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September 15, 2011

Tim Burton’s ‘Clockwork Orange’ memory? Backseat vomit

Posted in: Movies

Malcolm McDowell in "A Clockwork Orange." (Warner Bros.)

Malcolm McDowell in "A Clockwork Orange." (Warner Bros.)

Sitting in the dark with “A Clockwork Orange” is a rite of passage for many moviegoers and young Tim Burton was no different.

“It looms quite large,” Burton said of Stanley Kubrick’s dark 1971 classic. “I remember I saw that movie at a drive-in on one of the first dates I ever had. It was a double bill of ‘Clockwork Orange’ and ‘Deliverance.’ My girlfriend got drunk, and I remember watching ‘Clockwork Orange’ and her throwing up the backseat while I just sat there and watched the movie.”

Tim Burton signs books at his LACMA exhibition on May 28, 2011. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the transgressive film that starred Malcolm McDowell. Friday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will screen “A Clockwork Orange” at a sold-out tribute to McDowell. (Hero Complex’s own Geoff Boucher will be interviewing the actor on stage before the screening.) The film was also feted at the Cannes Film Festival and was just released in a lavish new Blu-ray anniversary edition from Warner Home Video.

The influence of the film has been wide, especially on filmmakers such as Burton or Steven Spielberg. Earlier this year, while sitting for a reflective interview with The Times about the comprehensive exhibition that carries his name (and is on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through Halloween) the filmmaker said he remembered “Clockwork” as being an, um, hard-to-shake experience.

“I have a very strong memory of that,” Burton said. “I’ll never forget it.”

Burton is currently at work on two 2012 features — the stop-motion, feature-length update of his 1984 short “Frankenweenie” and “Dark Shadows,” the big screen saga of vampire Barnabas Collins (as played by consistent collaborator Johnny Depp). That, of course, is in addition to producing next year’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” the lavish historical fantasy that recasts the 16th president as a dealer of death to the fanged set.

– Gina McIntyre

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