Beer and "A Clockwork Orange"
Throughout generations “A Clockwork Orange” has played an essential role in popular culture. Along with Anthony Burgesses book, Stanley Kubrick’s film has also become iconic. But are these two works of art the same? One can conclude that both versions of “A Clockwork Orange” share a similar story yet differ greatly in detail and artistic impression.
The first major difference between the novel and the film is the extreme differences in detail. Certain key traits about the look of the characters are just omitted in Kubrick’s film, and replaced with his own image. The first “flaw” or complete change in detail comes as of the look of the main characters. “The four of us were dressed in the heighth of fashion, which in those days was a pair of black very tight tights with the old jelly mould, as we called it, fitting on the crutch underneath the tights, this being to protect and also a sort of a design you could viddy clear enough in certain light… we wore waisty jackets without lapels but with these very bug built up shoulders…” (Burgess, 3-4) Comparing to Kubrick’s film, the film’s characters had none of this. Alex and his “droogies” were all dressed in white (no black tights), wearing no jackets, and the “old jelly mould” was, if anything, on the outside of their pants. For one to have made this mistake, one must wonder if Kubrick intended for this artist difference.
As one knows a film is usually shorter than the book. But as one watches Kubrick’s film, one notices a key part of the story not placed in the film. Kubrick’s “Clockwork Orange” completely leaves out the bar called, “the Duke of York.” In this bar “Alex and his little droogies” use it as a place to lay low from the police. Why this place is of importance is because of the characters, the “poor old baboochkas.” (Burgess, 7) Through out many times in the book are these elderly women mentioned, by not placing them in the film one gets a different impression of the story.
Some of the greatest differences between the book and the film are the choices of music. In Kubrick’s version of “a Clockwork Orange” he uses mostly all Ludwig von Beethoven. One can make a case why Kubrick does this maybe to point out how Alex is always taking about “Ludwig van.” In one case Kubrick uses the wrong Beethoven Symphony. Kubrick uses symphony 9 while clearly it say symphony 5 in Burgesses book. “Then I noticed, in all my pain and sickness, what music it was that like crackled and boomed on the sound-track, it was Ludwig van, the last movement of the Fifth Symphony, and I creeched like bezoomny at that.” (Burgess, 74) The use of Beethoven on these lines is really only a few times till the end of the story. As used in the film, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is used more than once. Why Kubrick did this, can be describe in two simple reasons first being to draw attention to Alex’s fondness for Beethoven, and secondly the cost would be great placing all of Burgesses choices of music.
Finally now one arrives on the forgotten last chapter and the end of the film. The two ending could not be anymore different. Kubrick’s film ends with a slightly messed up Alex envisioning himself doing the “in-out” as he calls it while saying the last lines of the second to last chapter. Oddly enough one believes this ending image came from a few previous pages where Kubrick picked what most likely Alex dreamt about. “And also there were dreams of doing the old in-out in-out with devotchkas, forcing like them down on the ground and making them have it and everybody standing round clapping their rookers and cheering like bezoomny.” (Burgess, 110)
In the real ending of “a Clockwork Orange,” Alex has kind of an epiphany after seeing Pete. He feels now he is old and chooses naturally to changes his ways. This makes a very different impression as a reader, reading a complete story and watching a “Horrorshow.”
One can conclude that the differences between the two versions of “A Clockwork Orange” are great. Both artists capture the real Alex but in different ways. With details being the main issue it is safe to conclude when reading and watching the film, both really are two separate works of art.
Beer and "A Clockwork Orange"