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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    A Clockwork Malcolm

    By Kyle | October 26, 2007

    This week brings two Malcolm McDowell DVDs, each accompanied by his commentary track: the largely forgotten cult classic “O Lucky Man!” and “A Clockwork Orange.” On Monday the Post published my interview with him but here are some outtakes we didn’t have room for in the paper.

    Ever get tired of talking about “A Clockwork Orange”?

    When you make something that’s iconic you never get away from it. I’ve accepted it as part of who I am. It’s a great film.

    Kyle Smith: Were you upset that “Clockwork” was banned in Britain for many years?

    Malcolm McDowell: I really never understood quite why until [Kubrick’s widow] Christiane told me he and the family had got death threats so the police advised them to withdraw the film and when he said that it made a lot of sense. So the English audience couldn’t see it but it only added to the mystique of the thing so in a weird way when they finally could see it it became a hit again.

    Will you do another “Halloween”?

    I love [its director] Rob Zombie and had a great time shooting it. I very well may do it again. But the thing is, I’m not sure if I died in that one or not.

    You always seem to be enjoying yourself in your work.

    It’s a very serious business but I do try and enjoy myself because I think they want to see someone with a bit of a light behind the eyes. I love working, pretty much, on everything.

    How did Trekkies react when you killed Captain Kirk in “Star Trek: Generations”?

    The hardcore fans didn’t enjoy it very much. Even though there were a couple of half-hearted death threats on the Internet I think people do know it’s not reality. All I will say to them is, hey I killed Kirk so he could go off and be brilliant on “Boston Legal.”

    You collect cars, don’t you?

    I’ve only got two or three of them. I just got the cars I couldn’t drive when I was young because I didn’t have the money–like a Jaguar E-type and an a Morgan Supersport, which I love, and a Healy 1000M which is a beautiful car a replica of a LeMans car. I just like to take them out to the golf club.

    What’s your handicap?

    I’m not that good, about a twelve. I’ve broken 80 a few times. In fact the movie I’ve enjoyed shooting the most would be the one I made about Bobby Jones because I got to play so much golf at St. Andrews and all the great courses in Atlanta.

    Who are the best golfers you know?

    Hugh Grant is a great golfer. I’ve never played with Hugh but I know he’s about a 6. That’s out of my league. That’s pretty impressive. I think Sam Jackson is about a 7. I know Dennis Quaid’s a wonderful golfer. He must be in single digits.

    How do you remain a working actor for so many years?

    You just get less and less choosy. But you’re supposed to work. I’m lucky because, let’s face, it I’ve been doing it for over 40 years. It’s a long time to be employed. I’m amazed that it’s still going on. One minute you’re hot and the next you can’t get arrested. You have to accept it and not take anything too personally. Because rejection is not rejection of you as a person it’s just that times have moved on. I’ve been very lucky lately. I’ve had some terrific parts I’m in negotiation to do some great stuff. I don’t know whether it’s these shows I’ve been doing on TV or what it is.

    What is your dream role?

    It’s better never to fantasize about a role because you know damn well they’re going to ask Jack Nicholson to do it. Unless you’re offered it, it’s not real. I don’t want to become bitter about the business because I’ve heard it from other actors and it’s a big trap because then it becomes personal and it’s not. Even when you’re passed over, and inevitably you will be. Even Tom Cruise gets passed over.

    Do you miss England after living in California for so many years?

    Only occasionally. I miss Wimbledon, the test match at Lords. Other than that, no. That’s, again, not looking back. I’ve got two young children now, they’re 3 years and 9 months old– two boys. So that keeps me fairly on my toes.

    Topics: DVD, Movies | 3 Comments »

    3 Responses to “A Clockwork Malcolm”

    1. K Says:
      October 26th, 2007 at 3:21 pm

      Nice picture. You should have asked him about “If….” an undervalued, if surreal gem of the youth revolt genre.

    2. Tintin Says:
      October 26th, 2007 at 11:14 pm

      There was a made-for-HBO movie–can’t recall its name–in which Malcolm played a prisoner in a Russian prison camp (“Gulag,” perhaps?). Movie wasn’t much, but I always remember how affecting McDowell was in that. On-screen, he evokes sympathy very well. (And my theory on why he’s lasted: Nobody looks like this guy–a v. unique-looking individual. Sort of the “Christopher Walken effect”).

    3. steve adams Says:
      December 3rd, 2007 at 11:57 pm

      I loved Malcom in Heroes!!! Also that guest spot on LEXX, Giga Shadow !!
      And if anyone had to kill Kirk I’m glad it was Soran,
      Great work Malcom! Hats off to you!