Tick Tock Tolchock
Burgess, Kubrick and the Mechanical Fruit
This new documentary was screened on 4 April 2022 to accompany the 50th anniversary screening at the Odeon of Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange.
The opening presentation included a statement from Stanley Kubrick's daughter Katharina Kubrick.
Hello Dear Harrogate Film Society ,
It’s been years since I’ve seen A Clockwork Orange as it should be seen -in all it’s glory on the big screen. I would have loved to have been there this evening.
This wonderful film was a big part of my life growing up and is very close to my heart.
It has all the quintessential trademarks of Stanley’s art.
He made Anthony Burgess ‘ uncompromising book into a brave and stylish movie.
Unforgettable, uncomfortable story telling dealing with the nature of human violence, corruption and redemption.
Personally I think it poses more questions about who we really are, than it answers, but this is really a topic that Stanley explored in all his films.
In addition to the screenings of both films, a special bookstall was provided by local bookseller Imagined Things; copies of A Clockwork Orange plus other titles by Burgess and books on Burgess and Kubrick were made available.
Published in Great Britain in 1962, A Clockwork Orange would help secure Anthony Burgess's position as one of the country's foremost novelists.
The book was intended as a riposte to the proposition put forward by psychologist BF Skinner that society could be made better through the science of behaviour control. Burgess was opposed to the then widespread view that aberrant social behaviour could be ‘cured’ by the application of aversion therapy. Burgess saw this as humanity subjected to control by the state – an oppression of the organic by social machinery that the title was intended to exemplify. As Burgess later said, ‘it is better to be bad of one’s own free will than to be good through scientific brainwashing.’
On first publication, A Clockwork Orange had received mixed reviews and did not sell in significant numbers. However, positive endorsements from Roald Dahl and William S. Burroughs gave the novel some counter-cultural appeal with writers and musicians.
After several failed deals, the rights to film the novel were eventually secured by Stanley Kubrick. When Kubrick began filming Clockwork Orange, he was already regarded in Hollywood both as an auteur and box office gold. In productions including Paths of Glory in 1957, and Spartacus in 1960, but particularly in Dr. Strangelov, in 1964 and 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, Kubrick had combined aesthetic originality, technical brilliance and commercial success. However, the new film’s subsequent notoriety would upend the settled family life he had established outside St Albans.
The new documentary, Tick Tock Tolchock, explores Burgess's development as a writer and looks at Kubrick's career, exploring the technical and aesthetic qualities that he applied in Clockwork Orange. The film also considers the controversies raised by the release of Clockwork Orange and offers a new perspective on the original film, fifty years after its release.