Monday, 4 August 2014

Clockwork Orange - Dramatisation

Something a bit different for you this time, a full cast dramatisation (now OOP) of the famous Anthony Burgess novel "Clockwork Orange".

Although I like the Kubrick film version, I felt the book was far superior. I remember reading the book in the early seventies as a 13 year old, and very soon after, we managed to get hold of a pirate video version of the film (the film was banned for 27 years in the UK and was very difficult to see until its re-release in 2001) which I couldn't wait to see. Malcolm McDowell was perfect as Alex (the Anti Hero) but for me Kubrick introduced too many of his own scenes and it just didn't work as well as the book (did anyone else feel the same?)

SPOILER ALERT (If you haven't read the book or seen the film don't read this bit)
In the final chapter I remember smiling (with Alex) that the old Alex was back, and I was surprised that the Author could make you feel empathy for someone as nasty as Alex (again anyone else feel the same?), and the film somehow didn't manage to create that feeling (is that a good or bad thing?).

I later on discovered that the book I read had a missing final chapter, which had been removed by the US publishers (Burgess was not 100% behind the chapter removal) who felt the public wouldn't believe a redemption ending with Alex realsiing everything he had done was wrong and preferred the darker ending. I still haven't got round to reading the book as Burgess originally planned (has anyone else read that version? if so what did you think?). By the way Kubrick's film also followed the censored chapter version of the book.
SPOILER ALERT FINISH (you can carry on now)

The play is an interesting version, again for me the book is still superior but this is well worth a listen. The play also uses the Nadsat language from the book, which is a mixture of Slavic, rhyming slang and some words invented by Burgess. Picking up recent copies of the book I notice the dictionary is not included in many prints, which could make it a little hard work (both my copies have the dictionary so if anyone needs one, then leave a comment), although this play is a bit easier to understand.

I originally heard this on Radio 4 and then bought a copy of the cassette a couple of years later. So here it is ripped from glorious hissing tapes (see comments for links).

Title: Clockwork Orange
Cast: Included on high res scan
Tracks: 4 parts (taken from each side of the tape - Part 1 and 2 in first rar file, Parts 3 and 4 in second rar file)

If you like this then definitely buy the book (try and get a copy with the dictionary in the back:
A Clockwork Orange (Essential Penguin)
This secondhand version for only 5 pence, definitely does have a dictionary:
A Clockwork Orange
Or if you can't be bothered to read (shame on you) the listen to the audio book:

A Clockwork Orange (BBC Radio Collection)
Then try out Kubrick's classic film:

A Clockwork Orange (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1971]
and if you enjoy the soundtrack then get this as well:
Clockwork Orange (Carlos) (Bonus Tracks)


Longy said...

And you've got the nerve to have a go at me for posting UFO lol

garychching said...

No comparison mate :-)

Strych said...

I read the version with the last chapter left alone. I thought it was better as Alex has a sort of Epiphany. I won't go into much detail because here is the last chapter but thank you for the Audiobook! :D I heard it a long time ago an have always wanted to hear it again! Thanks!

garychching said...

Thanks for that Strych. I've just finished the original ending and I thought I wouldn't like it, but I agree with you, it is better. Considering how good an author Burgess was I shouldn't have been surprised.

jeffen said...

(Gotta keep this from becoming a blog post...)

I read the original version before I saw the movie (no one I knew had a VCR back in '81). I knew that the movie version ignored the last chapter, which seemed weird considering how much it changed the essential meaning of the book! Then I saw the movie at a repertory movie around '82 and it still blew me away.

It's a **** thing said...

I've never really understood the removal of the last chapter for the US market.
It's an essential part of the tale. Can you imagine that for some reason the last twenty minutes of every movie was removed?
The book really has to be read as a whole.
As far as I was aware the last chapter was replaced in the US and it is only older copies that don't have it, but I could well be wrong.
As for movie. I've never liked it. Style over substance and terribly dated now.
Iconic imagery, but that's about it.

garychching said...

Hi Jeffen, go for it, always happy to see more on Clockwork Orange.

You have a much better memory than me, I definitely read the book at school, but clearly didn't see the film till much later on. Our house amazingly (my parents had no money) was the first to have a video (it wasn't VHS or Betamax - some strange make) and we got to see lots of pirate (bad quality as well)films. So it must of been the early 80's when I saw the film.

Hi Its a **** thing, I agree with you. My first copy of the book was a UK version and it still had the final chapter missing (and I wasn't aware, I have a US hardback version which is the same. Its funny when you don't know something it feels fine, when you find out the truth it really pisses you off. Films are often rewritten and don't follow the book, but its pretty rare to see a chapter removed from a book - or is someone going to send me a list of books that its happened to?

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts about the ban (Kubrick withdrawing the movie)?

We used to have a Korova Milkbar here at Södermalm, Stockholm some years ago.

Best wishes,

garychching said...

Hi Robert, I guess Kubricks entitled to do what he likes. I wasn't and still areen't convinced that the film made young people violent (I guess the odd one or two people maybe, but then their always going find something that will get them going). In many ways Kubrick enhanced its cult status. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

I guess I was a bit too young as well, but the movie went up in Sweden 1972. And as far as I can remember it didn't make any impact on "youth culture" in Sweden.

I remember some talks when The Warriors hit the theatres, but back then everything was so slow in Sweden and all things were many years behind US + UK.

I remember reading the book in swedish, with the words explained in the back, but I can't remember the end of the book.

Best wishes,
Robert - Stockholm

garychching said...

Hi Robert, I love the Warriors, watched it again with my son and its still great. Its aged well.

Its worth reading again, but hey try this first and see what you think.

Anonymous said...

thanks - steve

garychching said...

Thanks for the thanks Steve.

Marky Dread (Sparks) said...

The last chapter is essential to the book and the film. The empathy you feel towards Alex Delarge renders him just another product of society and that it could be anyone of us.

Was it wrong to ban the movie well that debate will rage on and on there were some horrible copy cat actions after the movie was released, I think I remember a story of a tramp taking a considerable beating. But there is always a mindless side to society no matter what. The droogs image was a really strong intimidating one which was copied more so later during the punk years. The film and book are masterpieces in my mind, the book was a bastard when I first read it as I found it hard to understand without any index reference for all the odd language.

Anyway of to the Korova now for some moloko plus to sharpen me up for some ultra violence, then off to bed for some spatchka...viddy well little brothers viddy well.

garychching said...

A brilliant comment Marky. Did you use the dictionary for your sign off? It made me laugh.

Having now read the final chapter I completely agree with you it is essential.

As i mentioned, some of the prints did not have the dictionary, so I can imagine how difficult it was for you to read. Still its well worth the effort.

Mr Phreek said...

Wow! I'm downloading this now and I can't wait to hear it.

My dad showed me the movie when I was 9 (which made my mom and stepfather very angry). I rather liked it and ended up dressing as Alex for Halloween when I was in 8th grade. Even made the cod piece out of a jock strap and cummerbund.

I read the book either before or after that Halloween (or during). It had the last chapter (we're talking early '90s, USA) but no glossary, though part of the fun was using context to figure out the Nadsat.

In any case, it turned me on to the brilliant legacy of Anthony Burgess and he's remained up there as one of my favorite authors ever since. I've read maybe half of his books, Earthly Powers being my favorite, I think, though lately, the Malayan Trilogy has been in my head, and I keep thinking about how much I wish I still had his autobiographies.

I remember reading that A Clockwork Orange was written because his first wife was attacked and violated by a group of drunk American GIs in London, which resulted in her miscarriage. Anyone else aware of this or am I crazy? I told a friend of mine about that and he got really angry, saying he wouldn't believe American soldiers would do such a thing (which we all know is a load of bunk)...

garychching said...

Hi Mr Phreek, thanks for the comment and the memories and I hope you enjoyed it.

I also love Burgess, I also agree Earthly Powers is a great book. Have you read 1985? well worth a read.