In 1971, Stanley Kubrick released one of his greatest and some would say most controversal film, “A Clockwork Orange”
The film was directed, produced and written by Kubrick based on Anthony Burgess novel of the same name. It stars Malcolm McDowell in the lead role as ‘Alex’, a delinquent who reguarly enjoys Beethoven, violence and gang rape with three of his closest friends; ‘Dim’ (Warren Clarke), ‘Georgie’ (James Marcus) and Pete (Michael Tarn). The film also stars Patrick Magee as ‘Mr Alexander’, Philip Stone as ‘Dad’ and Aubrey Morris as ‘Deltoid’.
The film tells the story of Alex and his ‘droogs’ on a ‘quest’ during nightime of gang rape and ultra-violence.
Alex and his droogs
In one scene, Alex accidently kills a woman in her home after she had called the police about a group of boys attempting to break in. When Alex leaves the house his gang turns on him in which Dim smashes a milk bottle over Alex’s face. They flee the scene, leaving a screaming and injured Alex on the pavement. Alex is then arrested by the police and his put into prison for murder.
Malcolm McDowell as Alex
After two years inside, Alex volunteers to undergo experimental therapy to ‘cure’ people. The treatment is called the Ludovico Technique.
Alex undergoing the Ludovico Technique.
A majority of the film was shot on location in London. The scenes at the Korova Milk Bar and the prison check-in area. Over the course of the production, Malcolm McDowell was injured a number of times. In the ludovico scene, McDowell began to panic from being strapped in with a straight jacket and having his eyelids held open with clamps that he scatched his cornea after struggling to get out of the jacket. He was blinded in the eye for 2 weeks. McDowell also broke two ribs during the filming of the stage show in which Alex is shown to an audience of doctors after his treatment. After Alex is released from prison he is arrested by Dim and Georgie who are now police officers. They take Alex out to the countryside and dunk his head in a pig trough. The entire scene is done in one single shot and McDowell had to breathe through a special device when he was in the water. During one take, the device failed and McDowell nearly drowned himself.
When “A Clockwork Orange” was released in America is grossed over $26 million (on a $2 million budget) despite the controversy. It was also received well critically and was nominated for 4 Oscars. It currently has 91% Rating on Internet movie website Rotten Tomatoes.
However in the UK, the film was met with huge controversy with the public, who would often send death threats to Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick then pulled the film from theatres and banned in the UK until 2000 where is now considered a cult icon film.
In the United States, the film received an X rating (now NC-17) in it’s original release. Kubrick later cut 30 seconds of footage where is was then given an R rating.
The National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures gave the film a ‘C’ rating for Condemned.
Stanley Kubrick on set of “A Clockwork Orange”.
- Best Director - Stanley Kubrick(nominated)
- Best Film Editing - Bill Butler(nominated)
- Best Picture - Stanley Kubrick (nominated)
- Best Adapted Screenplay - Stanley Kubrick (nominated)
- BAFTA Film Award for Best Art Direction - John Barry (nominated)
- Best Cinematography - John Alcott (nominated)
- Best Direction - Stanley Kubrick (nominated)
- Best Film - Stanley Kubrick (nominated)
- Best Film Editing - Bill Butler (nominated)
- Best Screenplay - Stanley Kubrick (nominated)
- Best Soundtrack - Brian Blamey, John Jordan, Bill Rowe (nominated)
DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Stanley Kubrick (nominated)
- Best Director - Motion Pictures - Stanley Kubrick (nominated)
- Best Motion Picture - Drama - Stanley Kubrick (nominated)
- Best Motion Picture Actor: Drama - Malcolm McDowell (nominated)