Malcolm McDowell: The CFQ Interview

Malcolm McDowell in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.
Malcolm McDowell in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.

Practically omnipresent and infinitely versatile, Malcolm McDowell has played, among others, a rebellious private school student, a futuristic sociopath, a degenerate emperor, Michael Myer’s nemesis, and the killer of Captain Kirk. He has worked with directors that have included Stanley Kubrick, Paul Schrader and Rob Zombie. He’s pretty much done it all, including a brief appearance as a mastermind in corporate espionage in this weekend’s environmental biography, A GREEN STORY. And, oh, has he stories.
We were able to spend some time with Malcolm, delving into the full range of his career, including his work with the iconoclastic director Lindsay Anderson and how he faced the challenge of filming a high-speed orgy for A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Click on the player to hear the show.

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A Clockwork Orange (1971) – A Retrospective

a-clockwork_orange-posterMalcolm McDowell discusses Kubrick’s scathing film version of the Anthony Burgess novel.

Producer-director Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of the Anthony Burgess novel is a strangely overwhelming experience–at time contemptible, and yet always valid in its sardonic outlook. We`re forced to identify with a young, violent droog, Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) as he rapes, brutalizes, and murders; after an experimental treatment conditions him to become violently ill at the mere thought of sex or violence, his karma is leveled as, one by one, those he wronged have their chance at revenge. The sick joke of the movie is that everyone else, indeed the very state itself, is as morally corrupt as our `friend and humble narrator.` Burgess`s point was that destroying someone`s free will, his ability to make moral choices, was as immoral as anything Alex did; in the novel (at least in England, where its last chapter was not shorn off), Alex eventually outgrows his youthful penchant for violence and finds himself aware of a desire to settle down. For Kubrick, life moves in cycles, endlessly repeating; thus the film ends with Alex returned to his previous state, presumably ready to embark on another spree as soon as he`s released from hospital (`I was cured all right`). A cynical film, without redeeming characters, and yet it makes its point. Read More