CAT OF THE DAY 040: A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971)
Meet Miriam Karlin as Catlady, doing her yoga exercises in a baggy green leotard (this was in the days before Spandex), surrounded by her feline familiars.
She is, of course, doomed. One of the reasons I don’t much care for the films of Stanley Kubrick is his contempt for the female characters, never so obvious as in his film of Anthony Burgess’s novel, where they’re ridiculed, raped and killed. I’m aware that Alex and his droogs have no respect for women, but did their director need to share their misogyny? If you ask me, he enjoyed filming the rape of Mrs Alexander just a little bit too much.
And Catlady gets short shrift. In the book, she’s an old woman. In the film, she’s a fleetingly glimpsed caricature of privileged wealth who lives on her own, surrounded by erotic art, and Alex kills her with a giant phallic sculpture. And who cares? We’re certainly not meant to. She’s just a disposable plot device.
I was going to say that it’s obvious Kubrick is not a cat lover (otherwise we would have had shots of the cats doing cute things, or defending their mistress, the way they do in the book) but then I googled “Stanley Kubrick” and “cats” and immediately found this.
So you never can tell. More pictures here.
- A Clockwork Orange (theliteraryplatform.com)
- Miriam Karlin on working with cats and Kubrick (Guardian.co.uk)
- The Top Ten Wallpaper Movies (multiglom.wordpress.com)
I’m glad he’s a cat lover, at least!
Yes, and a funny old looking calico cat, at that!
More info re: Kubrick’s cats. They drank the finest Evian water from the Spode China!
The article is a bit long, but fascinating. The cat (and dog) stories are about halfway through.
He apparently had lots and lots of cats and dogs in his big house, making quite like the Cat Lady. In fact, she and Mr Alexander are the characters who obviously resemble Kubrick most in that film, just as Burgess obviously identified with Mr A (described as “The author of A Clockwork Orange”). Which is psychologically kind of interesting.
Should read “making HIM quite like the Cat Lady.”
“When Stanley became convinced that the birds in the manor house grounds were starving, said Emilio, he took to throwing whole loaves of bread out of the windows.” Great link, thank you neilfc. “You do not use the spode, Stanley!” Love it.
I suspect Kubrick had a cat-like feeling of superiority about mere humans so he had a sense of recognition with the species. Burgess’ novel was a lynchpin for me, opening my young head. As a wee child long before I read it the trailer for the film fascinated me and I wanted to see it. Of course I think it was rated X initially so there were issues…