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December 06, 1973 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-12-06

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Thursday, December 6, 1,973

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

Thursday, December 6, 1973 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Five

Kubrick's

savage society

By JAMES HYNES
Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork
Orange has gained notoriety
mainly because of its graphic
scenes of violence and rape. Sev-
eral critics have called it sick;
a few have even walked out of
it.
Yet A Clockwork Orange is
something more than a spaghetti
western or one of Peckinpah's
blood-soaked odes to machismo.
For all its violence, A Clockwork
Orange is a powerfully moral
film in Kubrick's own distinctive,
forceful style.
He presents us with ableak,
socialistic England of the near
future, a dirty, vulgar society
characterized by the row upon
row of deteriorating, monolith-
ic urban housing and by the
gangs of youths that run wild at
night. The hero, Alex, is one
such youth, a young man who
finds that his only creative out-
let in such a world lies in vio-
lence.
Alex's world is one of grotes-
quely stylized street fighting and
rape, both of which Kubrick de-
picts graphically. Yet grotesque
as this is, is it any more grotes-
que than the proposed remedy?
To cure Alex and his violent na-
ture, the state subjects him to
the Ludovovico Treatment, a
Skinnerian behavioral condition-
ing technique, after which Alex
is made nauseous by even the
thought of violence or sex.
In A Clockwork Orange, Ku-
brick poses us a tough moral
question. At the end of the Ludo-

Beethoven's Ninth more grotes-
que than the sight of Alex un-
able to defend himself at all
from two brutal policemen? Ku-
brick does not seem to say.
In presenting such a question
in such a style, Kubrick loses
depth somewhat. The film has the
feel of a political cartoon. Aside
from Alex, the people in t h e
film are caricatures: The new
breed politician who wants to
reform criminals rather than pun-
ish them and then reverses him-
self to save his political life; the
cold behavioral scientists who
see Alex as nothing m )- than
another experimental animal;
the twitching, crippled writer
who whines to Alex "You're 1
victim of the modern age!";
even the prison chaplain wh a
questions the morality of the
Ludovico Treatment is a pom-
pous fool. As in Dr. Strangelove,
Kubrick's humanity is made up
of fools and scoundrel;.
Yet the film has a quality that
overcomes this difficulty. Like
all good sociological science fic-
tion, its power lies in the fact
that, though the film takes place
in the future, it is a gii por-
trait of where we are or soon
will be. In the very near future,
we shall have to weigh the hor-
rors of the rise in violent crime
against the moral dilemmg s if
increasingly feasible behavioral
conditioning techniques. Do we
want the state conditionino crim-
inals? If so, who is to be co;-
sidered criminal andwho is to do
the conditioning? These are the

questions A Clockwork Orange
raises.
In Kubrick's society, the puo-
lie decides in Alex's favor. The
government is forced to de-condi-
tion Alex to save itself. Whether
he likes it or not, the viewer
finds himself reluctantly g 1 a d
when Alex, violent and cocky
once more, announces at the end
of the film: "I was cured, al-
right." At least he is restored to
a sort of humanity; at least he
is an individual (albeit a danger-
ous one), capable of choice.
Yet, at the end of the film,
one can tell that Kubrick is not
satisfied with this result- herein
lies the power and morality of A
Clockwork Orange. For if Ku-
brick asks us a question, he also
makes a statement. He is not

so upset by the conflict of moral-
ity and choice as he is by the
fact that one should even have
to raise the question.
Kubrick finds it abhorrent that
a society should even reach the
point where it is forced to make
a choice between the society's
safety and the individual's free-
dom; he is shocked that a society
should. reach a point where the
only way a man can express
himself is through violence.
In this sense, for ail the cold-
ness and emotionlessness of Ku-
brick's style, A Clockwork Orange
is a profoundly moral film, a
savage, bitter indictment of a
stifling society in which a young
man's only opportunity to be an
individual lies in violence.

Conte now, can't we be friends?
Richard Frank (1) as Posthumous and Marshall Levijoki as Tachimo confront each other in the
battle sequence of the U Players opening production of Shakespeare's Cymbeline last night.
~row~fne and Haith are ge
be tter and better all the time

~~r--AL-NDA

By KURT JOHN HARJU
Jackson Browne and Bonnie
Raitt have a lot in common
nowadays. Each has just put out
a new album. Both are excellent
examples of the evolving styles
of two very independent and con-
temporary musicians.
Browne's For Everyman (Asy-
lum SD 5067) and Raitt's Takin'
My Time (Warner Bros. BS 2729)
reveal that they are moving fast-
er and through more satisfying
changes than any other of today's
solo artists with the possible ex-
ceptions of Joni Mitchell, Pal
Simon and Stevie Wonder whom
they favorably resemble in the
high quality of their music s ori-
ginality and resonant texture.
Browne is essentially a com-
poser and For Everyman repre-
sents his most complex and in-
teresting work to date. Tho ar-
rangements depart from his us-
ual sparse and simple treatment
to construct a full framework
that is made up of the harmonies
of Doug Haywood, David Crosby
and (surprise) Ms. Raitt herself,
some really soaring pedai steel
guitar by Sneaky Pete, the beau-
tiful accents of Joni Mitchell's
electric piano work, and t h e
truly elegant performances
throughout by Browne's n e w
guitarist David Lindley. T h e
resulting sound is a mixture of
deep, vibrating tones interwoven
with the water-like crystal-clar-
ity of the melodies.
As the cover and the lyrics:
seem to indicate, Browne h a s
been doing some reflecting late-
ly. In "Our Lady of the Well,"
he yearns for a place in the sun
where
the people work the land
as they have always done

but notes in vain "so far the
other way my country's gone."
Growing up only restricts h i s
freedom, in "I Thought I was
a Child,"
I thought that I was free at last
but
I'm just one more prisoner of
time
as does living with a girlfriend
in "Ready or Not" or the fleet-
ing release of making love in
"The Times You've Come." But
all he asks in the end is "Don't
confront me with my failures -
I have not forgotten them. ' He is
not alone in this for he real-
izes that the private utop-a of
his dreams "eventually comes
down to waiting for everyman."
Though For Everyman is nl
a concept album, it is a well-
thought-one. Even if it ar-
rives at an answer that i3 as
much a problem as the questions
it raises, it is one that makes us
want to "see what the future will
bring." And the journey - "Take
It Easy" (that is at least twice
as good as the Eagles' version),
the wonderful "Colours of the
Sun," the slowly-ascending "Sing
My Songs to Me" and the gems
in between - keeps me reaching
that confident conclusi an o v e r
and over again.
Raitt is first and foremost a
vocalist and her originality com-
es in both the selection and in-
terruption of the material she
does. In Takin' My Time, she
has expanded her blues-basis tc.
include some moving ballads by
such contemporary songwriters as
Randy Newman, Joel Zoss, Eric
Kaz and (you guessed it) Jack-
son Browne, a couple Motown
tunes, and a crazy calypso song
"WahShe Go Do." Her voice is
way up there (heavenly?) on

most of the cuts but she can be
as low and mean as the best of
them as in Mose Alliso Vs down
and out "Everybody s Cryin'
Mercy," a straight and true
blues. Her other blues number,
"Write Me a Few of Your Lines
Kokomo Blues" - a meiLey of
Fred McDowell's songs that was
a favorite at the 1972 Ann Ar-
bor Jazz and Blues Festival -
features her electric bottleneck
guitar that is as moving as hr
pleasing vocal. Her versionr of
Browne's "I thought I was a
Child" is every bit as good with
a slight edge for her on the
way she sings "surprise.'' 09
the whole, she dishes this wide
variety of songs out with a l)
more flavor than they xx ere cook-
ed up with. Some s'ig~ran'ard
spice, sure - but also the right
amount of salt.
The back-up is consistecnl}v -ich
and certain - never suc.:u abin.
to vague promises or luish zlop-
piness. Bonnie's guitar is one of
the reasons as is Freoo s fret-
less and faultless bass and Taj
Mahal's distinct harmnica. In
fact, my only objection to thin.
album is that none of the mater-
ial is her own which (in view of
''Thank You, " "Give It Up" and
"Told You Baby") is strong
enough to support an album by
itself.
In the best number of th 21-
bum, "I Feel the Same," s h e
sings
You won't forget me
Or the sound of my name
It's true, you won't. And that
goes for Browne too. They're go-
ing to be around and getting bet-
ter for a long time to come.

MUSIC-Charles Owen conducts the Percussion Ensemble,
Music School at SM Rehearsal Hall at 5; Thomas Hilbish
conducts the University Chamber Choir and Philhar-
monic at 8 in Hill; RC Singers presents a Christmas Con-
cert in N. Cafeteria, East Quad at 8; Edward Louis Smith
conducts the Music School's Jazz Band at 8 in Rackham
Aud; Bach Club features Renaissance Dance Music, (re-
corders, crumhorns, viols, voice) in Greene Lounge, E.
Quad at 8.
FILM-AA Film Co-op presents Yorkin's Start the Revolu-
tion Without Me at 7, 9 in Aud. A; Cinema Guild shows
Cavalcanti's Nicholas Nickelby in Arch. Aud. at 7, 9:05;
New World Film Co-op features Anderson's If at 7:30,
9:45 in Nat. Sci. Aud. and A Separate Peace in Aud. 4,
MLB at 7:30, 9:45; Mediatrics presents Gone With the
Wind-thru Dec. 9 in Nat. Sci. Aud. at 8; South Quad
Films shows Play It Again Sam in Dining Rm. 2, S. Quad
at 8; 9:45.
DRAMA-U Players perform Shakespeare's Cymbeline in
Trueblood Theatre, Frieze Bldg. at 8; PTP enact Shaw's
You Never Can Tell at 8 in Mendelssohn.

ARTS

vico Treatment, Alex is incap-
able of hurting anyone. He is
also incapable of any choice in
the matter.
Is Alex really doing the good
when he is forced to do it? Is
a man realy a moral being when
he has no choice? In effect, what
is morality without choice? Alex
may now be a good citizen, but
he is no longer human.
At first glance, Kubrick does
not appear to take sides in the
issue. Coldly, implacably, lie lays
before us mutually exclusive vis-
ions of ugliness and forces us
to choose: Is the vision of Alex
raping a woman in a sort of
macabre song and dance routine
more grotesque than the vision
of Alex retching and groveling at
the sight of a beautiful, n u d e
woman?
Is the sight of Alex daydream-
ing of violence to the strains of

PRESENTS
A SHAW

FESTIVAL PRODUCTION

R ICHA R D
MURDOCK
You
cAN

PAXTON
WH ITEHEAD

IN

NEVR
TEL

THE
A 1 L~

.do 0-

;:iA ..++1 1 iti.i

M-
Ron-
mmmhtk.

[S
D A f'Uy

RC PLAYERS
SPONSORS:
A Demonstration of a Work in Pro-
gress, by a group investigating new
directions in theatre.
DEC. 7, 8, 9-8 P.M.
EAST QUAD AUDITORIUM
Donation $1.00
FIFTH FORUM
210 S. FIFTH AVE.
ANN ARBOR
761-9700
ELLIOTT KASTNER presents A ROBERT ALTMAN film
ELLIOTT GOULD in
"THE LONG GOODBYE"

)RA NGE
Stanley
Kubrick's
Thur. &
Fri. at
:n 6:55 & 9:10
WEEK:30

by BERNARD SHAW
WITH
PATRICIA JAMES SHELIA
GAGE VALENTINE HAN EY
directed by EDWARD GILBERT
. . the effervescent Show Festival Company . "
-DETROIT FREE PRESS
"An enormously winning, refreshingly civilized delight."
-DETROIT NEWS
DECEMBER 6-9
8 P.M. (Sat. & Sun. Matinees 3 P.M.)
Ticket Information available at PTP Ticket Office
764-0450 Presented in MENDELSSOHN THEATRE

I-
C

I I

I

HIT

R-11

6 16-

9 P.M.

OPEN 12 45
SHOWS AT
13,5,7, 9 p m. Z
~ - J CC~-N9~,jO~-.Tf
I '(~~Q (~ ~r

v

3

HELD OVER BECAUSE
9~ j

YOU LOVED IT!

I

DISNEY meets
Beethoven, Bach,
Tchoikovski and
other musical Giants

I'

,

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