New Year's Eve started with rehearsals on the 31st at the Korova Milk Bar and shooting finished after four continuous days on 8 January.
What our nightmares have accustomed us to see in dreams, Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange shows us in broad daylight. It is one of the most unsettling films in the whole of cinema.
Now it can be seen again, perhaps the nonsense talk that has surrounded Kubrick's adaptation of Anthony Burgess' dystopian novel will finally evaporate. From the controversy, you'd think the film was like, say, Romper Stomper (1992): a glamorisation of the violent lifestyle of its teenage protagonist, with a hypocritical gloss of condemnation to mask delight in rape and ultra-violence. Actually, it is resoundingly both fable-like and abstract.
A Clockwork Orange was a hit with American audiences, grossing more than $26 million on a conservative budget of $2.2 million, was critically acclaimed, and was nominated for several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture (losing to The French Connection). As of 5 September 2016[update], A Clockwork Orange holds a 90% "Certified Fresh" rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes based on 52 critics.
A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.
As the rapacious and monstrous Deltoid shamelessly paws at Alex, and even makes a forceful grab at Alex's crotch, he informs Alex that he suspects the boy's involvement in the "nastiness" of the previous evening and demands reform:
On the other side, the Minister of the Interior (the Government) jails Mr. Alexander (the Dissident Intellectual) on the excuse of his endangering Alex (the People), rather than the government's totalitarian regime (described by Mr. Alexander). It is unclear whether or not he has been harmed; however, the Minister tells Alex that the writer has been denied the ability to write and produce "subversive" material that is critical of the incumbent government and meant to provoke political unrest.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Stanley Kubrick’s films often place individuals in conflict with authority, but never to such controversial effect as in this adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s experimental 1962 novel. A Clockwork Orange stars Malcolm McDowell as Alex, an adolescent whose principal interests include rape, assault and Beethoven, and who is eventually subjected to extreme aversion therapy by the state.
"Recruiting brutal young roughs into the police; proposing debilitating and will-sapping techniques of conditioning. Oh, we've seen it all before in other countries; the thin end of the wedge! Before we know where we are, we shall have the full apparatus of totalitarianism."
A film chiefly about making us watch terrible things and recognising that we have made the choice to watch them. It's a dirty trick to play on a viewer, but a fair one.
The film's central moral question (as in many of Burgess' books) is the definition of "goodness" and whether it makes sense to use aversion therapy to stop immoral behaviour. Stanley Kubrick, writing in Saturday Review, described the film as:
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.
Tony’s character in ‘The Sopranos’ is another example of a criminal psychopath type undergoing years, in his case, of psychotherapy, and instead of changing for the better, simply becomes more effective at manipulation.
Based on the novel of the same name, the story of A Clockwork Orange is set in the future Britain and follows Alex DeLarge; a delinquent youngster who leads a small gang of thugs, and covers his crime spree with his droogs, his subsequent capture by the police & his time in prison where he learns of an experimental…
What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper. Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
The controversial film's title and other names in the film have meaning. The title alludes to:
Browse 120 years of Britain on Film. I want to…
McDowell was chosen for the role of Alex after Kubrick saw him in the film if.... (1968). He also helped Kubrick on the uniform of Alex's gang, when he showed Kubrick the cricket whites he had. Kubrick asked him to put the box (jockstrap) not under but on top of the costume.
Shooting began on 7 September 1970 with call sheet no. 1 at the Duke Of New York pub: an unused scene and unused location (the first of many). A few days later, shooting commenced in Alex's Ludovico treatment bedroom and the Serum 114 injection by Dr. Branom.
The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
The few scenes not shot on location were the Korova Milk Bar, the prison check-in area, Alex taking a bath at F. Alexander's house, and two corresponding scenes in the hallway. These sets were built at an old factory on Bullhead Road, Borehamwood, which also served as the production office. Seven call sheets are missing from the Stanley Kubrick Archive, so some locations, such as the hallway, cannot be confirmed.
The last scenes were shot in February 1971 ending with call sheet no. 113. The last main scene to be filmed was Alex's fight with Billy Boy's gang, taking six days to cover. Shooting encompassed a total of around 113 days over six months of fairly continuous shooting. As is normal practice, there was no attempt to shoot the script in chronological order.
The film's poster and tagline advertised its themes of violence in a police state, teen delinquency, technological control, and dehumanization:
"A social satire dealing with the question of whether behavioural psychology and psychological conditioning are dangerous new weapons for a totalitarian government to use to impose vast controls on its citizens and turn them into little more than robots."
The film’s bravura style, comprising modish interiors, Wendy Carlos’s electronic score and Burgess’s invented ‘Nadsat’ dialect, was overshadowed by its exuberantly realised sexual violence. Controversy led to the film’s withdrawal from British exhibition for over two decades. It remains a powerful essay on the pleasures and consequences of physical and psychological violence.
If pride of place must go to A Clockwork Orange, it is because this chilling and mesmeric adaptation of the Anthony Burgess novel could well become one of the seminal movies of the seventies.
I want to say Alex DeLarge is a nihilist, but I am wrong. More specifically, he is a misanthrope.…
Individual and group violence in the present day, keep this film relevant and full of wisdom. [Full review in Spanish]
Browse the fifth issue of BFI Filmmakers magazine I want to…
Originally rated X, A Clockwork Orange was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Screenplay, but was defeated in each category by William Friedkin's The French Connection (1971). It was one of only two movies rated X on its original release (the other was Midnight Cowboy (1969)) that was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award.
Similar to ACO in that sense, but in ACO it’s more a case of there being no technological solution to a spiritual problem, as Jay points out.
Meet Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) the relentless, Beethoven-loving gang leader…
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
There is no other director who can transfix the human condition with such galvanic images.
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Pee (father): I wonder, where exactly is it he goes to work of evenings? Em (mother): Well, like he says, it's mostly odd things he does, helping like, here and there as it might be.
Malcolm McDowell had played another rebellious adolescent in Lindsay Anderson’s If…. (1968). Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987) shows young men conditioned into violence, rather than out of it.
A mind shattering experience with its exaggerated violence and outrageous vulgarity.
Alex (voice-over): The Durango-95 purred away real horrorshow - a nice, warm, vibraty feeling all through your guttiwuts. Soon, it was trees and dark, my brothers, with real country dark. We fillied around for a while with other travellers of the night, playing hogs of the road. Then we headed west, what we were after now was the old surprise visit. That was a real kick and good for laughs and lashings of the old ultra-violence.