Friday 15 November 2019

Clockwork inspiration revealed

Malcolm McDowell revealed how he inspired the look of his character
Malcolm McDowell revealed how he inspired the look of his character

Malcolm McDowell has revealed that he inspired the look of his Clockwork Orange character by turning up to meet Stanley Kubrick with his cricket whites.

They had been pondering just how Malcolm's gleefully brutal thug Alex should dress for the 1971 film, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival ahead of a 40th anniversary Blu-ray release coming May 31.

Typical for Kubrick, who had great love for the blackly comic, they settled on a mash-up that brought an air of perverse gentility to the menacing young hooligan.

"I said, 'Well, I've got my cricket gear in the car. We could try that,'" Malcolm recalled in an interview at Cannes.

Kubrick loved how the actor looked in the crisp white uniform and suggested that he wear the outfit's groin protector on the outside, like a giant codpiece.

Malcolm was then given a big box of hats to choose from.

"I chose the bowler, because it symbolized the city and respectability, and I just wanted to give a real (screw) you to the establishment," Malcolm said. "And then the eyelash."

That was the finishing touch, inspired by a gag gift called Yard Of Eyelash that Malcolm had bought for Kubrick. The director told him to cut off a hunk of the fake eyelash and try it on, just over one eye.

Adapted from Anthony Burgess' novel, the film follows the ultra-violent adventures of Alex and his teen gang as they rape, beat and rob their way through a future England where law and order has become almost meaningless.

PA Media

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