What does this have to do with a clockwork or the color orange?

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.


2 thoughts on “What does this have to do with a clockwork or the color orange?

  1. I was actually watching a documentary with Malcolm McDowell the star of the movie and he said that Anthony Burgess the author of the novel, came up with the title in a pub in the east end of London, when a working man came into the pub and used the expression ” He is as queer as a clockwork orange”. He found the name to be catchy that was pretty much the only reason it was called that. I suppose thats the beauty of it its just random and has a nice zing! Fun fact Kubrick was actually debating whether to change the name of the film to the “Ludovico Treatment” but in the end he stuck with the infamous enigmatic dystopian A Clockwork Orange.
    P.S: Yarbles

  2. I do agree with your analysis on the role of “Singing in the Rain” throughout the film. The “hardship” that Alex goes through also entails more of society’s expectations, which can be seen as an oppressive force, confining and even distorting/twisting his natural state. After a certain point, society completely eclipses and destroys Alex’s essence and inherent choice of being, which can be seen as a flaw in the workings of society, despite the fact that Alex’s essence is seen by most as truly disturbing and corrupt.

    “Singing in the Rain” is essentially a manifestation of Alex’s defiance of society’s moral norms and values, and it also brings into perspective a question concerning the core of morality itself, and how that core is portrayed through the storytelling of the film. It creates a dilemma – does morality have to do with adhering to what most members of society consider to be morally correct, or does it have to do with the individual’s ability to self-realize himself/herself and to act on their own realizations?

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