A CLOCKWORK ORANGE could finally be re-released on UK cinemas and get its long awaited video and TV debut following Stanley Kubrick‘s recent death.
Kubrick withdrew the film from general release in 1973 after accusations that it had sparked a series of copycat attacks across the country. There were reports in newspapers – some tabloid hysteria, some with a grain of truth – of gangs imitating the style of the film, wearing bowler hats and boiler suits like the film’s teenage anti-hero Alex (played by Malcolm McDowall).
Since then, the cult movie has only been seen at illicit film club screenings, or via bootleg videos bought from abroad. Originally given an ‘X’ certificate for UK cinemas, it was never given a video classification here.
However, it is still legally shown in cinemas around the world – you can hop on the Eurostar and see it in Paris or buy a video or laserdisc in the US – and it would seem likely that British censors would have no problem with it.
It is not yet known whether the director left any instructions in his will regarding the film.
A spokesman at the British Board Of Film Censors told NME that they would need to reclassify the film anyway, if a re-release was attempted.
He told NME: “We’d need to have a look at it again, both for cinema and video release. I can’t say whether or not it would be given a certificate.”
He added that he had seen an illicit foreign copy.
A spokeswoman for Warner Film Distribution – which has the distribution rights to the film – told NME: “There are no plans for it at the moment. And even if there were, it wouldn’t happen until next year.”
Pete Voss, lead singer of Campag Velocet, one of the myriad bands inspired by the film and the Anthony Burgess novel it was based on, said that he’d almost prefer it if the movie remained a banned classic.
“It’s probably the best movie ever made, but I think things are a lot better when they’re banned anyway,” he said. He added that the wishes of the late director should be respected.
Meanwhile, Kubrick‘s last film, Eyes Wide Shut, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, opens in the UK this August. Kubrick told friends the day before he died that it was his “greatest film yet” – some claim from the man also responsible for Dr Strangelove, Lolita, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Have you seen A Clockwork Orange? Do you think it will still be such a hot cult item if people finally get to see it? Is it only cool because it is banned? Tell us what you think. Post a message on Angst