A Clockwork Orange (Film)

A Clockwork Orange (Film) Summary and Analysis of Chapter 25: Family Reunion - Chapter 30: Mr. Alexander's hospitality


A peppy tune plays inside Alex's parents gold-walled flat. Alex walks in the front door with a big smile on his face. In the living room, Alex's Mum, Dad, and a strange man are reading newspapers whose headlines announce, "Cat-Woman Killer Alex Freed". They are surprised to see Alex, who enthusiastically exclaims that he is completely reformed. He then leans menacingly over his Dad and asks about the strange man sitting on the sofa, who, he is told, is Joe, the DeLarges' lodger. Alex stands over Joe, who is not afraid of him. Joe looks Alex in the eyes and accuses him of making his parents' lives miserable. Joe claims to be more of a son than a lodger, and Alex raises a fist to strike him - but then the sickness comes, crippling him.

Dad tells Alex that the police took all his things away as compensation for his victims, and that Basil, his snake, has died. Alex's parents don't want to kick Joe out, as he has already paid the next month's rent. Alex clutches his paper parcel of belongings, crying, while Joe pushes the sword in further - telling Dad and Mum that he could never leave them alone with Alex, the monster. Mum starts bawling and Joe hugs her, making it clear that he is not going anywhere. Alex stands and leaves the house - he's now homeless.

Alex walks along the marina, distressed. The camera tracks in close to his face as he stares into the water. Suddenly, a beggar appears and asks Alex for some change - and Alex recognizes him as the tramp he had beaten up with his droogs long ago. He gives the man some change, but then, the tramp recognizes Alex as well. Alex starts to feel ill, but the tramp comes after him and announces to a group of tramps under the bridge that Alex is the man who beat and humiliated him. The tramps descend upon Alex, clawing at him - and he cannot do anything about it.

Two cops come and break up the mob, rescuing Alex. Alex looks up at the cops' faces and terror fills his eyes - it is Dim and Georgie. Cut to a police van driving along a country road. Dim and Georgie pull Alex out and walk him into the woods. Alex tries to tell him that he has been cured, but they just keep laughing. They bring him to a trough full of dirty water and force his head inside while clubbing him, to make sure he "stays cured".

Cut to lightning striking across the night sky. Alex, miserable, trudges through the rain, looking for a Home. He sees a lit sign bearing that very word and stumbles towards a remote house, not realizing that he has been there before. Inside the house, Mr. Alexander is at the same typewriter, in front of the same bookshelf - surrounded by the newspapers announcing Alex's treatment and release. The doorbell rings, and Mr. Alexander looks over at his scantily clad male bodyguard, Julian, lifting weights in the same place where Mrs. Alexander used to sit. Julian goes to answer the door and Alex, barely able to speak, tumbles inside. Julian lifts him up and carries him into the living room. Mr. Alexander, who is now confined to a wheelchair, does not recognize Alex although Alex recognizes him.

Alex tells Mr. Alexander that the police beat him up. Mr. Alexander finally recognizes Alex as the "victim" of the horrible Ludovico treatment that he's been reading about in the paper. He calls Alex's arrival "providence" and tells Julian to draw Alex a bath. Cut to Alex sitting in the bath, relaxing. He starts to hum the first few notes of "Singin' in the Rain".

Downstairs, Mr. Alexander is on the phone, excitedly telling the person on the other end that Alex can be a political weapon against the government's new policies on crime. He also establishes his left-wing point of view. However, after Mr. Alexander hangs up, he hears Alex's singing voice coming from the bathroom. He wheels himself over to the door and listens intently - cut inside to see Alex, washcloth over his face, singing away - and then to a low angle, distorted shot of Mr. Alexander, holding his knees, looking like he is having a seizure. He obviously realizes who Alex is now.

Cut to the dining room, where Alex sits alone, eating a plate of spaghetti. He stands and greets Mr. Alexander as Julian carries his wheelchair down the stairs. Mr. Alexander's demeanor has changed noticeably - his face is beet red as he stares Alex down. Julian sits on the opposite side of Alex, with a stern expression on his face. Mr. Alexander's voice is tortured as he pours Alex glass after glass of wine. Mr. Alexander tells Alex about his wife - who is dead. Mr. Alexander spits out the words: she was viciously raped during an assault and believes she died from injuries (physical and mental) sustained that night.

Mr. Alexander has invited some of his important friends over, people who are interested in Alex. Alex feels like something is off and nervously tries to leave but Mr. Alexander won't allow it. Mr. Alexander's friends, credited as "Conspirators", arrive and ask Alex about his encounter with the police - they claim to want to help him. The female conspirator asks Alex a series of questions about his treatment and takes notes while Mr. Alexander glowers in the background. Alex tells the female conspirator that hearing Beethoven's 9th makes him want to kill himself, and that he constantly feels like something terrible is going to happen to him. With that, Alex falls face-first into his spaghetti, asleep.

Cut to a close up of Alex's sleeping face. He wakes up on a twin bed in an unfamiliar room, dressed in his own suit. He feels horrible - and realizes that the 9th Symphony is playing loudly downstairs. Alex is locked in an upstairs bedroom in Mr. Alexander's house. Cut to Mr. Alexander, sitting a floor below, looking up towards Alex's room with a mixture of anger, pain, and satisfaction. The Conspirators stand on either side of him, and the camera pulls back to reveal a massive sound system with speakers pointed right upstairs, playing the 9th. Alex continues to pound his head into the floor, going mad with pain. He looks at the open window and proclaims in voice over that he is ready to "snuff it". Cut outside to a low angle shot as Alex leaps to the ground.


In this section of the film, Alex is forced to face the victims of his crimes, and becomes a victim himself - of a totalitarian government trying to exercise too much control over its citizens. Kubrick uses his cinematic toolkit to make sure the viewer sympathizes with Alex's plight. When Alex stares longingly into the water, weeping, after being kicked out of his house, we stare with him. When the tramp and his cronies attack Alex, we feel the weight of their bodies. And when Mr. Alexander slips Alex a sedative in his wine and Alex blacks out - so do we - only to wake up with Alex, who is locked in a room in Alexander's house, being forced to listen to Beethoven's 9th at top volume. Hollis Alpert wrote in his 1971 Review of the film for The Saturday Review: "what is done to Alex by the state is a good deal more horrific than what Alex does to others".

While these cinematic choices keep in line with Kubrick's desire to tell this story from Alex's point of view (he actually threw the camera out the window to get the shot of Alex's suicide attempt at Mr. Alexander's home), detractors like Pauline Kael found his technique to be manipulative, stating the exact opposite of Alpert's opinion. She writes, "Kubrick pours on the hearts and flowers; what is done to Alex is far worse than what Alex has done, so society itself can be felt to justify Alex's hoodlumism". However, it could also be that Kubrick intended to frame Alex's suicide attempt to represent the idea that a life without choice is not worth living. Kubrick himself said that the central question of the film is "Do we lose our humanity if we are deprived of the choice between good and evil?" (Ciment 149).

The choice of the song 'Singin' in the Rain' as one of the film's central musical themes is an homage to the great 1952 film starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. Singin' in the Rain itself is a celebration of Hollywood tradition, as it tells the story of two actors falling in love during the time when Hollywood first introduced "talking pictures". Kubrick's use of 'Singin' in the Rain' in A Clockwork Orange is then certainly a self-reflective nod to the Hollywood tradition, and in line with Robert Kolker's belief that A Clockwork Orange forces its audience to examine our own relationship with the movies.

Finally, this section of the film continues Kubrick's unfavorable depiction of the police, who are representatives of the totalitarian-leaning government. The police that interrogate Alex after he kills Cat Lady are brutal and unlawful. The Chief Guard in the prison is comical in his aggression and Hitler-esque in his appearance. The final two cops in the film are none other than Dim and Georgie - criminals who have found a sanctioned outlet for their violent behavior. However, it seems that all that has changed about them is that they are on the opposite side of the law - and they abuse their newfound power.

After rescuing Alex from an angry group of tramps, Dim and Georgie try to drown their former friend and leader, so that he will "Stay cured". This turn of events seems to say when the world is corrupt and depraved, its citizens have no choice but to follow suit. Those who are meant to protect, like the police, Mr. Deltoid, and even the Minister of the Interior, are often just as rotten as the evil they are supposedly trying to ward off. Kubrick shared the opinion of a psychiatrist who said, "Alex represents the unconscious: man in his natural state. After he is given the Ludovico [cure] he has been civilized, and the sickness that follows may be viewed as the neurosis imposed by society" (Ciment 149).