Such is the poisonous brilliance of the use of music in Stanley Kubrick's film version of A Clockwork Orange that it is often difficult after seeing the film even once to separate those musical selections from "a bit of the old ultraviolence." Beethoven's Ninth Symphony suffers in this regard on screen as it does in the novel, and "Singin' in the Rain" has never been quite the same since accompanying the late night "surprise visit" of Alex and his droogies. But perhaps no composer takes more of a beating, so to speak, than poor ol' Gioacchino Rossini, whose opera overtures are twice used by Kubrick to accompany deplorable antisocial behavior: The overture to Guillaume Tell, already shackled for all time to The Lone Ranger, accompanies the absurd high-speed multi-participant sex scene that singlehandedly earns the film its original MPAA rating of "X", while the lovely, crinkly frontispiece to La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie) accompanies a full-on brawl in an abandoned casino, with yet another unclad young woman as the point of contention.
Now, the good citizens at the Sony corporation have provided an antidote for the last of these examples, using the Magpie overture as accompaniment to the latest advertisement for their Bravia flat screen television. Bravia ads tend to go happily viral once unleashed on the internet: this new one follows on the heels of the Jose Gonzalez/Bouncing Balls ad to which I pointed late last year, and features the high intensity paint bombardment of a Glaswegian housing block. A clown is also implicated. Here is a YouTube version:
While it makes videos of this sort easy to embed, YouTube's low fidelity does not begin to do the thing justice. Fortunately for those with the time and the bandwidth, Sony has made high, higher and highest quality Quicktime versions available for streaming or download here, accompanied by a behind-the-scenes short, a game, and sundry other gewgaws and gimcracks including, yes, a link to the aforementioned Bouncing Balls.
These Bravia spots are the latest in a long line of advertisements for color televisions -- Texas Instruments' peculiar ads with the little girl and the elephant work similarly -- that use stunning sights to impress the viewer with the capabilities of the advertiser's set. (Am I showing my age? Does anyone call it a "television set" any more?) Media eons ago, when television was making the transition from black and white to color, it made sense to emphasize that mucky muddy black and white visuals looked bad because they were actually meant to be viewed in color, so that one could take it on faith that the upgrade to a color set would produce a vast improvement. That logic no longer holds: the technical skills that are brought to bear in these commercials assure that the sights will look Really Good on the set (or computer monitor) on which the viewer is already
watching them, so they don't really serve to persuade the viewer that those same sights would look So Much Better if only one were watching them on a
Sony Bravia or a Texas Instruments DLP or whatever. Whether these spots actually sell televisions is a mystery to me. They do make for a nice distraction, though, and this one may wash memories of A Clockwork Orange right out of your Rossini-drenched and paint-bespattered head.