Malcolm on stage for ACO Q&A 5/26
Wed May 22
2:00 pm - Figures in a Landscape
4:00 pm - Time After Time
6:30 pm - if.... (Paul intro, followed by MM Q & A)
9:00 pm - The Collection (clips film, MM intro and Q & A)
Clips film includes excerpts from Little Red Riding Hood, Cross Creek, My Life So Far, Blue Thunder, Tank Girl, Just Visiting, Star Trek, Hugo Pool, Pearl + Sunset (20 mins)
if.... Q & A
Clips Film Q & A
Malcolm's Collection Introduction
Paul Sutton introduced if.... and even wrote
a little 2pg summary which was available at the theater. His main point was that if you
haven't seen it before to just sit back and enjoy it. If you have seen it
before, then enjoy the beautiful new print. If you have seen it many, many times
then focus on Malcolm's great performance.
If you have never seen if.... in the theater then you really haven't seen it. When the DVD comes out you will see what I mean. It is very bright and colorful, which is lost on those 20 year old VHS tapes we are used to. It is also much more profound when it switches between color and black and white film. It had been many years since I had seen the film and was struck by how it was almost like short stories instead of a film where you just follow main character. For example - Chapter 3 is called 'Term Time', but no tests are shown, just different characters adventures. It is a unique film in this sense. Another thing I really liked was how long some of the shots were. When Johnny, Wallace and Mick are getting caned in the gym, each takes their turn and it is one shot - from one angle. I don't know how this art got lost. The Mtv style of jumping all over or the NYPD Blue home movie camera style makes me literally sick watching it.
For the first time during the retrospective Malcolm came on stage for his Q&A. Joanna Ney, the director, stayed up with him asking questions she wanted to know and repeating ones from the audience in case people couldn't hear. Most of the questions were pretty standard like "Why the B/W and color scenes?", "why the title if...?" "the reaction to the film", etc.
The clips film was fun because you got to see his best scenes from some films that aren't worth watching except to see those scenes. The Little Red Riding Hood scene is where he is at his campfire talking about getting some real food. The Cross Creek scene was the first half of his only scene as Max Perkins when he arrives at cross Cross Creek. The scene from My Life So Far was when he returned to the house and is talking to his mother. Edward and his kids are going swimming and Morris is upset because Edward rehired a worker he had fired. The Blue Thunder clip is right after the first helicopter test and Cochrane isn't happy and is even less happy when Murphy shows up as part of the project. The scene from Tank Girl is the best scene in the film from the Water and Power headquarters when Kesslee smashes the glass maps, makes the captain take off his shoes and walk across the broken glass to him. Then only to kill him and drain him of his water. Lovely! The clip from Just Visiting is when the Wizard comes to the castle pretending to be a priest. He whips up his potion to send The Count and André back in time and then realizes he forgot the last acorn. From Star Trek, of course it is the "They say time is the fire in which we burn" scene - an all-time favorite. From Hugo Pool it is one of Malcolm's best scenes - the one with the puppet under the tree. When I was talking to Malcolm after he said he included the clip because I mentioned it to him last time we spoke! How cool is that!? The clip from Pearl was his introductory scene which includes the great "What is an intellectual?" speech. It was the first time I had seen it since it first aired and reminded me how great he was on that lousy show. Finally the clip from Sunset, the one film I wouldn't have included in the reel, was when Alfie does his Charlie Chaplain routine in the club.
Malcolm came up again and talked a little about the scenes from Riding Hood, My Life So Far and Tank Girl. What he said about Tank Girl sums up exactly what I have been saying for years about it. Thankfully he didn't talk about Sunset, one of my least favorite of his films.
He then introduced The Collection explaining how hard it was for them to get the print and how during a recent Pinter retrospective it wasn't even shown. For almost everyone this would be their first time seeing it. I had seen it on video many years ago and didn't think too much of it. On the big screen it was much more fun.
Malcolm came back up after the film for the Q&A, but didn't answer to many questions as he told some stories and there isn't too much you can really ask about the short film since he covered most of it.
After the Q&A he came down and hung out so people could talk to him and get things signed. Since I got his signature last time I was more interested in showing him things he hadn't seen. I had an 8x10 of his 1960 Rugby Team photo made and brought that. People were handing him the usual ACO things to sign and I just handed him that. He was totally shocked. "That's my Rugby team school photo!?" He pointed out to colleagues which one he was and couldn't believe I had it. "Where did you get it?" I told him Duncan Nielson had sent it to me and once again he was surprised to hear his old schoolmate was the one and shook my hand in thanks. I was heading out when I ran into Paul. It was the first time we met in person after many months of emailing about if.., Lindsay and Malcolm.
Outside the theater I showed the Rugby picture to his wife Kelley and asked if she had seen it before. She was also surprised to see the blowup, but admitted they had the picture on the wall of their bathroom! She then took it and said, "Let me get him to sign it for you." And then brought it over to him and he signed it. That was very cool of her to do for me. He then told me, "I hope you won't be bored by hearing my stories as I know you have heard them all before." I said I wouldn't miss it and was there to support him. He again shook my hand and thanked me for coming and said he would see me later.
It was certainly a perfect ending for a great first day. Seeing two films in the theater for the first time, meeting Malcolm again, hearing his stories, meeting his wife, getting the picture signed, getting to meet Paul and just hanging out with everyone and talking. Much thanks to everyone who put the show together including Joanna, Mike Kaplan and everyone at the theater. I couldn't have had a better time.
Thurs May 23
8:00 pm - Gangster No. 1 (MM intro and Q & A)
Q&A with Malcolm and Paul
Today was a much shorter day than the first
night since there was only one film. When we arrived at the theater there was a
sign that said it was sold out. I found that hard to believe on a Thursday
night. We went in and saw Malcolm there and my wife told him we needed tickets
and he said not to worry about it and he talked to Joanna the director and she
got us free tickets which was great of both of them.
There was more reason to hang out as there was a cocktail party an hour before hand since it was the NY premiere of the film. When one walked into the lobby on the left there was a the new US poster for the film which is much cooler than the UK version. This one has the text "Malcolm McDowell + Paul Bettany = Gangster Number" then underneath facing left is a painting of Malcolm and facing right is a painting of Paul and they are separated by a large "1". Even cooler is the fact that Philip Castle painted it, his first poster for a Malcolm movie since ACO! It is great to see a painted poster since it is fast becoming a lost art as most posters from the last 10 years or more just use stills from the film. Next to that display was some recent articles about the retrospective from The Daily News, The Village Voice and four others. There was also some 8x10s from Cat People and O Lucky Man! After entering the second door and turning to the right was where the lobby where the party was. On the walls was a large blowup of the Insolent Angel press release and a half dozen more Gangster posters. In between those there were Time After Time, Cat People and a 3 sheet ACO poster. In front of that area was where the wine bar was set up. On the far wall was a collection of rare foreign posters including a Japanese if.... and Time After Time; Polish if...., Aces High, Raging Moon and O Lucky Man!; Plus a UK if.... quad and a vintage Caligula.
In front of this wall was where the food was located. The food was very upscale with wrapped meats and cold chicken on a stick with a type of pecan sauce that was like nothing I'd ever tasted. After eating the chicken you put the stick in a lemon. There was also vegetables and chocolates.
Malcolm and Paul Bettany were on hand for the gathering and Paul was dressed almost like the Gangster from the film. He had a dark navy blue pin stripe suit with spiky hair and light beard. It is funny to see Paul standing next to Malcolm as he is around 6ft 2" tall and Malcolm is 5 ft 10". One then realizes that in person it is quite a stretch for them to play the same character. The only characteristic they share is the striking blue eyes.
They took time for a photo shoot from many different sides and as photographers came over they had to turn back they way they just faced and Malcolm was saying how silly it was. Then Paul left and they took shots of just Malcolm. I wonder why these photographers are even there as they don't even know who the people are. One photographer was saying to Malcolm, "Paul could you turn this way." It was pretty pathetic. There wasn't anyone else there from the film, but there were a couple other actors. One older woman who I completely didn't recognize was the one who played the prostitute in Midnight Cowboy. I have no idea why they were fawning over her. She was wearing a really cheesy outfit, something a teenager might wear - a hat and suspenders with silver glitter with words like "superstar" on them. The whole outfit just screamed "Look at me!"
Malcolm and Paul were talking and I went over and said hello to Malcolm and that was when he told me about including the Hugo Pool clip because of me, which was very cool and surprising. I had brought the playbill for Twelfth Night, the one he was doing when he got the call for if.... Malcolm was quite surprised to see it and Paul got a real kick out of it. I showed him where there was a little drawing of him as he was telling Paul it was the worst play that Shakespeare ever wrote. Paul looked through it and I got a picture of him holding it. I showed them where the cast list was and Malcolm said, "See how low down I am, that tells you something." And laughed about it. I got my picture taken with both of them and asked about the Going Mad in Hollywood project. Malcolm asked me if I was looking forward to the film and I said of course, but I have had it on DVD for a while. He was surprised to hear that and the fact I came out to see it anyway. I told him it was such a great film and I wanted to see it on the big screen. Paul then went outside to smoke.
A woman came over to ask Malcolm if he wanted a drink and he said sure. She went to get it and a man from Entertainment Weekly came over to ask him about Gangster. Most of the questions were extremely typical like, "why do you play so many villain roles?" Do these people do any homework at all? How many times must he have been asked that lame question? Malcolm was pretty gracious about it though. He could've just said "Do me a favor!" and blown him off.
The woman came back with the drink and had to wait for him to finish with the EW guy before giving it to him. I asked her what she did and she explained she was the US promoter for the film. We talked about the movie and how I had seen it and she said then you know it is a great film. She couldn't understand why it took two years to convince IFC to finally release it in the US. She was the one who told me about Philip Castle doing the poster artwork, though she had been trying all night to remember his name. I gave her my card and wrote his name on it. She was quite happy because no one she asked knew his name. I went and looked at the poster closely and saw the Castle name on the side and was quite pleased to know he was still painting movie posters. She said she could get me any promotional materials from the film, but that I probably had it all anyway. I said I needed one of those posters and she said no problem.
Around this time they opened the theater for seating and we went in to get close seats. Each film I picked the same seat on the left in the third row because that is where Malcolm came down before he went on stage. As soon as I got the seats I went back to get my last shot of food for the night.
Malcolm came up and introduced the film and also introduced Paul Bettany and Robert Altman to the crowd. It is even more fun when you find out Malcolm and Paul would be watching the film with us. I was thinking that if people hadn't seen the film, then they might not even know who Paul was. Malcolm said he was very happy to finally introduce a film where he actually looks like he does today. Usually he introduces films from 30 years ago and he barely recognizes himself.
The film is amazing. Even though I had seen it before, it had been around a year, so it wasn't totally fresh in my mind. The soundtrack is quite loud and I really love the visual style. The split screen, the cracking glass effects and the repeating of scenes from different angles. It isn't the typical way films are done today. It was also the uncut version with the full Lennie Taylor killing scene and even a bit of the Maxie battery torture shown. Certainly one of Malcolm's best and the ultimate proof that he's still got it and we can look forward to many more cool performances from him.
Afterwards for the Q&A Malcolm almost had to twist Paul's arm to come up and join him. I thought that was cool because after all it was Malcolm's night. I guess Paul thought the same thing, but I also found out he doesn't really like talking about how he works because he "feels like an ass" when he does. I'll transcribe what they said later, but the most bizarre event of the whole week happened then. It was when Alan from the theater started going off on how the film had no point and then left. No one could understand what his problem was and he was rambling on about the war in Bosnia and how the film did nothing for society and how Gangster killed Freddie to get to the top. I guess he didn't see the same film since Freddie didn't die. Joanna tried to deflect that the actors play the parts and the vision is that of the director and he wasn't here. After they left the stage Malcolm was saying what was Alan's problem and they couldn't understand where he was coming from and how disturbing it was that he acted that way.
Another great and also late night by the time we got home. It was such a thrill to hangout with Paul and Malcolm and talk about the film and see it in the theater for the first time. For anyone who hasn't seen it it opens June 14 in NY and July in LA. Make sure you go out and see it as it doesn't disappoint.
Fri May 24
1:30 pm - Long Ago Tomorrow
3:45 pm - Cat People
6:30 pm - Assassin of the Tsar (MM intro and Q & A)
9:30 pm - Long Ago Tomorrow (MM intro)
Q&A For Assassin of the Tsar
Today was also a one film night for me. The
traffic getting up there was the worst day of the whole event because of the
start of the Memorial Day weekend. No big deal. I was very interested in seeing Assassin
since I had only seen it on a grainy VHS copy as it has never been released in
the US even after 10 years.
Malcolm spoke about the film in length because it was the first time for almost everyone in the audience seeing it. He is very proud of the film and it is one of his all-time favorites that he has made. It was his first experience in Russia and he was also the first English actor in a Russian production. He told most of the stories he revealed for the first time on the Tom Snyder show in 1998. About how he got the part - the director's mother was a big fan of Caligula! The story of how they died his hair - using toothbrushes and carbon copy! And how it looked better than most Hollywood jobs anyway.
The print was from the UK, so there still isn't a US release print. Hopefully this year or next the film will finally see a US release. It certainly is a great film, one of the best I've ever seen. Malcolm really shines and it is easily his signature film of the 1990s and really a shame that it hasn't been shown more. People who think of him as this actor who does only B movie type villain roles need to see this film to shut them up.
Even seeing it on the big screen with years to think about it, I'm still not sure of how Timofeyev knows what he does. I even asked Malcolm about that later, but he admitted he didn't know either! Maybe the director will get a chance to explain when it is released in the US. Even though the film was made on almost no budget, it looks as good as any big budget US film. Everyone involved should be proud of what was accomplished with this film.
The Q&A was lengthy and interesting since it is probably the first time he has ever gotten a chance to do one and not just repeat answers he has been giving for the last 30 years on other films. Audience response was overwhelmingly positive and a few people called the film "hypnotizing." I was happy that people enjoyed it as it is a very complex film that tells a story in a way that hasn't been done before. Most people had never even seen a Russian film before and wanted to know more about the setting and the films from there. Malcolm also told a very funny story of going through customs at the end. Hopefully word will spread and the film will make its long overdue US release and everyone who never had the chance to see it will finally be able to do so.
I hung around for Malcolm's introduction to Long Ago Tomorrow. There was only around 40 or so people in the theater and Malcolm said he could throw a cow into the crowd and not hit anyone. After the intro he wanted to stay for a few minutes until he saw Nanette on screen again.
Afterwards I got to talk to Malcolm for a bit as he was heading out for dinner. I showed him some more obscure item I had like a Caligula letter opener, original unused ACO movie ticket and pictures of the Blue Thunder today. He can't understand where I get them as he isn't into the Internet. While he was getting ready I got to talk to his wife Kelley all the way to the restaurant. She is so sweet and I had fun talking with her. It is just like talking to another big Malcolm fan. She ask me if I had seen certain films she hadn't been able to find and what they are like. I was telling her I just saw The Passage and she was so jealous as they have been trying to track the film down for years. Even Malcolm can't get a hold of his own films! I gave her my card and told her I could send her a copy and she was thrilled. We said goodnight as Paul Sutton and I headed off to hangout somewhere and get a drink.
We went across the street to a large Barnes & Noble on Broadway, but the upstairs coffee bar was jam packed. So we wound up going around the corner to a Starbucks type place and he told me about his interview with Malcolm he conducted earlier in the day. We talked for a while, but I had to cut it somewhat short because of my long trip back home. All in all another fun filled night.
Sat May 25
1:30 pm - The Collection (MM
intro and Q & A)
4:00 pm - O Lucky Man! (Paul/MM intro and Q & A)
8:00 pm - A Clockwork Orange (MM intro and Q & A)
Malcolm's OLM! Intro
Q&A for O Lucky Man!
This day was the most work for Malcolm -
three films with intros and Q&As. First up was a repeat of The Collection
which I skipped as I had seen it on the first night. Basically I was coming for
the new, uncut O Lucky Man! print. Traffic into the city was amazingly light and
I made it to the theater in record time. This gave me a chance to make copies of
the recent retrospective articles in the New York papers that I will post down
the road. It was also good that I arrived early because I was able to interview
Malcolm some more. I also who ran into Paul who was recruited to do an intro for
OLM! and wasn't totally prepared for the task. He hadn't seen the film in two
years and had to think about it a bit. I gave him ideas of which he used some
and expanded on a few.
For his intro he said the film was about a man with the perfect smile who loses it along the way and at the end struggles to recover it. I thought that was a good trick to summarize a 3 hour film in one sentence! He gave the British perspective on the film that no one in the audience save Malcolm would have, so it was interesting. He also talked about how it was the first and probably only film that covered all areas of England and not just the London area as most British films do. He mentioned the gentleman's clubs in North England and how it was the only type of entertainment available there. He highly complimented Malcolm's performance and the entire cast in general. Then he mentioned about the known fact that everyone in the film played multiple roles. The reason was to save money, not because of some grand scheme. He recalled how he only recently noticed that Arthur Lowe who played the mayor in the beginning also played Dr. Munda near the end. This is funny because Arthur is a white man and Munda is black! This provided laughs every time Munda came on screen which would've been lost if he hadn't spoken of it, so it was a great thing for him to mention. Afterwards he asked me how he did, was it really OK? and I told him it went good. I don't think he believed me, so Paul - you did well! ;-)
In the original program, the wasn't going to be ANY introduction to the film. So it was even more of a surprise when Malcolm stepped down and said, "Since I am here I might as well speak." He said since Paul had covered all the basics, he wanted to thank everyone for coming and especially pay tribute to the great man - Lindsay Anderson. He told of how he got involved with Lindsay and how they remained friends throughout his life and told stories of Lindsay especially at Cannes where if.... won the Palm (best picture). Malcolm said that was Lindsay thrilled beyond belief and it was his happiest moment, which he couldn't understand. This is when Malcolm approached Lindsay to do another film and Lindsay told him if he wanted to work with him again he better write a script and that is what he did.
Like most people this was the first time I had seen the film in the theater and I was stunned. The new print was perfect! It was even better than the Assassin of the Tsar print made 20 years later - it was that good. We might as well have been watching a projection of the DVD (if there was a DVD - after that print I can easily wait for one!) I have always been a huge fan of if... and hadn't seen OLM in over 12 years when I watched an old double video tape. I had been holding out for a DVD release before watching it again as I had felt the film was a bit too British for me the first time I saw it. Not so this time! Granted the entire cast, crew and setting is British, but it really is an epic everyman story. Who of us hasn't just been going along as we always do when something totally unexpected comes along and changes everything? Whether it is an accident or a chance meeting or whatever. From then on we are totally changed and this is what I got from the film. One day Mick is training to sell coffee and the next day he running the North East, then Scotland. If he hadn't been trying to escape from the hospital on his bike he never would've almost gotten hit by Alan's bus and never would met Patricia. One event leads into another. But I'll talk about the film in depth later.
The other exciting part was this showing was the first time the film had ever been played in the US with the missing reel. After getting out of prison, Mick has an encounter with the Salvation Army. The next reel was removed to shorten the film by 10 minutes to ensure an American release at the time. Mick sees all this activity - people are in the streets in the stairs of a building shouting and men are trying to climb up to an apartment with a ladder. They come up short and are mocked. Mick asks what is going on and is told a woman, Mrs. Richards, is going to kill herself. Mick is deeply troubled by this and sets out to stop her. The door is locked and he can't get in so he climbs out on a ledge and over to the window which he is able to open a crack. He can't get in, but can see the woman with her two children and talk to her. She is cleaning the floor and he asks why. She says she doesn't want to be accused of leaving a mess behind. He tries to comfort her with passages from the book the warden gave him. It doesn't work, she is fed up and has made up her mind. They go back and forth a bit and then she goes into the next room to finish the job. He scrambles to climb across to the next ledge to stay with her and grabs onto a drain pipe. Soon after the pipe starts to come loose and he falls into the garbage below, knocking himself out. When he awakes it is nighttime and a policeman finds him. He then finds out he hadn't been able to stop her. It was such a great scene and a very special treat to see it for the first time - like finding a lost treasure.
Malcolm came down for the Q&A and talked briefly and answered eight questions. There were no big revelations, but he did talk about pushing for a DVD release. One person was talking about European-African political connotations that seemed more relevant today that it did then.
Afterwards I went up to the top row where there was a long bench to sit and was talking with Paul as we decided to wait to hear Malcolm's intro to ACO. Malcolm came up and was talking to us about OLM. It was the first time he had seen it in 25 years! What an unforgettable experience to be able to watch the film anew with the man himself watching along with us! After talking a bit he had to run back down to do his intro. His intro was the usual things he says about the film which can be found in the ACO quotes section, but it was still great to be able to hear the stories in person.
After he finished he was back up where I was and Joanna announced she had a surprise for him and he said "oh, no." I sat right next to him when it ran. She played a clip from 1972 of William K. Everson and I knew at once what it was. I told Malcolm this was an interview he had done with Anthony Burgess and he said "really??" he had no idea what it was. When Malcolm comes on he has the longest hair he ever had, down to his shoulders and Malcolm yelled in fright! I asked if that was his Mick Jagger look and he laughed. On the tape the first thing he says is, "I don't know why people say it is so hard to work with Kubrick." And Malcolm yelled "Liar!" When Everson says something about Kubrick and to tell him if that was correct Malcolm says, "I'll have to correct you because you are wrong." Malcolm and everyone in the theater was laughing. Before he answered he took a big drag on his cigarette which got laughs. I leaned over to Malcolm and said, "Weren't you tool cool?" He replied, "I must've been really nervous." Then the clip ended soon after. Kelley said to me she hadn't ever seen an interview of him so young and I was surprised to hear she hadn't seen it. I told her it is around 30 minutes long and she said, "is there anything you haven't seen?" I explained them how Anthony Burgess sat next to Malcolm and Malcolm said, "Acting like the headmaster I suppose?" I said it was a very special tape because it is the only one with him and Malcolm together. For me it would be the highlight of the week and something totally surreal - to see Malcolm on the screen 30 years ago and talk to him about it as it happened while he was right next to me watching it for the first time!!
Sun May 26
1:00 pm - Assassin of the Tsar
3:30 pm - A Clockwork Orange (Q & A)
7:00 pm - Get Crazy (MM intro and Q & A)
9:15 pm - Cat People
Malcolm's ACO Intro
Q&A for ACO
Malcolm's Get Crazy Intro
Get Crazy Q&A
The final day! Once again traffic was light
going into the city and you realize just how heinous rush hour traffic is during
the week. You can literally not move for 30 minutes at the tunnels. The whole
way in I didn't even have to stop once - beautiful. For the fifth day in a row I
parked the car in the garage under the Lincoln center on 66th street. The first
day was weird because a man stops you before you even get into the garage. He
makes you open the trunk and peers around. The only thing I could figure was he
was looking for bombs or some such terrorist nonsense. At the garage on 65th I
saw the guy go around the back of the car with a mirror underneath. It all seems
excessive because what if you had a bomb under the drivers seat? They would
Malcolm wasn't around before the show this time so we just went in and sat in the usual seats. Joanna announced that Malcolm was running late because of his daughter's graduation and wouldn't make the introduction, but he is hoping to make it back for the Q&A. Now I was absolutely thrilled I had hung around for his intro the night before, not only because I got to hang out with him a little longer, but if I didn't I would've completely missed it! I wouldn't have been happy to have missed his ACO intro both days.
When they started the film the title card came up from the UK. I realized the event I had waited over a dozen years for was finally coming to pass - a new 35mm print! The last two times I had seen the print in the theater is was a dirty old one that had been kicking around since 1972. The second time the print actually broke the film was through.
What a massive difference it makes when there is a fantastic print like this one. It was even better than the DVD because it was bigger and brighter and I was able to see things even I hadn't seen before. Since I know the film by heart I was watching all sides and corners checking for details and images I had never seen before. Little things like the number to Alex's Jail cell was 23 - something even at home with the DVD would be hard to spot. It was also a chance for Joanna to relax as she sat behind us to take in most of the film. She did leave early to go and try to track down Malcolm though. The subtleties of the droogs attire which I cover in the costume section are very apparent in this print. The yellow around Georgie's eye, the blue and red around Pete's eye. These are things you can't even see on the old video tapes. It was the first time I had seen it the film in four years and the first time I had seen it completely in almost eight years. I treasure the film so much that to watch it repeatedly would diminish it's impact. It is burned on my soul forever.
Thankfully Malcolm did return in time for the Q&A session. Of course for his most well-known film he spoke the longest. He answered seventeen questions and even took ones not directly related to the film. Most of the standard questions were asked and I really had to marvel at how he can handle hearing and answering them for so many years. Someone had emailed me the night before about how he met Malcolm after a Q&A in 1983 and I was thinking "Christ! Here I am 20 years later and he is still talking about these same films!" One of the most interesting stories for me was when he talked in detail about the very first scene he shot for the film. It is where he gets the injection in the Ludovico center. What a place to start! This was one story I hadn't heard before and it was quite funny. Malcolm has certainly perfected the role of the storyteller. Someone should hire him to read books on tape - I would buy them all! Near the end we were given the option for more questions or for him to stop and sign things. I am quite pleased to say everyone was in agreement about hearing more stories.
It was time for a break, if you know what I mean. I was in the lobby and Joanna was explaining how she had never seen Get Crazy before and had to review it to see if it was worthy of inclusion in the program. She was trying to explain what it was like and I said it was camp. It is a rock and roll send up - totally silly.
Everyone came back to regroup for the film soon after as the ACO discussion had gone long. Malcolm was sticking around to watch the film and Kelley asked me about my site and we got to talking and I told her how many younger girls are into him. She was very surprised at what I had to say as she see first hand the type of things people tell me.
Malcolm did the intro and was pretty honest about it not being a major milestone in the history of cinema. It was fun to hear him talk about it as the only thing I knew was some small interviews that he gave 20 years ago. He explained how he got the role. He didn't even want it and tried to pass on it, but the person originally cast as Reggie didn't work out. He started another story, but then stopped because it was his best story and he wanted to have something to say after.
I hadn't seen the film in around four years when I did the write up for the site. I was pretty familiar with it, so it was just another chance to see something obscure on the big screen. Another great print for an older film, there were no scratches or any blemishes. This is the kind of film you can watch every few years as it is just pure 80s fun and nothing heavy. Malcolm totally steals the show as the over-the-top rock star he says was modeled after Rod the Bod. It is a great time capsule of the period and should be a cult midnight film to see on New Year's Eve which is the setting of the film.
The audience really enjoyed Malcolm's performance, but he was understandably pretty worn out from the week and only answered seven questions. Out of those there were only a couple that were about the film. Since his part was small, there isn't much he could say about it anyway. There was one guy in my row who just told him it was one of his all-time favorite film. He didn't have a question and just wanted to say he even quotes the film to this day!? Malcolm took it in stride and just sort of shook his head and we all laughed. He thanked everyone for coming as it was his last appearance and told them to support the Lincoln Center and left the stage.
He went back to where his group was and I brought another thing to show him. I just went up and handed him the 45rpm of his song from the film "Hot Shot". His mouth dropped and he was stunned, he admitted he didn't even know there was a such thing. Because he made such a big deal all these people wanted to see it and even Kelley said to me she can't believe I have all this great stuff and she hadn't known it existed. Malcolm asked again, "Where do you get all this stuff?" I told him I get almost all of it online and he just shook his head about it. It was really a treat for me to get to show him all these things related to his career he didn't even know about.
We got into the lobby and I pulled out a book that I have signed by Anthony Burgess and asked him to sign it too. I figure this is the closest I can get to having a multi-signed ACO related piece as so many people involved with the film have passed away. Malcolm was so cool because he couldn't believe I wanted his name with Burgess and wouldn't even sign it on the same page! I insisted he could sign his name under the master and that would be fine and he obliged. We talked a little bit more and he thanked me and shook my hand because he had to go.
This was my Woodstock and I was happy to take the time to do it and chose the week for my vacation. This was the second time I had met and hung out with Malcolm and I just have to tell everyone in case you didn't know that he is one of the nicest people you can ever hope to meet. I had no idea I would ever meet him when I started this site and it is a great feeling to know that he is such a remarkable person on and off screen. It would be tough to continue this site if he was a real jerk in person or totally blew me off. He was very complimentary and amazed at what I have done with the site and thankful for the outlet I provide as he even took time to mention his Internet fans during one talk after we were talking about things. The fact that he included the Hugo Pool clip because of me talking to him about it last time shows he remembers and values his fans. I can't thank him, Kelley, Joanna, Mike and everyone involved enough for putting this event together. Also thanks to Paul for hanging out and his company in general. I am sorry to everyone who couldn't attend as you missed such a special time. I hope I did it all justice for you with my behind the scenes observances into the event and my experiences.
Mon May 27
1pm - if....
3:30 pm - Figures in a Landscape
5:30 pm - Time After Time
8:00 pm - Caligula (20th Anniversary)
Tue May 28
1:00 pm - Gangster No. 1
9:00 pm - Britannia Hospital
Wed May 29
2:00 pm - Get Crazy
4:00 pm - A Clockwork Orange
7:00 pm - O Lucky Man!
Thurs May 30
1:00 pm - Britannia Hospital
3:30 pm - if....
9:00 pm - A Clockwork Orange
The Film Society of Lincoln Center
70 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023-6595
Press Release © 2002 Joanna Ney
Everything Else © 2002-08 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net