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Written by / 8/09/2014 / 1 Comment / , , , ,

ACTRESS PAULINE TAYLOR RECALLS A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

Malcolm McDowell & Pauline Taylor
“He was one of those people,” actress Pauline Taylor describes Stanley Kubrick, the director of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, “that when he came into the room you knew he was there, straightaway.”

Famous Artwork
And a similar mesmerizing aura could describe Kubrick's work, especially A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, the groundbreaking, ultra-violent motion picture that has gained an immense cult following and still, after over forty years, remains a controversial phenomenon, and then some. Based on a novel by Anthony Burgess and scripted by Kubrick, the story centers on a gang of young thugs running wild, led by Alex DeLarge. In this role, Malcolm McDowell creates such a vile monster within the first half, when you begin feeling sorry for the character, it’s testament to a remarkable performance that, during the 11th hour of the film, turns surprisingly humorous when a hospital psychiatrist gives the recovering Alex a sort of Rorschach test, using cartoon slides instead of surreal ink blotches.

Actress Pauline Taylor provides a breath of fresh air as the subtle, even-keeled and quirky-cute Dr. Taylor (keeping her same last name), whose job is to make sure Alex's askew mind is back in working order.

Pauline Taylor
This Cult Film Freak inspired interview morphed into a wonderful video with Pauline, conducted in England by her personal friend, Andrew Stevens, covering her entire career...

And now, exclusive in written format along with photos of the scene, we'll center on her complete journey into one of the most controversial films of all time...

OH JOLLY GOOD: THE PAULINE TAYLOR INTERVIEW... with questions written & transcribed by James M. Tate

How did you get the part as the psychiatrist in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE?

My agent put me up for a reading, and I’m so dumb I thought it was another commercial… He was always setting me up for commercials…  And when they gave me a sheet of script… Two pages I think it was… I thought, ‘I don’t know what this is, but it isn’t a commercial.’

Thine Own McDowell Autograph inside Blu Ray Booklet
Was it an audition?

It was more like a screen test… You read in front of a screen… And afterwards, the casting director said to me, ‘Polly that was fine… We can’t tell you anything yet, because Kubrick’s out of the country.’ And I thought… I just stopped myself from saying… [excited tone], ‘Ooooooh….’ And I said [regains composure], ‘Oh yes, of course.’ Bligh me…

I hadn’t realized it was important until that point. Anyway, then I was told I got the part, and they sent me a script, and I had to do lines: there was a male psychiatrist and a female one…

And the night before we were going to film it… I think film people are a bit dodgy sometimes… They rang me and said, ‘Well we’re terribly sorry, Ms. Taylor, but we decided to telescope the male and female psychiatrists into one person.’ I thought, ‘Oh well, they still have to pay me, I signed the contract.’ I thought they were cutting me, you see. And so he said, ‘Do you think you could possibly learn the male psychiatrist's lines overnight?’

Stanley Kubrick
I thought of all those years in Rep where I learned yonks and yonks of stuff… So I said, ‘I think I can just about manage that.’

And when I went in and we did the scene, Kubrick sort of looked down on the floor for a bit. And then he looked at us… Very bright eyes that man had… And he said, ‘Pretty dull scene.’ Well I agreed with him. It was.

So we spent a couple of days, really, Malcolm McDowell and myself… Improvising the scene until we'd virtually written her… A scene… And that’s the one we did… And as I was being paid by the day, I was very pleased… I thought, ‘Good, I can have some nice winter boots, which I need… Which I did  get!’

Malcolm McDowell
How was it working with Malcolm McDowell?

I can’t say I got to know him very well because there wasn’t time to chat… And what he was doing required such enormous concentration… And me too…

Were there a lot of takes? 

Quite a few, I think… Yes, because he [Kubrick] kept changing his mind about what he wanted. It was fair enough; he was the boss.

Did you know about the content of the rest of the movie?

No I didn’t… And when I read the book, which of course I hurried to do… I didn’t understand it really… It took me ages to get the point of it…

Was there a big premiere screening?

Yes there was… And the guy who was my agent, at that time… He fainted from some of the violence… And had to be carted out… And oh, I can tell you a Kubrick story… Having seen that, practically, you know… I’d been talking to some of the cast and found that everyone was showing their ‘All’… I was terribly embarrassed, because I hadn’t got much of a bosom… and I thought, I’d be too embarrassed to say yes and too frightened to say no. And when it came to the point where… ‘You’re going to have a transparent dress…’ I said, ‘I’ve only got two little mosquito bites.' And he said, ‘Okay, you can have a proper dress.’ [claps hands] Thank God for that!
"I'm Dr. Taylor... I'm going to show you some slides, and you're going to tell me about them."
"Oh... Jolly good!"
"Cabbages, knickers, it's not got a beak."
"My mind is a blank... And I'll smash your face, for you, Yarblockos!"
"No time for the old in-and-out, love. I've just come to read the meter."
"You know what you can do with that watch? You can stick it up your ass!"
"Eggy wegs.. I would like... To smash 'em... And pick em all up... And thr... OWWWW!"
Pauline Taylor rolls along a signature Stanely Kubrick gliding shot in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
Click this link for the full 30 minute video interview of Pauline Taylor
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1 comment:

  1. Hello, Pauline! So glad yourself and Mr. McDowell reworked this scene until it came out as we see it in the film. One of the better parts in the latter half of the picture, surely. I crib your lines as much as possible/applicable in my work as a psychotherapist. Though I find I am constantly fighting the temptation to mimic your voice as I steal your words. This would not do, as I am an American male. My clients would simply not be up to it, poor dears. Thanks for, unknowingly, playing my Cyrano, Dr. Taylor : )

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