A soft-spoken and calm actor, Malcolm McDowell is famous for playing the role of Alex DeLarge, a well respected, clean cut member of his community that robbed, raped and beat up people with his lovely gang of friends.
We all know Malcolm McDowell for his portrayal of Batshit Crazy Sociopath of the Year Alex DeLarge in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. And the role he's pretty much famous for. Seriously. Ask anyone to list his filmography and that's the first movie you're going to hear, if the person has even heard of McDowell in the first goddamned place. But while McDowell seems to have taken a backseat as the Ralph Macchio of the 70's, one who's career has been given a jumpstart by a breakthrough role and has died just as fast, he has actually starred in a number of films that we actually know and/or care about, but surprisingly haven't noticed him at all, mainly because he started acting in well-known movies at least 20 years after A Clockwork Orange and time, you know, has a habit of making you look old and wrinkly.
Just in case you had your doubts
You might've seen some of the films, and pointed excitedly yelling, "It's Malcolm McDowell, from a Clockwork Orange" and beam while everybody showers you with applause over how well-informed you are about Cinema and Pop-Culture (The applause part is what most of you imagine anyways)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
His claim to fame. Based on the book by Anthony Burgess which prominently featured a slang called Nadsat which made the book twice as long to read and twice as long to interpret, McDowell plays sociopath Alex DeLarge in a post-apocalyptic 1996 Britain (which turned out to be as accurate of a future as 2001: A Space Odyssey, although the popularity of the Backstreet Boys seems to say otherwise) who goes around raping and beating the homeless and the high-class with his gang of Droogs (friends). Oh, and their gang uniforms include a cod-piece or, as they called it, the old jelly-mold. Anyways, Alex, as the leader, angers his gang, they betray him, and he is incarcerated . In prison, he receives the Ludovico Treatment, where he is exposed for prolonged hours to extreme violence on film and, we're assuming, Michael Bay movies. The treatment takes away his ability to commit any act of violence, including self-defence. The film was critically lauded for the themes it had, and for it's messages, "Violence is bad" amongst others.
One of it's messages were "Why a codpiece is a stupid fucking idea"
Star Trek Generations (1994)
Statistics show that a whopping 5% of Cracked Readers are Trekkies (or Trekkers, but does anyone else give a shit ?). And by statistics, I mean pulling numbers out my ass for the sake of seeming well-informed and intelligent. Irregardless, this is one of the first movies that most of know about that stars McDowell from his more than 20-year gap of acting in popular movies. He plays a batshit insane (again !) El-Aurian refugee Dr. Sorian. Sorian was also responsible for the death of Captain Kirk when he tried launching a missile and Kirk attempted to stop him or something. It made $118 million at the box-office, and that's the only fact about this movie you'd probably care about anyways.
He's probably like this, but with some wacky space alien costume. And maybe a bit more creepy
Superman: The Animated Series (1997)
Played Metallo in six episodes. It's kind of ironic that an actor like McDowell who is full of expression and emotion plays a robot (or cyborg for you nitpicking assholes). That would kinda be like Keanu Reeves playing a crazy stoner.
South Park (Episode: Pip) (2000)
McDowell plays, quite literally, "A British Person", who narrates the spoof of the bane of every high school student's existence, Charles Dicken's Great Expectations. However, quash your own Great Expectations, McDowell fans (ha ha, puns), because McDowell is only seen introducing and concluding the episode.
I Spy (2002)
There was a glut of bad remakes from the early to mid 2000's, and this film was part of that bullshit, being a 'reimagining" of the I Spy television shows of the 1960's. Robert Culp's character is played by the ever so placed Owen Wilson, and some annoying loudmouth (Eddie Murphy) fills in for Bill Cosby. McDowell plays the role of Arnold Gundars, the main villain of the film who steals a high tech military plane to sell it to the highest bidder, which turns out to be China (Shock !) (WARINING: SPOLIER ALERT !). The plot is remarkably tame compared to the Bond movies I've seen, which is bad, because, after all, the film is SUPPOSED to be a SPY-FI movie. Atleast this was the only shitty remake of a TV show about spies from the 60's
Oh shit. I think I'll keep my mouth shut.
Yet another awful fucking remake/reimagining. McDowell plays Dr. Sam Loomis, Michael Myer's doctor. Apparently, McDowell's performance was the only good thing to emerge from this shit-swamp, with critics acclaiming his performance, which might feel a little weird considering the number of insane fucking psychopaths he's played, his role of a placid hero in an otherwise shit movie being acclaimed feels a bit ironic. Atleast we know that Donald Plesance isn't rolling in his grave about a character he was well known for playing being miscast and sacrilegiously pissed on.
Also, my other complaint is that they should've updated the William Shatner mask with the 300 extra pounds he gained since 1979
This movie about zombies and medieval knights and castles and whatever the fuck else it tried to cram in starred McDowell as a King in a medieval castle in a world full of zombies. Wrap your head around that without actually watching it.
How people who did and did not see the movie felt after trying to make to make sense of it all
Fallout 3 (2008)
In everybody's favourite post-nuclear apocalyptic simulator, he plays the voice of President John Henry Eden, who turns out to be an AI computer (WARNING: SPOLIER ALERT!). A foreigner playing a U.S president? Blasphemy!
Im above making that joke
A Disney/Pixar movie about a dog starring in a TV show having deslusions that he's actually the hero. It's cast was diverse, including an insane cultist who's having delusions about intergalactic space wars and a retard teen pop girl amongst others. McDowell is the evil Doctor/Villlian of the show within the movie. And not much else. Overall, the movie was okay as a kiddie flick. It gets a rating of 3 1/2 Xenus out of 5.
...seems to be vaguely going in the right direction. McDowell has already starred in the sequel to the Halloween remake still directed by Zob Rombie coming out later this month. His performance will probably once again be the saving grace of the film if it turns out as bad as the previous one. (Hint: It might) His future projects include the comedy Easy A starring airheads Amanda Bynes and Emma Stone which seems like a sure-fire Oscar winner and The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington as the Eli, Guardian of the book of Eli, which holds the key to mankind's morality in the post-apocalyptic world he live in. Granted, McDowell's role isn't major, but the flick might be closer to a Fallout 3 movie than anything. But considering the pattern of how prominent the films McDowell stars in are, we probably won't be seeing him for 3 or 4 years in the limelight.
This image can pretty much sum up the future of McDowell's career
Malcolm McDowell on Letterman
McDowell talks about his experience in A Clockwork Orange