Malcolm McDowell Talks Resenting “A Clockwork Orange,” Finally Appreciating It


Even though Stanley Kubrick’s landmark film A Clockwork Orange was released in 1971, star Malcolm McDowell wasn’t able to fully appreciate the film until fairly recently, according to an interview with the Los Angeles Times. Perhaps having his eyes pried open with metal clips in the film somehow had a traumatic effect on the Englishman?

“It was 10 years ago in Los Angeles when I went to a screening of it and I couldn’t believe what I saw, the accomplishment of the movie, the pure talent of Stanley Kubrick. In truth, that’s when I began to look back in a different way,” the 67-year-old said. “For maybe 10 years, I resented it because everyone wanted me to repeat it. The best part for any actor is the next one and Clockwork irritated me because it took that away at times.”

In Clockwork, McDowell plays a maniacal hooligan who heads up a gang in dystopian Britain before being captured by the government. After his stunt double opted out of having his eyes held open with metal fasteners, McDowell suffered through one of the movie’s infamous torture scenes himself. I ended up with scratched corneas – nasty, viciously painful,” he recalled.   In another crucial scene, McDowell had the idea to belt out “Singin’ in the Rain” as his character burglarized homes. “The way we were doing the whole movie was in this dark, surreal manner, it was real but heightened… It just came out and it added so much horror to it all.”

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