We’re usually taught to respect our elders; but there have been plenty of characters in film who never quite got that memo. There’s been a long and proud tradition in movies of elderly abuse and bad doings being transgressed on the 4:30 dinner crowd. This is the generation that did things like survived the Great Depression, fought the Nazis and the Reds, raised our parents and all too often us. One would think they’d earned a bit of consideration for things like guaranteed Social Security, adult diapers that don’t leak and generally not getting the shit beat out of them or snuffed like some third rate extra. In this CHUD list, we’re going to take a look at 15 old-timers who, unfortunately, turned into having-a-really-bad-timers.
The Film: A Clockwork Orange (1971)
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The Director: Stanley Kubrick
The Elder: Tramp (Paul Farrell)
‘Tramp’ is an elderly Irish vagrant living on the mean streets of dystopian near-future London. His backstory is unknown, but his views on the present state of the world, and the younger generations, are plainly stated for us: “It’s a stinking world because there’s no law and order anymore! It’s a stinking world because it lets the young get on to the old, like you done. Oh, it’s no world for an old man any longer. What sort of a world is it at all? Men on the moon, and men spinning around the earth, and there’s not no attention paid to earthly law and order no more.” He clearly likes booze, based on the number of bottles surrounding him. And he is eager for some loose change, or as he calls it “cutter,” presumably so he can purchase more booze.
The Abuse: Savage four-on-one beatdown.
While minding his own business, drunkenly chillaxin’ and singing an Irish tune about a girl named Molly Malone, the Tramp is happened upon by a group from the younger generation that he so bitterly dislikes — who proceed to beat the ever-loving shit out of him purely for the sport of it.
Lack Of Respect By:
Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell), and his droogs, Pete (Michael Tarn), Georgie (James Marcus), and Dim (Warren Clarke). Alex and his gang of thugs spent the night at a milk bar getting jacked up on ‘drencrom milk-plus,’ which has sharpened them up and gotten them ready for “a bit of the old ultra-violence.” Alex has some very specific attitudes on the elderly, that immediately sets him at odds with the Tramp. “One thing I could never stand was to see a filthy, dirty old drunkie, howling away at the filthy songs of his fathers and going blurp blurp in between as it might be a filthy old orchestra in his stinking, rotten guts. I could never stand to see anyone like that, whatever his age might be, but more especially when he was real old like this one was.”
Did they have it coming? From Alex’s perspective, clearly, but objectively speaking, no. The Tramp wasn’t hurting anyone and Alex sought him out specifically looking for someone to hurt. Plus, the Tramp has a pleasant pub-style singing voice with a fine Irish lilt. He should have been given some “cutter” in exchange for a tune, which he surely would’ve be more than happy to provide.
Could the AARP Have Helped? Yes. A man of his age should be in a home somewhere if he has no one to take care of him.
If nature had taken its course? He would have probably blacked out and awoken with a similarly aching head, but no broken ribs.
I see this lowly tramp’s tale as one of triumphant vengeance, for all senior citizens, against the hate crimes of the young. The movie brilliantly climaxes an hour and thirty-eight minutes in when the tramp and his other elderly homeless compatriots get vengeance on that mean young man. I am not sure why the movie continues for another half hour or so. Peculiar epilogue, if you ask me.