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July 12, 1972 - Image 2

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1972-07-12

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Pge Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Wednesday, July 12, 1972_

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Wednesday, July 12, 1972

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Cinema

"range
By CHRISTOPHER PHILLIPS
After 2001, we should have
been prepared for what Stanley
Kubrick would do to A Clock-
work Orange. Again he relies
too heavily on the use of gim-
micks to hold the audience's at-
tention, deals with a vague ahd
partially developed theme and is
unable to create characters on a
humanistic level.
A Clockwork Orange is set in
the quasi-totalitarian . England
of the future - a country wrack-
ed by violence. Alex, the head of
an adolescent gang of delinq-
uents, thrives on "the old ultra-
violence" and the music of
Beethoven. Alex and his
"droogs" (meaning "gang" in
Nadsat, Burgess' teenage dia-
lect) amuse themselves w i t h
nightly rampages of bea4ing and
raping. In one night, they beat
up an old bum, rumble with a
rival gang, assault a writer and
rape his wife.
While society looks upon Alex
and his type with the greatest
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: Overrated dud

horror and loathing, Kubrick
gives up no choice but to believe
that Alex is only the result of
his environment. Alex's love of
violence, like his need to be in
"the height of fashion," is a
product of social conditioning.
While Alex murders an ec-
centric old lady with a phallic
sculpture, his gang turns on him,
smashes him in the head and
leves him for the police. The
police, in turn, arrest him, "in-
terrogate" him, and send him to
prison with all the "criminals
and perverts." Society's tor-
menter now becomes society's
victim. After serving two years,
Alex becomes a subject for the
"Lucovico" method of rehabi-
tation.
In short, the "Ludovico" treat-
ment is a modernistic, psycholo.
gical nightmare of Pavloian con-
ditioning. Injected with a spec-
ial serum, eyes clamped open,
and strapped into a chair, Alex
is forced to watch hours of films
of beating, torture, and rape;
the very things that had given
him so much pleasure.
The treatment is so success-
ful that Alex becomes nauseat-
ed at the mere thought of vio-
lence or sex and, as-a curious
side effect, he is similarly con-
ditioned against "luvly, luvly,
Ludwig Van". As a mechanized
creature; defenseless and docile,
Alex has become a model citi-
zen. He acts "good" not out of
choice but to avoid ,the terrible
sickness.
Thus, Kubrick has created a
totally amoral world and an

amoral film. The violence com-
mitted by Alex, as shocking as
it might be, is no better or
worse than the violence done to
him by society. It's just t h at
certain acts are sanctioned by
society and others aren't. Any-
thing that furthers the goals of
the government is acceptable.
Everything in the film is condi-
tioned to function according to
his own self-interest.
Only the priest who helped
Alex commit himself to the
"Ludovico" treatment realizes
the immense evil of the govern-
ment's dehumanizing method of
rehabilitation and voices one of
Kubrick's possible themes. It is
necessary for man to have a
choice to be good or evil. "When
a man cannot choose he ceases
to be a man." But, man without
free choice is amoral because
good and evil cannot be pro-
grammed, both must be the pro-
duct of free will.
Ungfortunately, the logic of
that breaks down under the com-
plexities and vagaries of t h e
story. Alex and everyone else
are products of the condition of
society - they are all "clock-
work oranges"-mechanical and
without the capacity to make
moral choices. Kubrick further
reinforces the amoral nature of
society by establishing an imper-
sonal tone. The characters are
blanched of humanism through-
out the film. They exist only as
one-dimensional charicatures of
real people.
No one has free will. While one
can be programmed and repro-
grammed, one is never free.
Thus, there is no good and evil;
just what has been defined as
"good" or "evil" by society.
Alex's programmed goodness,
however, does not get him ahead
in the world. His previous vic-
tims - his droogs, now police-
men, the bum he had beaten,
the writer whose wife he raped
-all come back to haunt him.
Finally, he unsuccessfully a t -
tempts suicide - and, amaz-
ingly enough finds himself cured
of the effects of the Ludovico
Treatment.
See 'ORANGE', Page 9
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DIAL 5-6290
ENDING THURSDAY
SHOWS AT 1-3-5-7-9
From the Master of Shock
A Shocking Masterpiece .

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