WolfmanOz at the Movies #3

We have certainly been living in strange times at present.

I’m sure that most of us would say that what we are seeing now would be in the realm of dsyoptia; something unimaginable only 5 years ago.

So this weeks theme is looking at dsyoptian movies which mostly relate to an imagined state or society where there is great suffering or injustice, something which we are seeing so very much of today.

Probably the first such film was Fritz Lang’s silent classic Metropolis released way back in 1927.

This highly influential German science-fiction film presented a highly stylised futuristic city where a beautiful and cultured utopia exists above a bleak underworld populated by mistreated workers.

But it was largely an outliner and it really wasn’t until the 1960s that we saw the rise of dsyoptian films populating mainstream cinema. This came in parallel with the increased quality and interest in the science fiction genre, in which the two often go hand-in-hand.

Films in this genre to note IMO:

Blade Runner (1982), Brazil (1985), Fahrenheit 451 (1966), Gattaca (1997), Idiocracy (2006), Minority Report (2002), Planet Of The Apes (1968), Seconds (1966), Soylent Green (1973), The Truman Show (1998) and Twelve Monkeys (1995).

But the film that I wish to highlight is one which was first released just over 50 years ago and which caused huge controversy at the time. It still remains a brilliant but deeply disturbing portrayal of society. Of course, I’m referring to Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.

Based on the 1962 novel by Anthony Burgess, which it follows very closely, it tells the tale of a violent young man named Alex who is eventually imprisoned for murder and then experimentally brainwashed via the Ludovic Technique where he is impelled towards good as he is subject to being physically sick at the suggestion or thought of committing a crime or an evil act.

This shattering political allegory is loaded with fascinating cinematic images and boosts an amazing soundtrack which is a mix of Beethoven, moog synthesiser and other classical pieces. The use of Beethoven is particularly pointed as Alex has an obsession with the composer in general and his 9th Symphony in particular.

It is also distinguished by a superb performance by Malcolm McDowell as the pathological thug; the role of a lifetime which McDowell delivers with relish that almost makes his appalling character sympathetic. Something akin to the affect of watching Richard III and having sympathy with the evil crooked-back Duke of Gloucester.

The film is a memorable experience with an appalling message of free will that is impossible to forget.


Kubrick made only 13 movies over a 46 year period of which, IMO, at least half are genuine masterpieces. This movie is one of them. He tackled many themes and genres and often made the defining film for that genre. I’ll be posting more reviews/analysis of some of his films over the coming weeks and months.

Interestingly, The Spectator had an article a few weeks ago about the the parallels between vaccine mandates and the infamous Ludovic Technique from the film and book.

Enjoy and discuss.

34 thoughts on “WolfmanOz at the Movies #3”

  1. As the Skyhooks song ‘Horror Movie’ noted, you can watch a dystopian movie every night at six o’clock and it just keeps repeating every night.


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  2. Wolfman:

    I’m sure that most of us would say that what we are seeing now would be in the realm of dsyoptia; something unimaginable only 5 years ago.

    I’m not sure about the films you’ve listed, as I’ve only seen a couple of them, and read Fahrenheit 451.
    But you are on track with the claim of a dystopic society we couldn’t imagine 5 years ago.
    We were so sure our laws and Constitutions gave our rights protection that no Parliament or Bureaucracy would dare challenge them, but it turns out we were wrong – not only did they dare, but they actually doubled down and enforced their stupidity on us.
    Until we go through all these legal land mines and remove them from from the Statute Book, our ability to resist a Dystopia forced on us by a tyrannical ruling class is not assured.

    (Surely you mean ‘dystopia’ or is there a meaning I’ve missed?)


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  3. Haven’t seen some of them Wolfman, but I particularly noted in that clip when I saw it for the first time how McDowell exerted his authority over the top because he could. Diktator Daniel Andrews does exactly the same, followed by the rest of these pathetic POS that masquerade as politicians and Heath Experts. All of them should be put to the sword.


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  4. If memory serves, the unexpurgated version of A Clockwork Orange was first shown
    in Queensland cinemas sometime during the mid eighties.
    Which might be one of those meta thingies people go on about.


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  5. I think a Clockwork Orange makes a similar point to many philosophers, many coming from quite distinct directions (such as Viktor Frankl).

    Maybe this is a simplistic view, but ultimately, your humanity is free will. How you choose to react is the last freedom you have.


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  6. Other dystopian novels/films of note.

    The Girl with all the Gifts – frightening.
    Children of Men.
    I am legend – (surprisingly good I thought, given it has Will Smith in it).


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  7. I am legend – (surprisingly good I thought, given it has Will Smith in it).

    Or The Omega Man, which was the original version, with Charlton Heston.


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  8. Lets not forget Sean Connery in his mankini…

    Zardoz (1974)

    In this future dystopia, while the Brutals live in a wasteland, their overlords (the “Eternals”) luxuriate in the Vortex, apparently as self-satisfied as landed gentry. The Eternals created Zardoz to control the Brutals, inciting them to mass murder. However, Zed (Sean Connery) refuses to accept the status quo and his place among the oppressed, embarking on a journey that explores the theme of genetic engineering and exposes the devastating truth about the corrupt society he lives in.

    Long time since I saw it, but dystopian cheese is a fine and enduring cinematic genre.


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  9. Theodore Dalrymple on “A Clockwork Orange” (both the book and the film).

    A Clockwork Orange remains a novel of immense power. Linguistically inventive, socially prophetic, and philosophically profound, it comes very close to being a work of genius.



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  10. Rabz says:
    January 6, 2022 at 5:16 pm
    “Idiocracy” – satire when it was released, it has since transmogrified into a documentary.

    I first saw a year or two after it was released and I thought it was just too silly . . .

    Fast forward 15 odd years and watching it again it’s bloody hilarious and quite scary !


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  11. I’ve read Burgess
    not the Orange … some other thing whose name I can’t remember now.
    disturbing enough and reminded me why not to read or watch the Orange

    all these years, I dodged it.

    suppose I’ll have to do it now.

    I think my fave dystopic film is Wim Wenders — Until the End of The World


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  12. I’ve either read or watched, or both, everything on the list. The only one I don’t consider dystopian is Clockwork Orange. A work of undeniable genius in literature and cinema but not dystopian, more expanded commentary. Sometimes art is life.

    My current number one, soul tormenting, mind wrenching, dystopian work is The Day of The Triffids. I read it years ago, and have watched some adaptions, and listened to the audiobook version over the recent New Year’s break.

    Holy Crap. I reckon I know what a modern analogue for a Triffid would be. I open the floor for anyone to call it out before I do.


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  13. I’ve read Burgess, not the Orange … some other thing whose name I can’t remember now.
    disturbing enough and reminded me why not to read or watch the Orange

    all these years, I dodged it.

    suppose I’ll have to do it now.

    Haven’t seen the movie, but would recommend listening to the audiobook for Clockwork Orange, rather than trying to read a print version. The language weirdly seems to make more sense if you listen rather than read.


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  14. Helen Davidson (nmrn) says:
    January 7, 2022 at 10:49 am
    I’ve read Burgess, not the Orange … some other thing whose name I can’t remember now.
    disturbing enough and reminded me why not to read or watch the Orange

    all these years, I dodged it.

    suppose I’ll have to do it now.
    Haven’t seen the movie, but would recommend listening to the audiobook for Clockwork Orange, rather than trying to read a print version. The language weirdly seems to make more sense if you listen rather than read.

    Agreed.

    Interestingly Kubrick was put off filming it at first as he thought the Nadsat language wouldn’t transfer well into film.

    Just like the audiobook it does make sense when viewed and listened too in the film.


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  15. My Drouges, you need a good tolchock if you don’t understand that the use of language was used to contain bad behaviour with the tribe making it permissible to inflict it on outsiders and a currency for acceptance. Welcome to Country, “Vaccine” mandates, Mutual Obligation should shock anyone with a conscience as an application of this evil, as a few examples.

    A violent criminal crying in the dock about their shitty government sponsored upbringing is another, leaning on whatever psychological tick they can lever.

    Muslims are Triffids, just quietly


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  16. As I have long said, if God wanted mindless drones, the chosen people would be lemmings.

    Which would make god a sociopath. Our freedom of choice is the gift of true freedom, which is outside the domain of the worst tyrants. A Clockwork Orange is the dystopian wet dream of those same tyrants, which must be resisted before they can take hold.


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  17. I’m sure that most of us would say that what we are seeing now would be in the realm of dsyoptia; something unimaginable only 5 years ago.

    I must have gone to Specsavers and obtained the most brilliant rose coloured glasses ever invented.

    Kneelsays:
    January 7, 2022 at 1:07 pm
    “…might be one of those meta thingies…”

    META – make everything Trump again?
    Worth remembering for FarceChhok’s name change too.

    The unalloyed adoration of Trump by so many on this blog makes me a traitor here. I despise him at a subatomic level.


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