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A Clockwork Orange (1971)

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NOTE: This commentary is only available on the 2007 Special Edition.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Actor Malcolm McDowell and historian Nick Redman Rating:8.3/10 (28 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Londo Mollari on February 22nd, 2008:Find all reviews by Londo Mollari
Malcolm McDowell is incredibly interesting to listen to. He seems to have a caustic sense of humor and you can tell from the tone of his voice and what he says that he and Kubrick didn't always see eye to eye on everything.

Some people may consider it hubris but I was impressed when McDowell said that he knew he was "ready" to play the role of Alex when he was offered the role.
Reviewed by reidca on July 21st, 2008:Find all reviews by reidca
Totally agree with Londo Mollari above. One of the better commentaries I've listened to recently and probably my favorite of the new Kubrick commentaries listened to so far. Not to diss Redman but could have almost dropped him and just listened to McDowell go on for hours. But Redman has prod and probe like the very good scholar that he is. McDowell is a witty and entertaining raconteur - it's like he's gathered the kids around the fireplace to chat about Uncie Stan. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by demtation on April 6th, 2009:Find all reviews by demtation
This was most excellent; informative, interesting, insightful... It painted an unexpectedly personal picture of Kubrick. McDowell is compelling to listen to, although everything is "brilliant, brilliant, brilliant" - Well, I suppose it is, so he gets a pass! I got a kick when they discussed the composer, Wendy (then Walter)Carlos, McDowell kept referring to "him" and Redman kept over-emphasizing the name "Wendy". Great track...
Reviewed by Bickle, T. on July 20th, 2009:Find all reviews by Bickle, T.
McDowell is truly a unique voice, lending us his most personal of experiences in working with Kubrick. I was thrilled that his facts didn’t just repeat what’s on the special features. Scenes like the unparalleled “eye gauging” scene are when McDowell is most useful. A great track.
Reviewed by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr on September 27th, 2009:Find all reviews by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr
Things get off to an inauspicious start when McDowell confidently, but erroneously, declares that the Korova Milk Bar was the only set in the film. So as with other McDowell commentaries some of what he says clearly needs to be treated with caution. That aside, this is, for the most part, a vastly entertaining track as our (not so humble) narrator/commentator talks us through a film he admits he resented for a long time, feeling it overshadowed his other work, but now accepts as the high watermark of his career.
Along the way McDowell offers a wealth of interesting information and anecdotes about the shoot, including several stories of Stanley which are sure to raise a smile (even if some of their supposed dialogue exchanges don't really ring true).
All of which means that co-commentator Redman is rendered largely superfluous - he's also under-prepared, not even having a cast list to hand, which leaves them both struggling to try and remember the name of the actor who played Dr Brodsky.
Redman does at least raise the question of the age disparity between the actor and the character he was playing, but McDowell quickly dismisses this as "meaningless" (sorry, Malcolm, you may have been "born to play this part" but you were still born too late).
McDowell clearly has plenty of respect (if not reverence) for his director, and he also has plenty of praise for his fellow actors (several of whom he claims to have had a direct hand in casting), but he seems even more impressed with the lighting which he draws attention to in scene after scene in an act of almost Kubrick-like obsession to detail!
There are a couple of silences over the 2¼ hours, and occasionally McDowell is guilty of simply repeating/anticipating the film's dialogue, but it's never long before something on-screen triggers another amusing memory/story.
So a track which is perhaps more for fans than film scholars but one which will provide plenty of entertainment for anyone who cares to listen.
Reviewed by Jay Olie Espy on April 25th, 2010:Find all reviews by Jay Olie Espy
On paper, pairing Malcolm McDowell with an historian for a commentary track seems like the right thing to do, but in actuality it is not. McDowell is too much the star of the show and his ego too grand to share the commentary. McDowell owns it; he’s the insider and Nick Redman isn’t. What can Redman possibly contribute beyond a few production notes he read somewhere else? Even then, McDowell slaps Redman down when he says something that McDowell disagrees with. I get the feeling that after McDowell puts Redman in his a place just a few minutes into the commentary that Redman consciously takes a backseat for the rest of the time. That’s probably the best thing Redman can do for the track’s listeners anyway. McDowell lived the movie. He’s the one who added “Singin’ in the Rain” to the infamous scene and then got dissed by Gene Kelly at a party sometime afterward. McDowell is the one who sat down with Anthony Burgess who told him what the meaning of “a clockwork orange” is. He tells us what it was like to work with Stanley Kubrick and we even hear his lamentation that Kubrick didn’t really maintain his friendship with the young Malcolm and Malcolm was hurt by this. This is to say that Redman can’t offer any insight as close as interesting to McDowell's. This is one of the best commentary tracks I’ve listened to, but if it weren’t for Redman’s name attached to the commentary, it’d be a 10 and not a 9.
Reviewed by Agressor on July 29th, 2011:Find all reviews by Agressor
I wasn't as enthralled by this as most others seem to be. There's a good mix of different topics being discussed, everything from lightning (a lot!) to Kubrick himself but most of the stories never really grips me. The two talkers seem a bit unfocused a think, they are more like two buddies chatting casually. If it was a bit more tightened up it would've been better.

And I for one like the inclusion of Redman, even though McDowell provides the more interesting anecdotes Redman consistently prods him on with questions, leading him into the right track.

An enjoyable listen but nothing I would listen to twice (which I would with my favorites).
Reviewed by Pineapples101 on September 6th, 2012:Find all reviews by Pineapples101
I found this to be an absolutely fascinating track. McDowell is a brilliant speaker, his stories about Kubrick are great to hear. Redman participates and raises some good interesting points but McDowell is the lead. After listening to this track I was left wanting more, I suspect WB could have played the film for the McDowell and Redman a second time and even more great stories would have been told.

A brilliant commentary that acts as a great accompaniment to a brilliant film. Well worth a listen and well worth returning to more than once.
Reviewed by musíl65 on May 24th, 2013:Find all reviews by musíl65
This is one oft he best tracks I’ve ever heard. And I’ve heard a lot. McDowell and Redman are such a great team together (see Caligula). The stories about the movie and Kubrick are great. The meaning of this movie and its impact on Kubrick and McDowell are widely discussed.

The Track is very informative and very very funny Don’t miss it. 10 out of 10
Reviewed by Therealmrspock on January 7th, 2017:Find all reviews by Therealmrspock
Out of all the audio commentaries added to Kubrick's 2006 special edition releases on DVD, this one is, in my opinion, the best. Malcolm McDowell is an inspired commentator and shares a wealth of information about the film, praising Kubrick, but also refusing to fall into the trap of creating a mythology about the director, pointing out some comical chaos and goofs that befallen him (for instance, in the scene where he imagines to be eating grapes from naked maidens in Rome, he remmbers that Kubrick had some women read out Shakespeare for an audition, with the camera zooming in on their breasts - but when McDowell asked who they were, Kubrick suddenly figured he forgot to record the names of the women! I guess even perfectionists can make a misstep).

McDowell also gives his interpretation of "Clockwork's" message somehwere in the middle of the film ("The film is about freedom of choice... The point is, you get into a Communist system or a Fascist system, and you take away freedom of the people to choose"). Seldom have I heard someone managing to sum up an entire theme of a movie in only three sentences as he did beautifully here. Kudos to him. Just for that info alone, this track is worth listening, because it doesn't only go on and on about the technical aspects of Kubrick, like the track for "The Shining". He also says this is one of his three films he is the most proud of (the other two are "Time After Time" and "O Lucky Man!") and mentions its impact: after the premiere, his phone rang the entire night. He was 25-26, Kubrick was 47-48 at the time, yet he instantly recognized the director's intelligence and wit. Great track from start to finish.

9/10