Week 8

Sound and music played a big part in A Clockwork Orange. It added suspense, manipulated sense of time, and created a feeling of irony in certain scenes.

The song “Singin’ in the Rain” was very significant for obvious reasons. It was the song Alex sang right before he raped the old man’s wife. It showed just how crazy he was and how he felt absolutely no hesitation or remorse for the sexual crime he was about to commit. It also proved important later in the movie when Alex returned to the old man’s house. Lucky for Alex, the old man did not recognize him until he obliviously sang that song in the bathtub. Sound is connected to memory which makes it very useful in the movie making world.

I found it interesting that every time Alex had an internal monologue there was soft music in the background. This sound was, in a sense, extra-diagetic as it was only information available to the voice in Alex’s head and the audience. However, when Alex was having a conversation with his friends there was no music played at all. This put emphasis on the conversation and added some suspense.

Further proving that sound is connected to memory, after Alex received the treatment for counteracting his acts of sex and violence he was no longer able to listen to Beethoven’s 9th symphony. This is important because it is something that used to bring him joy and now it caused him thoughts of suicide. It proved how effective the treatment was because clearly he could not pretend to hate something he loved.

I did not realize how important sound is to a movie until viewing A Clockwork Orange. The director carefully planned what and when to play music or to have silence which is what made the movie so intriguing.

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One thought on “Week 8

  1. You made a good point that the sounds in the movie were so closely linked with memories. The memories associated with the songs were good and bad memories all at once, depending on the person and the point in time when they hear it. Singing in the Rain was a good memory to Alex. When he sang it in the bathtub, it expressed a sense of ease after his distressful experience after prison, which was almost reminiscent of his fun time beating the writer and raping his wife. The writer on the other hand, associated the song with that traumatic experience, so when he heard it the second time he freaked out just thinking back to the moment. Symphony No. 9 was Alex’s ultimate sense of joy, so when the minister played it for him with flowers and smiles, it brought him back to his happy, destructive days. In contrast, at the point in time when the writer played it to torture Alex, all Alex could think of was the Ludovic technique of associating the song with the Holocaust, so traumatic that it made him sick and suicidal.

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