Go to Table of Contents of the analysis (which has also a statement on purpose and manner of analysis and a disclaimer as to caveat emptor and my knowing anything authoritatively, which I do not, but I do try to not know earnestly, with some discretion, and considerable thought).
The most important thing which must be kept in mind with Kubrick's films is there is the surface or principle story and then the internal or sub-story. In many of his films, if we're really paying attention, set elements pretty much immediately destroy the surface naturalism. One may not notice this destruction the first, second or third time one watches the film. Through constructive disorientation and disconnectedness, and sleight of hand as to where our eye focuses, Kubrick, the magician, intentionally obfuscates these elements that destroy the overt and naturalistic story line. The surface story lines are the principle ones, and this is maintained and supported by the intentional obfuscation of the deconstructive elements which keep them sub rosa. At the same time, these deconstructive elements are plainly there, alongside his tremendous effort to make things look real and believable, and once we bypass the disorientation and his purposeful refocusing they become a puzzle, annihilating the sense of reality. This destruction of the film's naturalistic story line is difficult enough to conceive of and accept that most people stop at this point and decide these puzzling aspects of Kubrick's films are errors when they are not. They are part of the art of a director cleverly designing the overt story line to be unimpeded by an internal story that tears it apart. Indeed, the sub rosa elements of the internal story may be discreet but they are enough in evidence to complicate the surface story with an aura of attractive, indefinable mystery, which is one of the reasons viewers return to Kubrick again and again. To work with the "reason" and "why of the internal story line is to try to settle into Kubrick's sensibility, examining how these internal stories form a dialogue in his oeuvre with repeating themes and ideas, elaborated upon from film to film. The internal stories haven't a "plot"; they aren't that kind of story. Instead, you have to be willing to deal with comprehending the themes and ideas represented in them as instead ultimately forming a different terrain for the setting of the surface story, guiding and interacting with the overt story and giving it a new form.
156 LS Alex' droogs lounging in the lobby of Alex's apartment building. (29:04)
Cut to the lobby of the building where Alex's droogs rest on trashed out furniture waiting for him in the lobby. Dim sits in a baby carriage facing the camera, a wheel in hand, pretending to drive a car, as if taking the part of Alex the night before, but he looks like a large infant.
Kubrick likes the pram in the lobby of the lower income apartment building. In Eyes Wide Shut he placed a baby carriage in the stairway foyer beside the door to the apartment of the student and prostitute, Domino.
The "William Tell Overture" music slows to a stuttering stop and all apprehensively look up as Alex appears on the stairs and, taking stock, asks, as he had with Deltoid, to what does he owe the "extreme pleasure" of this surprising visit. The idea of the "surprise visit" also takes us back to shot 51 with the droogs deciding they would head west, which would take them to HOME.
The lobby is only territory of the droogs in the film. Kubrick shows it only twice and both instances he is dressed in his droog uniform. Alex as the dandy seducer in his purple frock coat, and Alex as the civilian in his blue suit are not shown here.
ALEX: Hi, hi, hi there.
DIM, GEORGIE BOY, PETE: Well, hello!
DIM: He are here. He have arrived! Hooray!
ALEX: Wellie, wellie, wellie, wellie, wellie, wellie, well! To what do I owe the extreme pleasure of this surprising visit?
Pete and Dim look to Georgie Boy to reply.
Georgie Boy (standing): We got worried.
157 MS Dim before the mural. (29:53)
GEORGIE BOY (wanders into the shot from screen left): There we were waiting and drinking away at the old knify Moloko, and you had not turned up. And we thought you might have been like offended by something or other, so around we come to your abode.
158 MCU Alex. (30:09) Alex meditates a moment on this before replying.
ALEX: Happy pollylogies. I had something of a pain in the gulliver so had to sleep. I was not awakened when I gave orders for awakening.
For some reason he has lied to his droogs, not telling them of his liaison with the two women.
DIM: Oh, sorry about the pain. Using the gulliver too much like, maybe.
159 MS Dim before the mural, Georgie Boy standing behind him. (30:29)
DIM (laughing): Giving orders and disciplining such, perhaps? You sure the pain is gone? You sure you'll not be happier back in your bed.
The way Dim speaks the last sentence, with perhaps a bit of a smirk, one wonders if the droogs aren't aware Alex has lied and that they know about the two women.
But why would it be something for Alex to hide, and for them to smirk about? Just as he keeps secret from his parents about his life as a criminal, does he keep hidden from his droogs parts of his life which have nothing to do with the gang?
160 MCU Alex as in 157. (30:43)
161 LS of the lobby and the droogs from an opposing side now. (30:47) We have now a view of the lobby from its entrance. Slowly, Alex steps toward Dim, his eyes on Georgie Boy, to stand over Dim, straddling him, his crotch in Dim's face, then drops down to sit on his lap.
162 MS Alex, Dim and Georgie Boy. (31:00)
ALEX: Let's get things nice and sparkling clear. This sarcasm, if I may call it such, does not become you, Oh my little brothers. As I am your droog and leader, I am entitled to know what goes on, eh?
Dim laughs and Alex grabs his chin.
ALEX: Now then, Dim, what does that great big horsy gape of a grin portend?
GEORGIE BOY (leaning in): All right, no more picking on Dim, brother. That's part of the new way.
ALEX (releasing Dim's chin): New way? What's this about a new way? There's been some very large talk behind my sleeping back, and no error.
163 CU Georgie Boy. (31:56)
GEORGIE BOY: Well, if you must have it, have it then. We go round shop crasting, like, coming out with a pitiful rookerful of money each.
DIM (echoing): Pitiful rookerful.
GEORGIE BOY: And there's Will, the English, in the Muscleman coffee mesto.
DIM: Will, the English...
GEORGIE BOY: ...saying he can fence anything that any malchick tries to crast.
164 CU Dim. (32:13)
GEORGIE BOY: The shiny stuff.
DIM: Shiny stuff...
GEORGIE BOY: The Ice. The big, big, big money's available's what Will the English says.
DIM: Big, big money.
Alex's hand enters the shot, gripping Dim's shoulder.
165 MS Alex, Dim and Georgie Boy. (32:22)
ALEX: And what will you do with the big, big, big money? Have you not everything you need? (He looks to Pete, off screen.) If you need a motor-car, you pluck it from the trees. (Looks back to Dim.) If you need pretty polly, you take it.
GEORGIE BOY: Brother, you think and talk sometimes like a little child.
DIM: Little child! Yeah, yeah!
GEORGIE BOY: Tonight we pull a man-size crast.
Dialogue in which Alex is told he is like a little child, and tonight will be graduating to a man-size crast, takes place with the section of the mural overhead of the woman with milk dripping from her breast, she saying, "Suck it and see." Though Dim is the one who seems most appropriately seated in the pram, taking the role of the child, the mural refers to Alex who is also seated in the pram via his straddling Dim.
166 CU Dim. (32:42)
DIM: Tonight's a man-size crast, see!
ALEX (gripping both of Dim's shoulders, congratulatory): Good. Real horrorshow. Initiative comes to them's that waits.
167 CU Alex. (32:49)
ALEX: I've taught you much, my little droogies. Now, tell me what you have in mind, Georgie Boy.
168 CU Georgie Boy. (32:58)
GEORGIE BOY (laughs after a moment, drawing back): Oh, the old Moloko-Plus first...
169 CU Dim. (33:02)
DIM: Moloko-Plus, eh?
GEORGIE BOY: Would you not say? Something to sharpen us up...
DIM: Some of the Moloko-Plus.
GEORGIE BOY: You especially. We have the start.
DIM: Yeah, Moloko first, because we've got the start on you. Yeah, Moloko-Plus, eh?
Dim laughing, Alex pats his cheeks.
170 LS Alex and his droogs walking along the marina. (33:18)
Cut to Alex leading the droogs down a walkway next to a body of water, Georgie Boy, Pete and Dim a little less nervous now, thinking Alex has agreed to the new way.
ALEX (VO): As we walked along the flatblock marina, I was calm on the outside but thinking all the time. So now it was to be Georgie the general saying what we should do and what not to do and Dim as his mindless, grinning bulldog. But suddenly I viddied that thinking was for the gloopy ones and that the oomny ones used like inspiration and what Bog sends. Well, now, it was lovely music that came to my aid. There was a window open with the stereo on and I viddied right at once what to do.
As "The Thieving Magpie" plays, the sang music hard during the fight at the casino, Alex turns and thwacks Georgie Boy in the codpiece with his cane, then kicks him into the water.
171 MS Georgie Boy falling toward the water as Alex turns from him. (34:09)
172 LS Georgie Boy falling into the water (34:11)
173 MS Dim rushing Alex with his chain as Alex ducks and turns and thwacks him with his cane into the water. (34:15)
174 LS Dim falling in the water beside Georgie Boy (34:19)
175 MS Alex. (34:23)
A shot of Alex's almost comically enraged face as he leaps, coming down on one knee, reminds of Moonwalker in 2001 thrashing the bones with his newly realized weapon after the first monolith's appearance, which was his mystic elevating inspiration through touching upon mystery and the divine. Alex has had a similar awakening, a knowledge of his "Bog" sending inspiration via the music drifting out the window. And the inspiration his Bog sends is the rule of violence.
One could take it, with Alex's abdication of thought for inspiration from "Bog" that he is placing himself on the relentless mechanical wheel of the clockwork which runs not independently but upon the dictate of preordained fate. The language he uses for viddying what he is to do, inspired by the music, is much the same as what he says before he later attempts to commit suicide. In the book it is made clear that Alex's thoughts may not have run to suicide had it not been for materials left lying about that subliminally instruct him to do so.
176 MS Alex's cane at his back. (34:27)
We've a shot from behind Alex as he draws a concealed stiletto blade out of his cane.
177 MS Dim flailing in the waist deep water. (34:30)
178 MS Alex from below. (34:32) We view from Dim's perspective as Alex reaches out a hand to Dim, smiling, as if to give him assistance out of the water, the screen soft white now and Alex's features illumined with a parody of brotherly compassion, the devil and the angel.
179 MS Pete backing away. (34:34) To Pete, seeing the stiletto, backing up.
180 MS Alex, Dim and Georgie, Alex extending his hand to Dim. (34:36) To Dim taking Alex's hand and Alex slicing the top of Dim's hand open.
181 MS Alex. (34:45) Alex grinning as he cuts Dim.
182 MS Dim. 34:46 Dim looking on in horror as Alex's blade cuts across his hand.
In The Shining Wendy halted Jack's assault when she cut his hand as he attempted to open the bathroom door.
The name Dim is from the book but it also carries an important connection to Lolita.
In Lolita, when the girl had appeared in Humbert's room with his breakfast tray, surprising him as he wrote in his secret diary, Humbert attempted to divert her attention from the journal by reading her words from "the divine Edgar", as in Allen Poe.
Notice how he emphasizes this word. "It was hard by the dim lake of Auber, in the misty mid region of Weir." You see, he takes a word like "dim" in one line and twists it? And it comes back as "mid region of Weir".
We can apply this to Kubrick's flip horizontals, his reversals. Though in Lolita, I think this line may also refer to the name Lolita, which is a form of "Lilith" and derives from the Hebrew layil meaning "a twist (away of the light)", as in night, also coming from luwl which is "to fold back, a spiral step, winding stair".
I wouldn't think to really mention it except for the fact that in the previous scene not only do we have the turn of the wheel unseating Alex, Dim is trying to become a non-Dim, he no longer wishes to be picked on by Alex, he wishes to be taken seriously, but he is one whose intelligence is such that he is incapable of doing other than parroting the words of his leader.
Another turn of the wheel has occurred in which Alex believes he's regained ascendancy. As he later says, "now we're back to where we were". Only they aren't.
183 MS Alex. (34:51) Again, Alex grinning as he cuts Dim.
184 MS Dim. (34:52)
Horrified, Dim begins to fall back into the water.
The scene in the book instead occurs on the street rather than in water.
185 LS Dim falling. (34:55)
Another view of Dim falling into the water, Alex's hand still outstretched, Georgie Boy standing behind holding his crotch.
186 LS Interior of the Duke of York Pub. (35:02)
Cut to another pub. A waitress who might remind a little of Alex's mother backs away from the bar with drinks on a platter and passes by the camera. She wears a purple wig the same color as Alex's mother's and that's what immediately may forge a connection. She also wears a red vinyl jumper much like the jumper Alex's mother had worn though hers was a different color. When Alex returns home from the prison we will see his mother attired in a dress with red faux jumper styling that will bring to mind this one.
The waitress passes Alex and his droogs sitting at a table, delivering the drinks to another party.
In the level above Alex and his droogs, we see an older woman dressed all in orange, wearing also an orange wig.
ALEX: I had not cut into any of Dim's main cables and so with the help of a clean kashtook the red, red kroovy stopped and it did not take long to quieten the two wounded soldiers down in the snug of the Duke of New York.
187 MS Alex at the table, Pete beyond. (35:21)
ALEX: Now they knew who was master and leader. Sheep, thought I, but a real leader knows always when like to give and show generous to his unders.
Returning to my thoughts, stated in the opening section, on the Orangemen being also possibly referenced by Kubrick in the film, the Orange Lodge was formed in honor of William the III, Duke of York and Albany. Prince Frederick (1763-1827), Duke of York and Albany, was a Grand Master. One history gives him as becoming associated about 1796.
The order was formed after the "Battle of the Diamond" in 1795, a group known as the Peep of Day Boys, fighting along with a contingent from Tyrone known as the Orange Boys--and afterward the Orange Society was begun. The Peep o' Day Boys, who arose about 1784, had been formerly known as the Protestant Boys, Wreckers, and the Oak Boys. It seems they were big on breaking into Catholic homes and destroying them, which was called a "wrecking", these assaults beginning about 1794. In 1796 there was finally a confrontation between the Catholic Defenders and the Peep o' Day Boys, and the Orangemen (not yet an official lodge), which left a number of Defenders dead.
Just a bit more history there.
Diamond shapes occasionally appear in Kubrick's work. We saw them in 2001 with the journey to inifinity. They appear also in Eyes Wide Shut as Bill passes through actually the diamond district in London when he realizes he is being followed. If we look at the names of surrounding streets we find that he has been placed in sacred territory. Diamond shapes appeared on the exterior doors of the Overlook in The Shining.
Alex now encourages the downcast droogs with a controlling, reassuring air that things are back to the way they were and all forgotten. And, being the generous sort, he invites Georgia Boy to lay out his idea for the night. Dejected, Georgie Boy, declines, but Alex pressing, ribbing Georgie Boy that they're not children (as Georgie had accused him of being), Georgie Boy tells what he had in mind.
ALEX: Well, now we're back to where we were. Yes? Just like before and all forgotten? Right, right, right?
Alex looks to Pete.
PETE (sullen, disgusted): Right.
Alex looks to Dim.
188 MS Alex, Pete, Dim and Georgie Boy with their drinks. (35:49)
DIM (nursing his hand, pained): Right.
Alex looks to Georgie Boy, who shakes his head, dejected, in the affirmative.
GEORGIE BOY: Right.
189 MS Alex, Pete beyond. (35:56)
ALEX: Well, Georgie Boy, this idea of yours for tonight, tell us all about it then.
GEORGIE BOY: Not tonight. Not this nochy.
ALEX: Come, come, come, Georgie Boy. You're a big strong chelloveck like us all. Heh, we're not little children, are we, Georgie Boy? What, then, didst thou in thy mind have?
190 MS Georgie Boy, Dim beyond. (36:26)
Georgie Boy prepares to speak, Dim looking on with some hesitant anticipation.
The scene is pivotal for it is now the stage is being set for Alex's absolute betrayal by his droogs, which at his own assist as he presses them to continue with their previously planned burglary.
Alex and his droogs visit the pub with the diamond decorative elements between the scene in in which Dim's hand is injured and their breaking into the cat woman's house.
In The Shining, the first time we see the exterior diamond side doors is when Wendy goes out to check on the disabled Snow Cat.
The next time we see the diamond doors is when Dick arrives in the second Snow Cat.
In shot 560 Jack's hand is cut.
In shot 561 we see the lodge from the interior of the Snow cat. Then in shot 574 Dick enters the lodge.
Story-wise, structurally, it's interesting how the large diamond design is situated between the cutting of Dim's hand and the visit to the Cat Woman's home as in The Shining the diamond doors are used also in relation to the Snow Cats and when Jack's hand is cut.
A connection between Alex's room and the Cat Woman's house is that pieces by the artists are displayed in both places. At the Cat Woman's we have the penis sculpture, called "The Rocking Machine", by Herman Makkink. The "Dancing Jesus" porcelains were also his work. The paintings at the Cat Woman's house were done by Cornelius Makkink, brother to Herman. The painting in Alex's room of the woman was also by Cornelius.
Odalisque as Big as a Truck seems a variation of the Cornelius Makkink painting in Alex's bedroom.
For Alex's bedroom, Kubrick has chosen a desaturated one which removes it a step from those in the Cat Woman's house and makes it less easy to identify as done by the same artist.
An odalisque was a harem slave woman/concubine and was a popular subject in "Orientalism" erotic 19th century art.
The painting above has undergone changes for the movie with the eyes and the mouth which make the painting far more menacing and I discuss these later.
I've been looking at the site rjbuffalo.com and it has some interesting history on how Tinto Brass was at one point up for directing the film but if he did it he wanted Paramount to first produce his L'urlo, which wasn't going to happen. Anyway, a year before A Clockwork Orange Brass does a film called Dropout and it featured the work of the Malkkink brothers, including the Dancing Jesus porcelains, the Rocking Machine, and the painting that ended up in Alex's bedroom (and perhaps more, I've not seen the movie, only photos). In fact there's one image at the site which shows Rocking Machine sitting in front of the painting that was in Alex's room, so though I've read elsewhere that the painting was done for ACO it would appear that info may be wrong. A question posed on the website is if Kubrick became aware of the Malkkinks through Tinto, which they say appears not to be the case as Cornelius Malkkink said they met Kubrick in '69.
In the book, when Deltoid visits Alex at home he does not let himself in, Alex does, and he does not sit with Alex on the bed in the bedroom of his parents. Though the conversation is confrontational, it is not physically so, Deltoid does not strike Alex's penis. Instead, Deltoid sits in Alex's father's rocking chair and rocks. So there seems a connection forged between the Rocking Machine sculpture and Deltoid, the rocking sculpture replacing his rocking in the rocking chair, and its phallic nature somehow typing in with Deltoid's striking Alex in the groin.
Shenley Lodge was used as the facade for the Cat Woman's house. I don't know about interior. As it turns out, The Avengers filmed an episode there in 1966, "The House that Jack Built". It's about a computerized house that becomes a maze of a prison for Emma Peel. She's intended to be driven mad by her experience and commit suicide in a special suicide room devised specially for her death, which can only be opened with a key that was sent to her, by which she gained entrance to the house. Why is this happening? Because she fired a person who believed in automation to the ultimate degree, replacing man with machine, subjugating man to machine and equating man with machine. A Professor Keller.
Pre 2001, a little bit of HAL is found in the story. Professor Keller tells her, "Equate man to machine, you did not even think it possible. You laughed at my theories, you held me up to ridicule. You were wrong...the machine is not only man's equal but his superior." He declares the mind of a machine can't reason which is what makes it superior, as it can never lose its reason, it has no breaking point, whereas humans do, and that when his experiment is concluded (Emma living within the confines of the house) the machine of the house will continue to function perfectly, whereas she will be quite mad.
The episode begins with a crook running from the police. He breaks into the house and is confronted by a lion leaping at him (a movie of course). He doesn't realize it's a movie and shoots at it.
The episode then goes to Mrs. Peel who has received news she's received the inheritance of a house from a previously unknown relative. An uncle of some sort. She has received the key to the house and sets off to examine it.
The Avengers episode shows the lions at either side to the front doors of the house rather than the sphinxes that are in ACO. These lions in ACO are instead to the side of the house. Considering what happened to the thief, we should understand these lions as the guardians. A little like the Cat Woman? Also much like the woman's cats who, in the book, attack Alex on her command.
Emma Peel's maiden name is Knight, so it means something to her when she comes upon the knight's armor in the house.
In the house, which at first appears normal, Emma visits one of the rooms. When she attempts to enter the main hall again she finds that it has transformed into a completely different looking interior. She is trapped. There's no way out. Every psychedelic looking hall she runs down is a duplicate of another and they all lead her back to this seemingly central area where is the object on the pedestal within the concentric circles. Even if she walks down a straight hall, she still ends up back in that room.
At one point, however, she finds the pedestal replaced by a staircase.
She discovers a room that has her history on the walls displayed like in a museum. It is here that Mr. Keller, on a monitor, reveals his plan to her. She meets the crook who is still inside the house and has already been driven quite crazy. She finds the computer heart of the house and learns that Mr. Keller is already dead. The crook grabs the key from her and commits suicide in the suicide room. Emma forces the key into one of the computer's slots, which destroys its mechanism. The house goes awry. She escapes. Etcetera.
Shenley Lodge was a real health farm when ACO filmed there, not just one on film. It was run by Betty and Eddie Chapman. Eddie was a former thief and safecracker (he even thieved movie houses, Odeons), who then became a British dougle agent in WWII. I read in Mrs. Zigzag: The Extraordinary Life of a Secret Agent's Wife, written by Betty and Dr. Ronald L. Bonewitz, that the Shenley "had a good connection with nearby Elstree Film Studios, and the people filming there would come and stay with us...Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee stayed during the filming of The Avengers." The book makes no mention of Kubrick or ACO. But it does mention that many Middle Eastern royal families stayed there. "The royal families of Iran, Jordan and Qatar enjoyed happy times there and kept in contact with me long after..." Was Malkkink's odalisque a reference to this?
So, there's already an Elstree connection.
But did Kubrick see this episode and choose to have this house as the Cat Woman's house--because it was protected by lions, because it was a house in which a woman is imprisoned in a maze, by a computer (a clockwork universe) and intended to be driven mad by it, to the point of suicide?
The HOME to which Alex accidentally finds his way back in the second part of ACO, and in which he is held by Alexander, has an eternally repeating entryway.
The concentric rings over the desk at Chelsea drug store may remind of the alternate psychedelic interior of the house in the Avengers episode.
There's nothing novel about these black an white rings, or such mazes (reflected or physical). What makes me wonder about all this are these in combination with certain elements of the Avengers story, especially the protective lions as in ACO Shenley Lodge becomes the home of the Cat Woman who attacks Alex and the cats trip him up as he flees after assaulting her. In the book, the cats to literally attack him.
Also, what sits above the desk at the record store but the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, which also returns us to the idea of the hallucinatory tour, though in a more mystical way, and connects directly with 2001.
And could all be coincidental.
Could be coincidental. But...
After the "Star Gate" sequence in 2001, accomplished by a "Slit Scan" machine, we have a period of altered aerial landscapes. Footage is used from Monument Valley, and IMDB states that footage is also utilized that was originally shot for Dr. Strangelove. I've read several reports that footage for 2001 was from the coastline of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. Was both footage from the Hebrides and Dr. Strangelove used? Shot on separate occasions? The Dr. Strangelove footage was taken over a broad geographical area. Did it include the Outer Hebrides footage?
The real "Siberian" landscapes were found across a huge geographical spread. Gilbert Taylor's assistant cameraman Kelvin Pike explained that the second unit flew from London's Heathrow Airport to Prestwick Airport in Scotland, and from there to Iceland, to Greenland, and as far as northern Canada. "We flew round a huge isolated iceberg stuck in the middle of Hudson Bay," he sais. "It was [in the Canadian Rockies] that we did all the really hairy stuff, bouncing the wing-tips off mountains."
Source: Calling Dr. Strangelove: The Anatomy and Influence of the Kubrick Masterpiece, by George Case
Some of this Dr. Strangelove footage was used in the Magical Mystery Tour. The online "Beatles Bible" states: "In the Magical Mystery Tour film, Flying was used to accompany landscape scenes of Iceland taken from an aeroplane. These sequences were unused outtakes from Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film Dr. Strangelove."
The Magical Mystery Tour movie was released, according to IMDB, in December of 1967. 2001 came out April 3, 1968. How do we see the Dr. Strangelove aerial footage utilized in the Beatles' movie? It has been colorized.
Kubrick's aerial footage for Dr. Strangelove feeds the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour. Did their colorized use of it feed Kubrick ideas for 2001? In the use of colorized aerial footage was he also referencing Magical Mystery Tour which would take us straight back to Dr. Strangelove?
After the above colorized footage in Magical Mystery Tour, the camera turns skyward and a voice-over states, "Beyond the blue horizon, far above the clouds, in a land that no one knows, live four or five magicians who spend their days casting wonderful spells. Come with me now into that secret place where the eyes of man have never set foot." They are the ones responsible for the magical mystery tour.
Sounds a little like Dave's finding himself in the hotel beyond the infinite and the rudimentary idea of some kind of higher intelligence having guided humankind via the monolith and finally Dave through the star gate.
I've previously noted that I think the two women who invite Bill to where the rainbow ends point back to this Chelsea drugstore scene and that the two women, with their rainbow phallus popsicles, have more significance than it appears in that they end up serving as a gate to Alex's later misadventure at the Cat Woman's and thus his travails by prison and the Ludovico technique.
In the Chelsea, at the record store counter, we end up having a kind of nexus it seems. We've references to 2001, to Magical Mystery Tour, and perhaps, possibly to the Avengers computerized "House that Jack Built" in which Emma Peel had her own pseudo hallucinatory trip that left her questioning the nature of reality, trying to figure out what was real. She rationalized what was occurring was by practical means and found there was a man behind her strange environment who was manipulating it by programming as he was dead. (How the house supposedly operated is so complex, the rooms seemingly on rails that moved at rapid speeds around a static core, that the premise is bonkers.) We also have the Mungojerrie reference which brings in the cats that end up being blamed for everything (I've covered this in section 2). And what do we have in the Avengers episode but a lion that isn't a lion at all but a film of one.
Considering what I've written about Killer's Kiss and the possible reference to a magician and an Orson Welles film there, I wouldn't be surprised if all this may also be taken as referring to the filmmaker's magic in storytelling and guiding an audience through a journey. And we are soon to have Alex manipulated through not only a drug but cinematic images.
191 LS The cat woman doing a shoulder stand in her exercise room. (36:29)
Cut to an older woman in green leotard and white tights performing yoga in a large room filled with art and some exercise equipment. Cats, most of them white, milling about and lying near the woman, to the rear we see an exercise bike beyond a large fireplace mantle. Above the mantle is a painting of a pink fleshed woman, against a blue background, prominently displaying her rear, and opposite the room to this is another painting of another woman doing much the same, only that painting has a yellow and blue background and the woman is painted all in white. Two more paintings hang on the wall opposite the camera, one of a woman in red thigh high boots, reclining, holding a small man by the leg who she seems to be swinging above her in the sky, he dressed much like Alex all in white with a black hat. The other painting is again of a woman displaying her posterior, this one wearing purple boots.
In a voice over Georgie Boy relates there's an isolated health farm out of town owned by a rich woman who lives with her cats, that it's shut down for the week and "it's full up with gold and silver and like jewels". I believe it's the only voice over of an individual other than Alex in the film.
GEORGIE BOY: It's this health farm. A bit out of the town. Isolated. It's owned by this like very rich ptitsa who lives there with her cats. The place is shut down for a week and she's completely on her own...
The woman extends her legs down into a form of plough pose, her feet meeting the floor, her legs spread so they form a pyramid shape. Near the apex is a bright light. The conjunction of the pyramid or trapezoid with a bright light or circle at the apex is a repeated symbol and one most overtly displayed in The Shining.
GEORGIE BOY: ...and it's full up with like gold and silver and like jewels.
ALEX: Tell me more, Georgie Boy, tell me more.
As we shall see, the woman is linked with the sphinx. Her introductory pose appropriately that of a triangle or pyramid.
A knocking at the front door. A break and then another round of knocking.
CAT WOMAN: Oh, shit.
As the knocking continues, the woman rolls out of her pose, standing. She exits.
192 LS Interior, hall looking down to the front door. (37:20)
We see the knocking is the sound of the mail flap. The cat woman enters the hall from the left, going to the door.
The hall is dark and weary, its furnishings heavy, and the whole of the place seems to be weighted with a passing age. The Cat Woman's stance is different from other women we've thus far seen. Her bearing communicates a force to be reckoned with.
CAT WOMAN (yells): Who's there!?
193 MS Interior front door. (37:29) The Cat Woman enters the shot from the left as Alex speaks from without the door.
ALEX: Excuse me, Mrs! Can you please help? There's been a terrible accident! Can I please use your telephone for an ambulance?
CAT WOMAN: I'm frightfully sorry. There's a telephone in the public house about a mile down the road. I suggest you use that.
ALEX: Mrs! This is an emergency! It's a matter of life and death! Me friend's lying in the middle of the road bleedin' to death!
CAT WOMAN: I'm very sorry but I never open the door to strangers after dark.
ALEX (after a pause): Very well, madame. I suppose I can't blame you for being suspicious with so many scoundrels and rogues of the night about. I'll try and get help at the pub, then. I'm sorry if I disturbed you. Thank you very much. Good night.
He gives one last knock of the mail flap.
194 LS Exterior Cat Woman's house. (38:21)
Shot from outside the residence of Alex on the stoop, to either side of which are sphinxes. He walks off to the right to meet his droogs who are hiding behind a bush under a window.
195 MS The Cat Woman listening at the front door.
(38:28) We see the cat woman, suspicious, listening at the door.
196 LS Exterior Cat Woman's house. Side view. (38:34)
Cut to the droogs circling around the side of the house to creep up the rear of the house.
197 LS Interior, hall looking down to the front door. The cat woman ascends the stairs to the main level. (38:41)
Uncertain, contemplating what has just happened, the Cat Woman mounts the stairs.
198 LS Rear of the house. Droogs mounting stairs. (38:46)
At the rear of the house, the masked droogs mount stairs decorated with lion figures.
ALEX: Dim, bend down.
Dim bends over beneath a window to serve as a step-up for Alex. The camera pans up, following Alex's gaze to an open window.
ALEX: I'm going to get in that window and open the front door.
199 LS Interior exercise room (39:03)
Cut to the exercise room and a view of the door the Cat Woman had exited into the hall. This view is from behind a penis sculpture that rests on a table. We see also two of the paintings of women, from the rear, bent to display their posteriors. The fact this shot follows Alex commanding Dim to bend down, and his doing so, his rear to the camera, expressly ties all these images of posteriors together. We may not connect Dim with the women as his rear hardly resembles a woman's and there is no sexual connotation, but we have action echoing the images in the exercise room.
The Cat Woman, entering, shuts the door behind her. The camera pans to follow her as she goes to a desk holding a phone. From this view of the room we get an oppositional shot that displays more of the exercise equipment including a ladder like structure against the left wall.
200 LS Exterior rear of house, Alex climbing a drain pipe. (39:25)
Cut to rear of house, Dim still bent over, Alex climbing the wall as Georgie Boy and Pete look on.
201 MS The Cat Woman on the phone at her desk. (39:31)
Beyond the Cat Woman we see the penis sculpture and the door to the hall.
With this new view of the room we see a painting of a woman licking the nipple of a sky-blue breast, a ladder-like exercise rack of some sort beside this. We have a better look at, over an ornate desk, the painting of a white-fleshed woman rising out of blue water near what seems a yellow beach, displaying her posterior. Beyond that we see a painting of another woman, her arms wrapped tightly in black straps, her mouth bound with a a red cloth decorated with white polka dots, and her breasts standing starkly, pinkly out against the stark white of the rest of her body.
This last painting is a doubling of Alexander's wife who had been assaulted the night before, out of whose red jumpsuit Alex had cut holes revealing her breasts.
It's a puzzle, isn't it. Here we have the introduction of art that mirrors the physical assault of the previous evening, and in a house the entrance of which is flanked with riddling sphinxes.
We even have a version of Alex in one of the paintings.
CAT WOMAN: Hello, Bradford/Radlette(?) police station?
CAT WOMAN: Good evening, it's Miss Wethers at Woodmeir Health Farm.
This was Shenley Lodge, in actuality, which can be seen half down this Avengers' web page.
CAT WOMAN: Hello. Look, I'm frightfully sorry to bother you but something rather odd has just happened. Well, It's probably nothing at all, but you never know.
TELEPHONE: Why don't you tell me about it.
CAT WOMAN: Well, a young man rang the bell, asking to use the telephone. He said there'd been some kind of accident. Well, the thing that caught my attention was what he said, the words he used sounded very like what was quoted in the papers this morning in connection with the writer and his wife who were assaulted last night.
TELEPHONE: When did this take place, ma'am?
CAT WOMAN: Just a few minutes ago.
TELEPHONE: Well, I think we'd better send a patrol car around to see you.
CAT WOMAN: Well, if you think that's necessary, but I'm quite sure he's gone away now.
TELEPHONE: We'll be there in a few minutes.
CAT WOMAN: Oh, all right, fine. Thank you very much. Thank you.
The woman hangs up the phone, then leaps startled, Alex in his nose mask opening the door to her room and entering.
ALEX: Hi, hi, hi there. At last we meet.
202 MS Alex viewed from behind the phallus sculpture. (40:29)
ALEX: Our brief govereet through the letter hole was not, shall we say, satisfactory?
203 MS The Cat Woman before her desk facing Alex. (40:34)
CAT WOMAN: Who are you? How the...
204 MS Alex viewed from behind the phallus sculpture. (40:39)
CAT WOMAN: ...hell did you get in here?
Alex looks around at the paintings and the sculpture.
CAT WOMAN: What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?
ALEX: Naughty, naughty, naughty, you filthy...
205 MS The Cat Woman before her desk. (40:52)
ALEX: ...old soomka.
CAT WOMAN: Now, listen here you little bastard. Just turn around and walk out of here the same way as you came in.
206 MS Alex viewed from behind the phallus sculpture. (41:02)
Alex eyes the sculpture.
207 CU the phallus from the wall behind, the Cat Woman viewed in the background at her desk. (41:04)
We view only Alex's arm and hand as he lifts it and reaches out a finger to touch the head of the sculpture, the Cat Woman interrupting...
CAT WOMAN: Leave that alone! Don't touch it!
Alex's finger touches it.
CAT WOMAN: It's a very important work of art.
Alex rocks it with his finger. He presses the head of the phallus down.
208 MS Alex viewed from behind the phallus sculpture. (41:11)
Cut to Alex pressing the head of the phallus down with his finger, then releasing it. He springs back, surprised, as it rocks back and forth on the table.
209 CU the phallus from the wall behind, the Cat Woman viewed in the background at her desk. (41:20)
The phallus continues to jerkily rock.
CAT WOMAN: Well, what the bloody hell do you want?
210 MS Alex viewed from behind the phallus sculpture. (41:23)
ALEX: Well, to be perfectly honest, madame, I'm taking part in an international students contest...
211 CU the phallus from the wall behind, the Cat Woman viewed in the background at her desk. (41:31)
The phallus continues to jerkily rock.
ALEX: ...to see who can get the most points for selling magazines.
CAT WOMAN: Cut the shit, sonny, and get out of here before you get yourself into some very...
212 MS Alex viewed from behind the phallus sculpture. (41:40)
CAT WOMAN: ...serious trouble.
Alex angrily strikes the head of the phallus.
213 CU the phallus from the wall behind, the Cat Woman viewed in the background at her desk. (41:41)
The Cat Woman jumps in reaction.
CAT WOMAN: I told you to leave that alone! Now, get out of here before I...
214 MS Alex viewed from behind the phallus sculpture. (41:45)
CAT WOMAN: ...throw you out!
Again, Alex angrily strikes the head of the phallus.
215 MS from the side of the desk of the Cat Woman. (41:47)
CAT WOMAN: Wretched, slummy bedbug!
Looking around for something to grab and strike Alex with, she decides upon a bust of Beethoven on her desk, flanked by three trees of bare light bulbs, these bare bulbs a version of the sort we've seen throughout the film, in the Korova milk bar and at the writer's house.
CAT WOMAN: I'll teach you to break into real people's houses!
The cat woman pursues Alex with the bust, stepping out of the frame screen right.
216 CU Cat woman from behind. (41:55)
Cut to a shot from close behind the Cat Woman as she advances upon Alex, he picking up the sculptural phallus and facing her with it.
CAT WOMAN: Fucking little...
217 MCU from behind Alex, facing the Cat Woman. (41:57)
CAT WOMAN: Bastard!!
They perform a circular dance of advance, dodge and jab, she continually advancing in her circling and swinging at him with the Beethoven bust, he dodging backwards away from her swings and occasionally thrusting the phallus at her.
218 CU from behind Alex, facing the Cat Woman. (42:00)
The Cat Woman makes furious, cat-like mrrreeeooorrrwww sounds as she swings at him with the bust.
219 MCU from behind the Cat Woman, hip level, Alex facing the camera. (42:06)
Cut to Alex ducking down and just barely escaping being struck with the bust. Again, she swings, and again he barely misses being struck, ducking, his expression showing some surprise, and then some delight also as the Cat Woman moves out of the frame of the camera and it focuses on him alone, dancing back and forth, dodging, with the great phallus before him. The Cat Woman enters from screen right, swinging again, Alex ducking almost too late this time. Again, surprised, he comes back up.
220 MCU Cat Woman. (42:12)
Cut to the Cat Woman alone from the side and the camera shifting to behind her again as she continues in her circular dance with Alex. She swings again and nearly falls, the vigor of her swing turning her completely around.
221 MCU Alex from behind. (42:13)
Cut to behind Alex. He backs into the camera as the Cat Woman swings the bust at him again. Then he is facing her and the camera.
222 MCU The Cat Woman. (42:16)
The Cat Woman with a view of the painting beyond her of the woman swinging overhead Alex's double. She swings and misses again.
223 MS The Cat Woman and Alex. (42:19)
Cut to a view of her swinging and just barely missing Alex. As he dodges back he dances from one foot to the other. The Cat Woman enters again from screen left taking a giant swing...
224 LS The Cat Woman and Alex. (42:22)
This time the Cat Woman makes contact.
Finally, she strikes Alex in the head with the bust of the composer with whose music he's so enamored, whose music will ultimately lead to his suicide leap near the film's end. Foreshadowing this, he falls.
225 MCU Ground shot of Alex falling. (42:23)
Alex falls and drops the phallus. The woman advances to strike him again.
226 MCU Ground shot of Alex from behind the Cat Woman. (42:26)
Alex grabs the woman's knees, pulling her to the ground.
227 MCU Ground shot of the Cat Woman from behind Alex. (42:27)
The Cat Woman falls to the ground on her back. Alex grabs up the phallus and leaps to his feet over her. He raises the phallus as the camera circles to behind the woman.
228 MCU Side view of Alex. (42:30)
Alex lifts the phallus high over head, the bloody eyeball on his shirt cuff prominently displayed. The camera pans briefly down toward the woman, off screen.
229 CU The cat Woman on the ground, opening her mouth. (42:32)
In this shot her fake eyelashes are prominently exaggerated, reminding of Alex's. The camera zooms back from her face as she begins to scream. Her red wig falling back off her head we see her light brown hair.
230 MS Alex and the phallus from the point of view of the Cat Woman. (42:33)
Alex lifts the phallus higher then begins its downward plunge.
There is a quick sequence of images from the curious painting of the woman on the wall who was swinging by the leg the man resembling Alex, and we see her eyes are absent, as if torn out, blood dripping down her cheeks. (Are the bloodied eyes on Alex's cuffs intended to represent her eyes?) Wrapped in an orange circle, her mouth is two concentric rings of lips and teeth, one enclosed within the other, open in a scream, now become the Cat Woman's scream. We've also an image from this same painting of the man's hand as if grabbing for one of three breasts dangling from a wire, a close-up of the painting of the breasts that recalls the assault of the woman at HOME the night before, and the sequence ends on that cartoonish but grotesque and horrifying mouth condemning him. A sort of vagina denta of unceasing violence.
231 CU The painting of the woman in red boots, zooming in an extreme close up of her mouth. (42:34)
232 CU The painting of the woman in red boots, a close up of the hand of Alex's double reaching for a breast on a line. (42:34)
The thumbnail of painted hand is red. The previous night, when Alex was putting the Beethoven tape into the deck, Kubrick had given us a close up of his hand which had a red mark, like a small wound or sore, next his thumbnail. His hands were viewed in other shots and there was no red spot or wound in that place.
233 CU The painting of the woman in red boots, a close up of her mouth. (42:34)
234 CU The painting of the bound woman, her pink breast. (42:34)
235 CU The painting of the woman in red boots, a close up of her mouth. (42:34)
236 CU The painting of the bound woman, her pink breast. (42:34)
237 CU The painting of the woman in red boots, a close up of her over her vulva. (42:34)
238 CU The painting of the woman in red boots, a close up of her mouth. (42:34)
239 CU The painting of the woman in red boots, a close up of her over her vulva. (42:34)
240 CU The painting of the woman in red boots, a close up of her mouth. (42:34)
241 CU The painting of the woman in red boots, a close up of the hand of Alex's double reaching for a breast on a line. (42:34)
242 CU The painting of the woman in red boots, a close up of her mouth. (42:34)
It has been murder (hmmm) trying to get the correct shots above and I can only hope I'm right. I've played the scene over and over and over and over again and think I do have it right. If you know better, let me know.
243 MS Alex from the side. 42:36
The woman's scream crescendos and winds down into a bizarre cartoonish mix of cat scream and siren. The siren becomes a real siren outside, which Alex now hears. We've a brief glimpse on the Cat Woman unconscious on the floor, but her face is clean, not bashed in and bloodied. Alex backs away from her, panicked, as if finally stunned by his own violence. Staring down at the woman, he replaces the sculpture on the table in the opposite direction from when he entered. He is barely able to compose himself, to think, still staring at the woman. Backed up against the door, he reaches for the handle behind him, and fumbles at it, desperate, as if unwilling to turn from the woman. Finally, the door opens and he backs out of the room, closing the door behind him.
It would be fairly difficult for the audience to have any sympathetic connection at all with Alex after this but for the fact that Kubrick permits him an expression of horror and revulsion after the attack, as if he was not expecting this outcome.
244 LS Down the hall to the front door. (42:55)
Alex enters from the left, tripping over the multitude of meowing cats. He descends the steps to the front door and struggles to open it.
245 CU from behind Dim, he holding a milk bottle in his hand wrapped with a bloodied bandage. (43:04)
Cut to outside. We hear Alex struggling to open the door as the camera zooms out from Dim's bloodied hand that is holding the milk bottle. At full zoom out we see Pete on screen left and Georgie Boy at screen left, the three waiting for Alex.
ALEX (exiting, removing his mask): Come on, let's go. The police are coming!
DIM: One minuta, droogie.
246 MS Side shot of Dim busting the milk bottle on Alex's face. (43:12)
247 LS Alex and the droogs before the door. (43:4)
The others laughing, the siren screaming, Alex yelling, "You bastards!", he drops to the ground in a pool of milk, his hands over his eyes, as the others run off screen right.
ALEX: You bastards! You bastards! I'm blind! I'm blind! I can't see! I can't see! I'm blind!!!
There's the sound of police cars pulling up, tires screeching.
Recollect the graffiti on the mural at the projects where Alex lives, the woman on it with milk dripping from her breasts, the dialogue blurb of, "Suck it and see."
Alex lies between two French style sphinxes positioned to either side of the front door.
The cat woman in Burgess' book is elderly and supports herself on a cane so she is indeed in the image of the third phase of man in the riddle of the sphinx. There's no elderly woman on a cane here but Kubrick throws us riddling sphinxes and it's not the only film in which he utilizes them--for it's my belief there is a semblance of twin sphinxes in the boilers of the Overlook hotel in The Shining, the twin snowcats as well, and with the tiger woman, Domino, in Eyes Wide Shut.
Earlier in the film, there was even a reference to the Cat Woman, identifying her with the sphinx, due Kubrick's use of the hanging scene from Cat Ballou, for the sphinx is known for strangling her victims, sphinx being from spingein, which is to squeeze bind. Sphincter comes from the same, and it is in this scene that Kubrick has elected to have the posteriors of so many women figure. The audience will perceive these as wholly sexual in nature when instead the images are an allusion to the riddling sphinx.
The murder of this cat woman is a critical moment and about as bloody terrifying as any on film. Sitting in a theater's seat, watching from the camera's POV of the woman as Alex towers over her with the sculpture, one flinches away in horror of the impending crush, and is only a little relieved when no image of actual bloodshed is shown, instead replaced by the curious, inhuman, deflated scream of the grotesque art mouth.
So, I'm thinking on this because I don't believe it's just a cut-and-dried Freudian Oedipal complex being played out. I walk into another room and pick up off the floor one of my son's Highlight magazines, that magazine for kids which often has puzzles in it, and realize on the front of this is a big set of dentures. And I recollect the dentures on the nightstand in the room of mum and dad and Deltoid accidentally drinking out of the glass, which is peculiar in that both Alex's mom and dad had their teeth at breakfast, so whose teeth are they? And then I come back in and my son is complaining about some pop-up ads, the first sentence out of his mouth being how gross he thought was one of those, "Guess whose lips?" ads. (NOTE: Though I'm publishing this online in 2012, I had written this several years beforehand, when "Highlights" magazines were reading material for my son.) A bit of coincidence with the dentures and lips as I contemplate Alex at the cat woman's house and her murder.
And I consider how the mysterious woman in the painting has two sets of teeth. The extra set of dentures in the bedroom of Alex's parents is as if one of those sets of teeth.
Deltoid also connects with the Cat Woman. Deltoid means triangular, and what was Kubrick's choice of his first shot of the Cat Woman but her performing a yoga pose in which she assumed the shape of a triangle, a pyramid, her rear to the camera, surrounded by paintings of women displaying their rears, this possibly alluding to the sphinx's etymological relationship to the sphincter muscle. But, for Kubrick, what does this mean when the triangles and trapezoids in his films are sometimes topped with a bright light?
We all know the Oedipal myth. A boy is cast away (sometimes in a box in a river, which was a standard and comes with the story of Moses as well), it having been foretold he would kill his father and marry his mother. He meets and kills an unknown man at the crossroads. Then he defeats the sphinx by guessing her riddle and she throws herself off her cliff in an act of suicide. The Thebans, grateful that Oedipus has rid them of the scourge of the sphinx, gives their dead king's wife, Jocasta, in marriage to him. When the truth is discovered that Oedipus is her son who had been cast away, Jocasta kills herself (some say by hanging) and Oedipus blinds himself with his mother-wife's brooch. The lesson is that one can never escape the fate decreed by the gods.
Kubrick may be referencing a special type of sphinx. At the palace at La Granja, there are several sphinxes, and all pictures I've seen of them have the same feature. Instead of the breasts of the sphinx being simply exposed, the sphinx wears a type of chest armor and the breasts are cut out of it. This ties the sphinx in not only with the cat woman but the image in her room of the woman with the pink breasts against the very white skin, and the woman in red at HOME whose outfit out of which Alex had cut the circular holes, exposing her breasts. She, too, will be revealed later as having died.
La Granja means farm, as the land upon which the palace was built by a grandson of King Louis the XIV, the Sun King, La Granja influenced by Versailles.The cat woman runs a health "farm" which again perhaps points to La Granja as this was not in the book.
But Shenley Lodge was, as I earlier mentioned, a real health farm.
Kubrick could have had thoughts down the line of Freud, I suppose. Alex didn't slay Alexander, a stand-in father, but one could say he emasculated him, and then, raping Alexander's wife, had sex with a mother substitute. But is it so simplistic as all that? Is Kubrick really passing Alex off as a psychological study in an Oedipal complex and fear of vagina dentata?
Seems to me that is a gloss meaning. If that's all there was to it, why the need of Alex meeting his downfall surrounded by art that either models or mirrors his past and his future? Why should he be clobbered on the head with his beloved Beethoven by this woman who has denounced him as not being a "real" person? One can take this as her upper class prejudice, and on one level, an important one, it is. What we've here is more involved than a Freudian Oedipal crisis, but what importing the Freudian Oedipal crisis does for the story is to support the sphinx being the sphinx at Oedipus' crossroads, and that Alex's blinding by the milk bottle between the two sphinxes in a transition to his next great adventure, as Deltoid had foretold before taking a drink from the dentures' glass, needs to be looked at in relation to destiny as described by the Oedipus myth.
One thing that Georgie Boy had promised was that the health farm held great treasure. An Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry associates the Freemason use of the sphinx with the Egyptian guarding of mysteries, "warning those who penetrated within, that they should conceal a knowledge of them from the uninitiated; and hence Portal derives the word from the Hebrew TsaPhaN, to hide." TsPhN does have to do with secreting, hiding and treasure. So it's not out of place here, considering Georgie Boy's insistence that here would be great treasure, a man-sized crest.
In Eyes Wide Shut there is a scene I think that ties with this one, in which we have recent events in Bill's life that are boiled down and, if in a different form, replayed in a confrontation between him and some frat boys.
As I noted in some analysis on this:
'Listen to this. She had a red rose in her mouth. She was doing a Mexican lap dance right in my face,' a man in a group of people advancing from the opposite corner is going on loudly.
The green and white striped awning decorates a building that will later be dark and in the neighborhood of Domino, then a little later will be 'The Rainbow' shop, and even later will'well'have a quadruple life'as Sharkey's.
'I've got scars on the back of my neck,' the man continues, then seeing Bill yells, 'Hey, hey, hey, what team's this switch hitter playing for?! Looks like the pink team. Faggot!' And slams into Bill as they pass, knocking him into a car.
Things Bill had seen, actions he had made, are being played out in this altercation. He had just passed a Mexican restaurant, a couple making out under a rose, and at the Nathanson's the maid had been Rosa, and his own babysitter a Roz. He had pounded his own fist as he passed the Pink Pussy Cat Boutique. It's as if that aggression, Bill pounding his own hand, is now being played out by these individuals who slam him against the car and who had spoken of a Mexican lap dance performed by a woman with a rose in her mouth.
I hesitate to belabor the riddling sphinx, having just finished writing about it in relation to The Shining, but the scratches on the neck reminded me not only of the strangling sphinx (who makes an overt appearance in A Clockwork Orange, two statues of the sphinx outside the house where Alex is temporarily blinded by his buddies with a smashed milk bottle), but of Marion with Bill, her hands on the back of his neck as she made her confession. And we have here an association with the feline being raised via the Pink Pussycat. But the sphinx is all to do with enigmas, isn't it, a polymorphic creature presenting the face of a human.
'Merry Christmas, Mary!' they yell (a variation of Marion, Mary meaning bitter waters) and continue to taunt him as they walk off saying they make dumps bigger than him. 'Prime cut of meat! You want to take a ride on this?' One bends over and prominently displays his posterior, slapping it. 'C'mon macho man! You wanna piece of this? Exit only, honey!' They yell to him to go back to San Francisco where he belongs.
We have the same reiteration of past events and hints of the future in A Clockwork Orange. We've the sphinx. The posteriors are focused on in the abode of the sphinx. Alex had cracked a bottle of Brut Imperial "Rose" champagne against the face of Billy Boy, presaging the milk bottle to the side of his own face. The image of the woman in the mural, milk dripping from her breast into a barrel, was notated, "Suck it and see", which seems counter Alex being blinded, except for physical blindness being associated with inner and mystical perception.
There had been no blinding by Dim with the milk bottle in the book, instead the thrashing had been with Dim's chain.
In the shot of the gang waiting Alex outside the front of the mansion, the right sphinx is exposed to the light while the left sphinx (our left) is darkened, and this reminds of the Chariot card of the Tarot.
The card often following The Chariot is Justice, which fits very well with the story, Alex next appearing in police custody.
248 MS Man straddling a chair. (43:30)
Now cut to a brick room painted all white, Alex in the foreground, recognized by the style of his pants, of which we only see the crotch area, his hand at his waist, the camera more focused on an unknown man in suit pants and vest, with a purple tie, gazing up at Alex with some exasperation. We understand immediately that he is in police custody, at the police station. There is no music. We hear the sounds of typing and someone whistling in the background.
249 CU Alex. (43:38)
Cut to Alex's face, a bloodied bandage over his nose.
ALEX: It's no good sitting there in hope, my little brothers. I won't say a single, solitary slovel unless I have my lawyer here. I know the law, you bastards.
250 MS Older policeman in uniform seated on a stool. (43:52)
The Inspector reaches into his pocket, takes out a pack of cigarettes and a cigarette from that pack, replacing it in his pocket.
INSPECTOR: Righty, right, Tom. We'll have to show our little friend Alex, here, that we know the law, too. But that knowing the law isn't everything.
The officer gazes up at another man at screen right.
251 CU Tom, a man in a blue shirt standing with arms overhead. (44:09)
Tom nods slightly and turns to screen right, the camera turning to show him leaning in to Alex, who stands beside him. Tom, chewing gum, smiles at Alex, who smiles in return.
TOM: Nasty cut you've got there, little Alex. Shame. (He pulls Alex's hair back from his forehead.) Spoils all your beauty. Who gave you that, then? Eh? (He touches the cut with his thumb, Alex flinching in pain.) How'd you do that, then?
Alex burps in his face. In response, Tom bears his thumb hard down on the bloody spot on Alex's bandage, Alex screaming in pain and falling to his knees.
252 MS Tom and Alex from behind the man with the purple tie. (44:41) Alex dropping to his knees screaming, cut so we see again the man with the purple tie looking on.
ALEX: AGHHH! What's that for, you bastard?
Tom grabs Alex by the hair.
TOM: That...is for your lady victim, you ghastly (slams Alex's head against the wall) wretched (slams it again) scoundrel (slams it again).
Alex grabs Tom's crotch with his right hand, Tom yelling and standing, still gripping Alex's hair.
253 LS Tom and Alex in the corner, seen from behind the Inspector and the man in the purple tie. (44:51)
Alex still grips Tom's crotch. He screaming, the man in the purple tie leaps up and grabs Alex, hitting him in the face. Alex releases Tom, falling back into the corner. The older policeman now rises. Someone says, "You rotten bastard."
254 MS From behind, an officer at a desk. (44:56)
Cut to a Sergeant at a small desk on which are cakes and tea and/or coffee. We still hear the sounds of typing. As he sips form his mug, Deltoid enters through an orange door beyond.
SERGEANT: Good evening, Mr. Deltoid.
MR. DELTOID: Good evening, Sergeant.
SERGEANT: They're in Room B, Sir.
MR. DELTOID: Thank you, very much.
Mr. Deltoid starts toward a dark blue door directly behind the Sergeant. The door opens and the Inspector exits, calling, "Sergeant", then sees Deltoid.
INSPECTOR: Ah, good evening, Mr. Deltoid.
MR. DELTOID: Good evening, Inspector.
On the corkboard to the screen left of Room B is a poster reading, "Have you got what it takes to be a policeman?" (As we'll eventually see, Dim and Georgie Boy do.)
SERGEANT: Would you like your tea now, sir?
INSPECTOR: No, thank you, Sergeant. We'll have it later. May I have some paper towels, please?
SERGEANT: Yes, sir.
The Sergeant reaches into his desk and pulls out a handful.
INSPECTOR: We're interrogating the prisoner now. Perhaps you'd care to come inside.
MR. DELTOID: Thank you very much.
Deltoid enters the room.
255 MS from Alex's POV of Deltoid and the Inspector entering the room. (45:28)
The man in the purple tie leans on a chair, looking down at Alex. Tom is seen to the far right. A bare bulb hangs down from the ceiling.
MR. DELTOID: Good evening, Sergeant. Evening, all.
The Inspector tosses paper towels down to Alex.
MR. DELTOID: Dear, dear.
256 MS Alex on the floor in the corner, bloodied. (45:33)
Blood covers Alex chin, having flown from his lip. It has dripped all over his shirt. His hand is covered with blood and blood is now all over the wall beside him.
We now notice the eyes on Alex's cuffs are gone. Same clothes, same shirt, but the eyes are gone.
MR. DELTOID: This boy does look a mess, doesn't he. Just look at the state of him.
Alex dabs his lip with a paper towel.
TOM: Love's young nightmare, like.
INSPECTOR: Violence makes violence. He resisted his lawful arrestors.
257 Alex's POV of Deltoid and the rest looking down on him. (45:44)
MR. DELTOID: Well, this is the end of the line for me. The end of the line, yes.
258 Alex. (45:53)
ALEX: It wasn't me, brother, sir. Speak up for me, sir, for I'm not so bad. I was led on by the treachery of others, sir.
259 Alex's POV of Deltoid and the rest looking down on him. (45:59)
PURPLE TIE: Sings the roof off lovely, he does, sir.
260 Alex. (46:02)
ALEX: And where are my stinking, treacherous droogs. Get them before they get away. It was all their idea, brothers. They forced me to do it. I'm innocent.
261 Alex's POV of Deltoid and the rest looking down on him. (46:10)
Mr. Deltoid, laughing, crouches before Alex.
MR. DELTOID: You are now a murderer, little Alex. A murderer.
262 MS Alex. (46:22)
ALEX: Not true, sir. It was only a slight tolchock. She was breathing, I swear it.
Alex laughs, Deltoid laughing as well.
MR. DELTOID: I've just come from the hospital. Your victim has died.
ALEX: You try to frighten me, admit so, sir. This is some new form of torture. Say it, brother, sir.
263 Alex's POV of Deltoid and the rest looking down on him. (46:41)
MR. DELTOID: It will be your own torture. I hope to God it will torture you to madness.
TOM (crouching down alongside Deltoid): If you'd care to give him a bash in the chops, sir, don't mind us. We'll hold him down. He must be a great disappointment to you, sir.
264 CU Alex. (47:01)
Instead, Deltoid spits in Alex's face, the camera cutting to Alex as the spit strikes him.
Alex coolly smiles and wipes the spittle off, throwing the towel to the side.
Though A Clockwork Orange was decried as being horribly violent, there is not that much blood and gore and violence shown on screen.
We have (1) the assault on the Irishman, but the camera is removed showing mainly silhouette shadows. We hear the violence, the thuds of the canes, the kicks of the boots, but that is all. And, besides, the film's audience is going to not be too upset over the beating up of an old, drunk, Irishman. That's not going to be a problem for them.
Next, we've (2) The Thieving Magpie gang ballet at the casino. There had been the prospect of a rape in that, a woman's clothes stripped off on stage. But the arrival of Alex and his droogs cut that short and she fled. Though there was quite a bit of violent crashing of chairs and even bottles against faces (Billie Boy got one in the face from Alex) it was, again, more of a dance composed of so many old Hollywood versions of cowboy bar brawls. Not much bad about that, and we were feeling pretty good about Alex and the droogs keeping the woman from being raped, so, not much complaint.
Then there was the (3) assault and the rape scene at HOME. What did we see? We saw the writer kicked to the ground and the woman held while her clothing was cut off. She was then raped, but not on screen. We saw her face reacting to the rape, but we didn't see the rape, Alex wasn't even in the shot. What we did see was some nudity. Were people excessively upset about the woman's nudity? Or was it Alex dropping his pants, before the rape, our getting a brief shot of his balls, and his getting right up in the camera's face (the writer's) and telling him (and the audience) to "Viddy well."
Then the next violent scene (4) was Dim having his hand slashed with the knife, but, again, I doubt the audience was too upset about that, Dim being a bad guy and all.
Now we have (5) the murder of the Cat Woman after the dance between she and Alex with the giant phallus. We don't see her being even struck. There is no blood. There is instead the painting of the mouth shown--actually, a montage of paintings--replacing her being struck. The assault on Alex with the milk bottle is more violent, really. We see it striking the side of his face. But no one's going to be concerned about that violence.
Perhaps what had people so upset was the association of the phallus with violence and sex. The codpieces accentuating the phallus. Alex's penis being almost viewed several times, but always shielded in some way. Then finally this giant phallus dancing all over the screen for an extended period of time, combined with the feeling of something violent having taken place on screen (the woman being struck in the mouth) when it hadn't. Kubrick builds the threat and anticipation of violence so well, involving not just the eyes but the ears, that one feels more violence has occurred on screen than what has taken place. Only later, on careful watching, do you realize that indeed what you have watched is all a kind of choreographed dance.
So many overtures are used in A Clockwork Orange. Why? From best I can gather the word "overture" is related both to "aperture" and to "operio". Aperture is an opening. Operio means quite a different thing: to cover over something, hide, conceal, also to atone for (as in a sin) and to cause to be forgotten.
Seemed a good thing to throw in as food for thought, as the essential redemptive element of blood in religion, introduced even at the very opening of the film with the Funeral Music for Queen Mary.
Spare Thy people
whom Thou hast redeem'd
with Thy most precious blood,
and be not angry with us for ever.
Spare us, good Lord.
With a bit of word play one may even find the idea cropping up in the eyeballs on Alex's shirt cuffs, ChPhH in Hebrew meaning to cover, to veil. An orthographical variation means to cover in a sinister sense, acting covertly and in secret. ChPh itself means pure, innocent, again deriving from the idea of being covered.
Thus do those prominently displayed bloody eyeballs on Alex's shirt cuffs disappear when he is in police custody.
At least this is an idea I've returned to over and over again as, over the years, I've wondered about Kubrick's sometimes emphasis of the cuffs of shirts in a peculiar manner. We will encounter this again in the Prison Governor's office.