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Alex (A Clockwork Orange)

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Alex DeLarge (last name in movie only) is the main character of the book and movie A Clockwork Orange, originally written by Anthony Burgess and the film version directed by Stanley Kubrick.

He was portrayed by Malcolm McDowell in the film.

Biography

Alex is an eccentric teenage psychopath living in a near-future dystopia who roams the streets with his friends causing general violence and destruction. Alex is recognizable by his distinctive white outfit, black top hat and eye makeup. He is also a fan of classical music.

A few of Alex's crimes in the novel that aren't depicted in the film include him getting two 10 year old girls drunk and then subjecting them to rape.

One day, after an argument with his cronies, Alex ends up killing an old lady in her home with a giant ceramic penis and is arrested for murder. In prison, Alex is volunteered for a government experiment intended to "cure" psychopaths such as himself. The experiment, known as the "Ludovico technique", consists of Alex being strapped to a chair with his eyelids being held open while drugged, and being forced to watch a series of extremely disturbing film images which, when shown in combination with the drugs, traumatize Alex and make him hypersensitive to the type of violence and mayhem he used to enjoy, to the point that he can become physically ill just by thinking about it. Alex is still evil, but is now harmless because he can't act on any of his impulses without hurting himself. However, it turns out the treatment worked too well, as Alex can't act up even when he needs to defend himself, and ends up being beaten up by some of his previous victims as revenge.

Eventually, Alex tries to kill himself, but survives and wakes up in a hospital where he realizes that the effects of the Ludovico treatment are starting to wear off. In the movie, the story ends right here, with the implication being that Alex can now go back to his evil old ways, but in the original book there is one last chapter where it is revealed that Alex has eventually gotten tired of being a sociopath on his own and wanting to start living a normal life. This last chapter was actually removed from some versions of the book because they thought people would find the ending where Alex simply stops being evil, boring.

Trivia

  • The Nostalgia Critic put Alex in his top 11 Scariest Performances, on number 7.
  • In the movie, Alex sings "Singin' in the Rain" as he is harassing a couple. The singing was an improvisation on Malcom McDowell's part.
  • Some fans have theorized that within the movie adaptation, Alex is in fact faking being "cured"-one of the reasons being due to the fact that at some point after his treatment, he sings "Singin' in the Rain". This makes no sense given Alex cannot think of or commit anything associated with violence as it makes him ill, yet the last time he sang that song, he was beating an old man and raping his wife. One may argue that this was a film mistake, but given Kubrick's attention to detail and the fact that he often included hidden meanings his films, it's unlikely.

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