The Beatles/Clockwork Orange
The Beatles/Clockwork Orange

The Beatles/Clockwork Orange
A rare signed petition protesting against the selection of David Hemmings over Mick Jagger for the lead role of Alex in A Clockwork Orange, circa 1967-1968, the five line typescript document on black bordered mourning paper addressed to screenwriter Terry Southern, telling him: We, The Undersigned, Do Hereby Protest With Extreme Vehemence As Well As Shattered Illusions (in You) The Preference Of Devid Hemmings Above ***** Mick Jagger ***** In The Role Of Alex In 'The Clockwork Orange, the document signed in black felt pen at the foot by Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr, the four Beatles' signatures above that of Anita Pallenberg, signed as Anita ("the heater") [Pallenberg's signature in ballpoint pen faded] and close to Donald Cammell's signature Don the Drom and his caricature of a camel; fourteen other signatures on the document include: Peter Blake, Jann Blake, Marianne Faithfull, James Fox, Robert Fraser who inscribed a comment HEAR! HEAR! and signed as Strawberry "Bob", David Cammell, Sandy Lieberson and Christian Marquard, 1p. -- 13x7in. (33x17.9cm.)
RICHARDSON, Perry interview in Blinds and Shutters, Genesis Publications, 1990
BURGESS, Anthony You've Had Your Time: Being the Second Part of the Confessions of Anthongy Burgess, London: William Heinemann Ltd. 1990, p.142
HOWARD, James The Stanley Kubrick Companion, London: B.T. Batsford, 1999, p.122

Lot Essay

According to screenwriter Terry Southern it was photographer Michael Cooper who first interested him in Anthony Burgess' futuristic novel A Clockwork Orange. It was also Cooper who was behind the petition in this lot. Southern said ...Michael turned me onto 'A Clockwork Orange' and so I took an option on the book and was going to write a screenplay. Then David Hemmings came out with 'Blow Up' and the agency said "We'll package this thing with David Hemmings because he's hot". Michael [Cooper] just freaked out and said "Mick Jagger has got to play this part". He drew up a letter edged in black which said: "We the undersigned hereby insist that Mick Jagger play the part". It was signed by all the Beatles, Marianne Faithfull and Robert Fraser...
Terry Southern's screenplay adaptation of Burgess' novel was rejected by the British Board of Film Censors in May 1967, the board declared that: ..any film of this script would not be shown in Britain.. It was at this point that Paramount, the studio backing Southern pulled out, and Southern gave the book to Kubrick who just put [the book] to one side and forgot about it for a year and a half....

Andrew Loog Oldham, the Rolling Stones' manager in the mid-sixties, was also keen to make a film of Burgess' book with the Stones playing the violent quartet led by the hero Alex, who was to be played by Mick Jagger. In his book The Stanley Kubrick Companion, author James Howard records that at one point, Andy Warhol and David Bailey co-owned the screen rights to the book [presumably Warhol and Bailey's interest in it post-dated that of Paramount and Southern], and had wanted to use the Rolling Stones ....a project which folded when the group reportedly 'demanded exhorbitant fees' and the rights were subsequently allowed to lapse. Stanley Kubrick, who had been given a copy of the book by Terry Southern during the filming of 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1967, eventually took the project on, but was put off by ...the reputation of decadence that Jagger already carried... and opted instead for Malcolm McDowell whose dynamic acting debut in Lindsay Anderson's 1968 film If... had impressed him.

The inclusion of so many names on this petition also associated with the film Performance suggest that its date is closer to 1968 when work first began on the film. Donald Cammell directed Performance with Nicolas Roeg and is also credited as the screenwriter. James Fox played one of the leading roles - Chas Devlin, and Anita Pallenberg played Pherber. Sandy Lieberson is credited as the film's producer. A number of those who have signed the document are also linked with another momentous artistic production of the late 1960s, The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band released in 1967. The Beatles' and Stones' mutual friend, art gallery owner Robert Fraser signed the petition, as did Peter Blake, designer of the ground-breaking Sgt.Pepper album cover, who was introduced to Epstein and EMI by Fraser. Photographer Michael Cooper who apparently devised the petition, also shot the Sgt. Pepper album cover.

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