A Summary and Review of A Clockwork Orange

A Summary and Review of A Clockwork Orange

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  1. Key Characters

    Alex DeLarge: Malcolm McDowell

    The Droogs: Michael Tarn, James Marcus, Warren Clarke

    Patrick Magee: Mr. Alexander

    Cat Lady: Miriam Karlin

    Minister of the Interior: Anthony Sharp

    Prison Chaplain: Godfrey Quigley

    Summary and Review

    The 1971 screen adaptation of A Clockwork Orange is considered by many to be Stanley Kubrick’s best film. The movie is based on Anthony Burgess’ novel of the same name. One tagline for the movie was “Being the adventures of a young man … who couldn’t resist pretty girls … or a bit of the old ultra-violence … went to jail, was re-conditioned … and came out a different young man … or was he ?” The film is a dizzying array of sex, drugs and violence and highlights the moral questions of where “goodness” comes from.

    The movie is set in a futuristic London where gangs of ultra-violent teens rule the decaying city. Alex is the leader of the Droogs whose love of Beethoven’s 9th is only equaled to his love of rape and torture. He and his Droogs spend their nights getting high off narcotic laced milk at the Milk Bar before heading out to terrorize, rape, torture and murder innocent people.

    The Droogs commit a serious of increasingly violent crimes. Alex decides to assert his dominance over his gang and first attacks then humiliates them. Unfortunately, for Alex, this action does not gain their allegiance, and backfires. The gang turns on Alex and he is caught by the police and jailed for bludgeoning the Cat Lady to death with a plastic sculpture of a giant penis.

    While in jail Alex agrees to submit to the Ludovico behavior modification technique for his freedom. He thinks he has tricked the prison officials, but when he is placed in a straight jacket and his eyes clamped open, he realizes the joke is on him. He is injected with a drug that induces vomiting, paralysis and feelings of terror and helplessness.

    After the doctors prove their treatment was successful, Alex is returned to the world defenseless and becomes a victim of his own victims. He is beaten, abused and pushed to the brink. After being attacked and almost drowned by his former Droogs who are now policemen, Alex wanders the countryside before stumbling onto a house. He is welcomed and aided by the home owner, who just happens to be Mr. Alexander. Alex recognizes him but the now wheelchair bound man does not recognize Alex.

    Mr. Alexander and friends are first enraged by what “society” has allowed to have happen to Alex and the movie takes a political tilt. But upon hearing Alex sing Singin’ in the Rain while taking a bath, Mr. Alexander realizes who he is.

    After being drugged and forced to listen to Beethoven’s 9th Alex attempts suicide by throwing himself out the bedroom window. In a strange turn of events, Alex awakes in the hospital finding he is “cured” with the government’s apologies and a job offer.

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