The sound in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was awe-inspiring. There were many musical motifs used throughout the movie—the most memorable to me being Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and the song “Singing in the Rain.”
I want to talk more about “Singing in the Rain” because I feel as though there is a deeper meaning behind that song choice than is first apparent in the movie. “Singing in the Rain” (in my opinion) is a song about trials and tribulations, hard times, and adversity. Rain is a metaphor for hardship, and when Alex sings this song, he is figuratively saying that he is facing hardship head-on with a smile on his face. My favourite part of the song is not included in the film, but it goes as follows, “Come on with the rain, I’ve a smile on my face.” It is clear to see that the rain is an unwanted factor in the singer’s life, and he is boldly conquering it with a smile on his face.
So how does this relate to A Clockwork Orange? Alex’s home life and upbringing are mentioned very little in the film, but it is clear to see that Alex is a sociopath (disregards others’ rights, poor moral sense, aggressive behaviour) and thus is very troubled in his mind. Society and his parents wants him to be one way, but he is naturally inclined to act out and be violent. “Singing in the Rain” seems to be the perfect song for Alex to sing because he is facing society head-on with a smile on his face by doing what he wants to do (rape, be violent, steal, vandalize) with no regard to society’s desires, laws, or opinions of his actions. It’s amazing how the author or director—whoever chose this song—took such a happy little song and turned it into something so dark and disturbing. It was a really powerful and creative thing to do.
The song occurs a second time in the movie—near the end when Alex returns to the writer’s house. This time the adversity he sings of could be many things: society’s desire to hate him for everything he has done, his desire to kill himself, the horrible lasting effects of his “cure,” etc. The fact that Alex is singing this song gives the viewers hope that he will persevere to the very end.
I think if one analyzes the song in this way, one can begin to sympathize with Alex and view him as likeable and relatable rather than despicable, which is very disturbing considering Alex’s actions.
Oh, Stanley, you are a messing with my mind.