“At the movies, we are gradually being conditioned to accept violence as a sensual pleasure,” Pauline Kael wrote in her January 1972 review of A Clockwork Orange in The New Yorker. Her piece was a cast-iron pan to the head of Stanley Kubrick’s widely acclaimed adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novel, a thunderously disparaging review that helped to establish the terms of the debate around a modern classic. Kael was surely not averse to stylized renditions of violence; two of her most influential, and generous, reviews were of Bonnie and Clyde and The Wild Bunch, both of which concluded with orgiastic, virtuoso shoot-outs. Their directors, Arthur Penn and Sam Peckinpah, had a shared tactic of humanizing their outlaw protagonists and then having them torn apart by bullets, which offered a modern gloss on the visual language and ethos of ancient one-reelers like The Great Train Robbery, indicating in the...
To read this article, you must buy the issue or have LRC Web Full-Text Access.
If you already have Web Full-Text Access to Literary Review of Canada content, please log in with one of the two options below.
If not, sign up today!
- Not already an LRC subscriber? Subscribe today, and be sure to select either the “DIGITAL” or “PRINT and DIGITAL” option. You’ll then be entitled to read this — and other magazine content from past and current issues — in full! (Note: Web Full-Text Access will take effect the following business day.)
- Already a subscriber to the LRC‘s Print edition, but haven’t yet signed up for Web Full-Text Access? Contact us and we’ll reply right away with instructions on how to upgrade your existing subscription.
Log In Option 1
Log In Option 2
* Subscribers who have chosen to receive both the LRC‘s print and digital editions can find their subscriber number in the address area of any recent printed copy cover, above their name; it is six digits long, immediately following “LRC.”