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‘Still Ticking’: The story behind Stanley Kubrick’s ban on ‘A Clockwork Orange’

After its release in 1971, Stanley Kubrick’s film version of A Clockwork Orange was linked to a series of violent crimes. The first was the murder of a tramp by a 16-year-old youth; the second involved another 16-year-old youth who, dressed in the film’s distinctive gang uniform, stabbed a younger boy; the third was the brutal and horrific gang rape of a Dutch girl by a group of youths from Lancashire, as they sang “Singin’ in the Rain”.

Sentencing the 16-year-old for assaulting a child, a judge described the attack part of a “horrible trend” prompted by “this wretched film”.

Following death threats and warnings from the police over revenge attacks, Kubrick asked Warner Brothers to pull the film from its UK release.

But banning the film didn’t have the desired effect, for when the film was eventually released in the UK on DVD, it led to another spate of copycat crimes, the most notorious of which, was the murder of a bar manager by a “Clockwork Orange gang”.

Whether movies can make people commit crime, is a moot point, but as director of American Psycho, Mary Herron points out in the documnetary, Still Tickin´: The Return of A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick’s film is a “dangerous work of art,” one that some have suggested seduce “viewers into its violent world and implicates them in its protagonist’s crimes.”

Produced by Channel 4, Still Tickin´: The Return of A Clockwork Orange examines the controversy over Kubrick’s iconic film, explaining the film’s “demonic level of attention,” and its influence on culture, politics and society, which led to the director’s self-imposed ban.




Posted by Paul Gallagher



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