A Clockwork Orange (1971) Poster


Malcolm McDowell based aspects of his performance as Alex on the mannerisms and vocal tics of the British comedian Eric Morecambe, particularly during the dinner scene with Patrick Magee and David Prowse.
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Malcolm McDowell's eyes were anesthetized for the torture scenes so that he would film for periods of time without too much discomfort. Nevertheless his corneas got repeatedly scratched by the metal lid locks.
The snake, Basil, was introduced into the film by Stanley Kubrick when he found out Malcolm McDowell had a fear of reptiles. The stated purpose was to make McDowell's character seem more intimidating, but secondarily it functioned as a practical joke by Kubrick.
Stanley Kubrick's first cut (before hiring several assistant editors) ran almost four hours.
According to Malcolm McDowell (on the commentary track from the 2007 DVD release), the sped-up sex scene was originally filmed as an unbroken take lasting 28 minutes.
The doctor standing over Alex as he is being forced to watch violent films was a real doctor, ensuring that Malcolm McDowell's eyes didn't dry up.
Alex performing "Singing in the Rain" as he attacks the writer and his wife was not scripted. Stanley Kubrick spent four days experimenting with this scene, finding it too conventional. Eventually he approached Malcolm McDowell and asked him if he could dance. They tried the scene again, this time with McDowell dancing and singing the only song he could remember. Kubrick was so amused that he swiftly bought the rights to "Singing in the Rain" for $10,000.
When Malcolm McDowell met Gene Kelly at a party several years later, the older star turned and walked away in disgust. Kelly was deeply upset about the way his signature from Singin' in the Rain (1952) had been portrayed in A Clockwork Orange (1971).
Stanley Kubrick had his assistant destroy all unused footage.
Although he is playing a 15-year-old (17 in the latter half), Malcolm McDowell was actually 27 at the time of filming.
During the filming of the Ludovico scene, star Malcolm McDowell scratched one of his corneas and was temporarily blinded. He suffered cracked ribs during filming of the humiliation stage show.
Malcolm McDowell chose to play Alex speaking in his normal Northern English accent instead of a Cockney accent. McDowell felt his softer accent would strike an interesting contrast with Alex's menacing personality and also help him stand out amongst his friends.
Before filming the scene where he had to carry Patrick Magee's wheelchair up the stairs, professional bodybuilder David Prowse went up to Stanley Kubrick and asked if he could make sure that (due to the difficulty of the task) he got the scene in as few takes as possible, saying, "You're not exactly known as 'one-take-Kubrick', are you?" The rest of the crew was horrified at such a famous director being talked to like this, but Kubrick just laughed and promised to do his best. The scene was filmed in only six takes, an incredibly small amount for a perfectionist like Kubrick. Even so, Prowse was near exhaustion after the repeated takes of him carrying Frank and his wheelchair down the stairs.
The final scene was done after 74 takes.
Before the rape scene was filmed, Adrienne Corri walked up to Malcolm McDowell and said, "Well, Malcolm, today you're going to find out I'm a real redhead".
Korova Milk Bar is named after the Russian word for cow. Moloko (written on the wall) means milk. The bar's sculptures were based on the work of sculptor Allen Jones. Stanley Kubrick had the milk dispensers emptied, washed and refilled every hour, as the milk curdled under the studio lights. A painting on the wall reappears in Kubrick's The Shining (1980).
The two copycat crimes that prompted Stanley Kubrick to have the film withdrawn in the United Kingdom were the rape of a Dutch girl in Lancashire in 1973 at the hands of men singing "Singin' in the Rain" and the violence of a 16 year old boy who had beaten a younger child whilst wearing Alex's uniform of white overalls, a black bowler hat and combat boots.
Stanley Kubrick's first solo screenplay.
In the scene after Alex talks with the priest about Ludovico therapy, we see the prisoners marching in a circle around the exercise yard, recreating an 1890 painting by Vincent van Gogh, "Prisoners Exercising (after Gustave Doré)."
One of only two movies rated X on its original release (the other being Midnight Cowboy (1969)) to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
According to author Anthony Burgess, the title of the book (and the movie) came from East London slang, deriving from the phrase, "as queer as a clockwork orange." No independent references are known, however, and it is thought that Burgess invented the phrase himself.
The film was unavailable for public viewing in the UK from 1973 until 2000, the year after Stanley Kubrick's death. British video stores were so inundated with requests for the movie that some took to putting up signs that read: 'No, we do not have A Clockwork Orange (1971).'
Anthony Burgess was raised a strict Roman Catholic (even though he has an obsession with the tarot), he originally wrote his novel as a parable about Christian free will and forgiveness. His take on it was that to be a true Christian, one had to forgive the most horrifying of acts, something Burgess knew only too well, having seen his wife be assaulted and beaten by American soldiers during World War II. This attack resulted in a miscarriage and a lifetime of gynecological troubles for his wife.
Filming the rape scene was so difficult for the actress originally cast in the role that she quit. The part was recast with Adrienne Corri, who was said to have been furious at the large number of takes that Stanley Kubrick required, feeling it ought to have been done swiftly. Malcolm McDowell, however, has stated that Corri was very "game" about the brief but difficult role throughout filming.
The doorbell at the Alexander residence, "Home," plays the first four notes of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony" (but in a different key).
The language spoken by Alex and his droogs is author Anthony Burgess's invention, "Nadsat": a mix of English, Russian and slang. Stanley Kubrick was afraid that they had used too much of it, and that the movie would not be accessible. The original edition of the novel suffered from similar criticisms, and a Nadsat glossary appendix was added to the second and subsequent editions.
While recording narration, Malcolm McDowell would often feel the need to stretch his legs. So to satisfy McDowell and quite possibly get better narration from him, Stanley Kubrick and McDowell would play table tennis (a sport featured in Kubrick's own Lolita (1962)), and although they played many games, Kubrick never beat a rather skilled McDowell at table tennis. McDowell was later irritated to find that his salary had been docked for the hours spent playing the game. McDowell often kept Kubrick highly amused by his ability to belch on command (as illustrated at various points of the movie). They would play chess as well, and since Kubrick was an excellent chess player, McDowell never managed to beat him. Chess was a regular thing with many actors in Kubrick's films. He would regularly beat George C. Scott at chess while making Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), and also Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall on The Shining (1980).
Rated #2 of the 25 most controversial movies of all time by Entertainment Weekly, 16 June 2006. Rated by Premiere as one of "The 25 Most Dangerous Movies." Rated as the #70 Greatest Movie of All Time by the American Film Institute, 2007. Rated #4 out of 10 by the American Film Institute's "Sci-Fi" list, June 2008.
Contrary to popular claims, this was never banned in the UK. It originally received an "X" rating in 1971 and was withdrawn from distribution in 1973 by Stanley Kubrick himself. One of Kubrick's reasons for withdrawing the movie in the UK was that, according to his wife Christiane Kubrick, he and his family received several death threats because of the film. In the 1980s and 1990s, British fans who wanted to see this movie would have to order it from video stores in other countries, usually France. In 1993 London's popular Scala Film Club showed this movie without permission. At Kubrick's insistence, Warner Brothers sued and won, causing the Scala to close in near bankruptcy. In 2000, the year after Kubrick's death, the film was released again throughout Great Britain and received an "18" rating.
This film was shot almost entirely on real locations as opposed to sets and was lit almost entirely with a Lowell Kit, a staple for film students, perhaps as a reaction against the huge apparatus needed for Stanley Kubrick's previous film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
The first movie to make use of Dolby sound, it used Dolby noise reduction on all pre-mixes and masters, but a conventional optical sound track on release prints.
Unusually for a film of this period, all the credits are at the end.
In the police station scene when Mr Deltoid (Aubrey Morris) spits in Alex's face, it is actually Steven Berkoff doing the spitting. After several takes, Morris complained to Stanley Kubrick that he had run out of saliva, and Berkoff volunteered his services until Kubrick's cameras captured the perfect 'spit-shot'.
The first line of the novel is "What's it going to be then, eh?" and this line is repeated frequently throughout the book. Another recurring phrase is "dressed in the heighth [sic] of [insert adjective here] fashion," which is how Alex describes every single set of clothes that he or anyone else is wearing. The movie omits all but one occurrence of each phrase. Prison Chaplain Godfrey Quigley is introduced with the line "What's it going to be, eh?" In the next scene Alex imagines himself as a first-century executioner "dressed in the height of Roman fashion."
One of the first films to employ radio mics to record the sound. No post synching was required.
Stanley Kubrick was afraid theatre owners would edit the movie. So every week, the reels would be exchanged for a clean, inspected copy.
Stanley Kubrick handled the advertising campaign, including posters, commercials, the trailer, etc.
Anthony Burgess originally sold the movie rights to Mick Jagger for $500 when he needed quick cash. Jagger intended to make it with The Rolling Stones as the droogs, but then re-sold the rights for a much larger amount. Ken Russell was then nominated to direct because his style was considered well-suited for the material. He would have cast Oliver Reed as Alex. Tinto Brass was another possible director. At some point, someone suggested rewriting the droogs to be girls in miniskirts or old-age pensioners. Tim Curry and Jeremy Irons turned down the role of Alex. Stanley Kubrick once said "If Malcolm McDowell hadn't been available I probably wouldn't have made the film." Author Anthony Burgess initially distrusted Kubrick as a director, but was happy with the results. He felt the film later made the book, one of his least favorite books he had written, overshadow his other work.
The film was released just over a year after principal photography began, the fastest film shot, edited and released by Stanley Kubrick.
It is often claimed that Malcolm McDowell nearly drowned when his breathing apparatus failed during filming of the waterboarding scene. This is not true. Daily records indicate that the scene was filmed in repeated takes with no stoppage from equipment failure. McDowell has never reported a near drowning, while he does report many similar close calls in other scenes.
Of the 11 adaptations that Stanley Kubrick worked on in his career, this is the most faithful to its source material.
Because of the limited budget, various techniques had to be used such as dolly shots on wheelchairs, sound recorded live on set, the use of natural light and some scenes in handheld cameras. However, at that time the new camera zoom control was first used in the picture.
In the book, the girl whom Billy Boy's gang is raping, as well as Marty and Sonietta (the girls Alex picks up) are described as being approximately 10 years old, and Alex rapes the two girls while they are drunk and drugged. Stanley Kubrick explained that in addition to ruling the scenes too distasteful to film, using adult actors to play the "teenage" gang members would have made Alex seem like a pedophile (rather than also being underage himself).
In the music shop scene there is a list of Top Ten music bands up on the wall. One of the bands listed is Heaven 17, which one of the girls mentions to Alex. This name was used by a real band in the 1980s.
As he would go on to do in Barry Lyndon (1975) (to Oscar-winning effect), director of photography John Alcott lit most of the film using only natural light.
Although the car used by Alex and the droogs was called a "Durango 95" in the film, it is, in reality, the "Adams Probe 16," one of three ever made.
When Malcolm McDowell recorded his voiceover material, it was on a simple Nagra tape recorder operated by Stanley Kubrick himself. Unusually, he did not have to dub a single one of his other lines in the film, owing to the director's use of then-advanced wireless microphones.
Malcolm McDowell is actually urinating in the toilet scene early in the film, when he goes home and prepares for bed. He drank a lot of coffee before filming the shot.
Terry Southern recommended the novel to Stanley Kubrick when they were working on the screenplay to Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).
When Alex is being drowned, there is a barely perceptible micro-cut in which Malcolm McDowell was able to use the oxygen mask that was hidden in the water. The bath was muddied by using Bovril, a beef extract.
Patrick Magee kept asking Malcolm McDowell if Stanley Kubrick was all right with his performance as he felt that he was being far too over the top. Magee said that he "felt like he was taking a dump," so overwrought was his performance. McDowell assured him that this was exactly what Kubrick was after.
Malcolm McDowell delighted in the speeded-up orgy, since Stanley Kubrick could not shout "Cut!" until it was over and McDowell could accordingly do whatever he wanted during the take. Carrying the girls back to the bed a second time was improvised by McDowell, much to the irritation of Kubrick who shouted off-camera "That's enough Malcolm! That's enough!"
It is said that Stanley Kubrick made this movie because of the failure of Waterloo (1970). After he completed 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), he had planned to film a movie about Napoléon Bonaparte's life. After many years of research, he sent location scouts to various Eastern European locations, and even had an agreement with the Yugoslav army to supply troops for the vast battle scenes. However, after "Waterloo" tanked, Kubrick's financial backers pulled out. He thus decided to adapt the American version of "Clockwork", which had been given to him by Terry Southern (co-writer of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)).
Malcolm McDowell found the strange language easy to deal with as he was used to playing William Shakespeare's plays with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Stanley Kubrick said in an interview that he considered the Prison Chaplain (Godfrey Quigley) to be the most sympathetic and morally admirable character in the film.
Stanley Kubrick asked Pink Floyd if he could use their "Atom Heart Mother Suite" in the soundtrack. However, because Kubrick wanted unlimited license to determine what portions or edits of the song he used, the band turned him down. When Alex is in the record store, we can see the soundtrack of Kubrick's own movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) on a lower shelf with "Atom Heart Mother" above it (look for the cow in the field). Other records visible in the shop are Tim Buckley's "Lorca" (1970), on the Island shelf when Alex enters the shop. "Atom Heart Mother" is visible on this shelf as well as behind the counter. Also on this shelf is Rare Bird's "As Your Mind Flies By." Two records to the left of the "2001" in front of the counter is Crosby Stills Nash & Young's "Deja Vu" (1970). To the right of "2001" is "The Transfiguration Of Blind Joe Death" by John Fahey. Between The Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour" and "Atom Heart Mother" on the wall behind the counter is Neil Young's "After The Goldrush" (1970). The first Chicago album "The Chicago Transit Authority" (1969) can also be seen. The blonde girl with the lollipop can be seen looking at a Mungo Jerry album, "In the Summertime" (1970).
The title was translated into Serbo-Croatian as "The Orange From Hell" ("Paklena Naranca" - Croatian, "Paklena Pomorandza" - Serbian). This comes from the term for clockwork bombs - "Paklena Masina" - "Machine from hell." The Italian title was Arancia Meccanica, and the French title was "Orange mécanique". Anthony Burgess felt that these translations were misleading as they suggested a hand grenade, whereas his title meant a natural creature transformed into a machine.
The futuristic turntable that appeared in the movie is a Transcriptors Hydraulic Reference turntable. Stanley Kubrick found this turntable when visiting neighbouring Borehamwood company J.A. Michell Engineering, who made the spacecraft models for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). When shortly after Transcriptors moved to Ireland, J.A. Michell Engineering continued the production of the Hydraulic Reference turntable, as well as other new models. In 2005 Michell Engineering launched the limited-edition 'Odyssey' turntable.
One of the highest grossing films of 1971.
In the music shop scene where Alex asks the shopkeeper about an order he'd placed, there is a record cover clearly visible at the front that says 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Stanley Kubrick's previous film.
After Malcolm McDowell's cornea was scratched during the filming of the Ludovico treatment scene, he insisted to Stanley Kubrick that the extreme closeup of his eye in lid-locks be postponed until the last day of production.
Alexander, Peter, and Dimitri (which can be shortened to Dim) were common names of Russian kings and princes of the Empire of the Tsars (1462-1917). George (Gyorgi in Russian) was their patron saint.
Malcolm McDowell was hurt when, after he and Stanley Kubrick had had such a close relationship during filming, Kubrick seemed uninterested in continuing their friendship afterward. McDowell later attributed some of that sentiment to his being a young actor, unfamiliar with the intimacy of the filmmaking process, but admitted that he was very upset by it at the time. McDowell remained friends with Kubrick's wife, Christiane Kubrick, and, while visiting her after Kubrick's death, had a good cry over his grave site.
Both Stanley Kubrick and Malcolm McDowell at one point in their lives regretted making this film. Kubrick found out that this film was causing gangs to form in the UK and the US, and even tried to stop the film's distribution. This caused confusion, because he had previously insisted that the original cut of the film be played in theaters. McDowell saw the film and was so disgusted by the character he created, he decided to avoid violent and unsettling films for the majority of his career. Eventually, the controversy had abated, and both since changed their minds because of the film's recognition as one of the greatest films of all time.
The tape that Alex removes from his stereo in order to play Ludwig van Beethoven bears the name of fictitious artist Goggly Gogol, mentioned later by one of the girls in the music store.
Alex is 15 years old by the beginning of the book and 17 by the end of it . However, to minimize controversy, his age started from 17 and ended at 19 in the film.
Malcolm McDowell suggested that it wasn't until the 21st century that audiences saw the film properly as a black-comedy, and that earlier audiences he saw the film with were always too unsettled by the opening 20 minutes of violence and rape scenes to appreciate the humor in the rest of the picture.
Stanley Kubrick was a perfectionist who did meticulous research, took thousands of photographs of potential locations, and did many takes of scenes; however, per Malcolm McDowell, he usually "got it right" early on, so there were few takes. So meticulous was Kubrick that McDowell stated, "If Kubrick hadn't been a film director he'd have been a General Chief of Staff of the US Forces. No matter what it is -- even if it's a question of buying a shampoo it goes through him. He just likes total control."
Despite the controversy and the unsettling content, this film is on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest movies of all time.
Fashion designer and publisher of fetish magazine AtomAge John Sutcliffe, with artist Allen Jones, designed some explicit waitresses' uniforms for the film which were ultimately unused. The sexualised Korova Milkbar sculptures were inspired - but not created - by Jones, who had been asked by Stanley Kubrick to contribute to the film. Jones refused as there would only be a credit, not a fee, for this work.
The first film to use Dolby noise reduction in the mixing of the soundtrack.
Wendy Carlos's (born Walter) synthesized score features the first ever use of a vocoder. The two pieces featuring Carlos's custom-built vocoder, "Timesteps" (an original composition, heard during the Ludovico sequence) and Beethoven's "Ode To Joy" from his Ninth Symphony (heard in the record shop) were recorded long before the film was made. The vocoder, according to Carlos, was a development from an earlier, unsuccessful voice synthesis method she'd used on her 1969 album "The Well-Tempered Synthesizer", and she'd implored synthesizer inventor Robert Moog to come up with something better using standard Moog Synthesizer modules. "Timesteps" and Beethoven's Ninth were recorded as test/demonstrations of the new device, and she brought them to "A Clockwork Orange" when Kubrick hired her to score the film. At Robert Moog's memorial service, Wendy Carlos admitted that the tracks were recorded at 1/2 speed (7.5 ips), then played back at 15 ips simply because she couldn't play a monophonic keyboard at full, standard tempo. This is actually not an uncommon recording technique.
Anthony Burgess, the author of the novel, lived for a time in Malaysia during WWII. After returning to London, his wife was assaulted by four American GIs during the blackout, inspiring this story. Burgess claimed that "clockwork orange" was a Cockney phrase, but most philologists agree that he made it up. The Malay word for man is "orang," as in "orangutan" (man of the jungle), and a clockwork orang would be a clockwork man. However, a UK slang expression for a gambling device is a "clockwork fruit" or "fruit machine," due to the depictions on its dials. The anthropomorphic look of a "fruit machine" (thus, its name "one-armed bandit" in the USA for its roughly man-sized shape and "arm" giving it a humanoid appearance) may well have given rise to the term "clockwork orange" in Burgess' fertile mind, as Alex, through conditioning, is turned into a robotic clockwork man. Gambling also is a game of chance, and Alex literally is gambling with his soul. Dr. Brodsky tells Alex to take his chance and be free in a fortnight, as long as a vacation in Blackpool, the most popular slot machine resort in Britain.
Most of the early scenes were filmed on the then under construction Thamesmead New Town project in South East London, Stage One. The flat used in the scene was the show home for the first block completed. Viewers will notice the area around the lake and beyond was under construction at the time and had two more years of building ahead. The scenes on Stage One are still present.
Malcom McDowell came up with the name "DeLarge", although the book contains one part where Alex calls himself "Alex the Large", suggesting McDowell adapted and borrowed it from there.
Despite Alex's obsession with Beethoven, the soundtrack contains more music by Rossini than by Beethoven. The fast-motion sex scene with the two girls, the slow-motion fight between Alex and his Droogs, the fight with Billy Boy's gang, the invasion of the Cat Lady's home, and the scene where Alex looks into the river and contemplates suicide before being approached by the beggar are all accompanied by Rossini's music.
Billy Russell was cast as the Librarian (Crystallography expert), but became ill in January 1971 during production. He died in December of the same year. This character was removed from the film, with some of his lines transferred to the Tramp (Paul Farrell).
When offered the part of Alex, Malcolm McDowell mistakenly thought the director was Stanley Kramer. It wasn't until McDowell's friend Lindsay Anderson showed him Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) that the actor realised who the director was.
Stanley Kubrick was so impressed by Jörg Pleva, the voice actor who dubbed the role of Alex in the German language version, that he sent a letter to dialogue director Wolfgang Staudte. In the letter, Kubrick expressed his fascination to the voice of Jörg Pleva and admitted that his voice suited the character even more than Malcolm McDowell's. Pleva was later personally selected by Kubrick to provide the German dubbing for Ryan O'Neal in Barry Lyndon (1975) and Jack Nicholson in The Shining (1980).
Filming took place between September 1970 and April 1971, making this the quickest film shoot in Stanley Kubrick's career.
Stanley Kubrick and the actors hewed so closely to the book that sometimes they wouldn't even use the formal screenplay on set. Instead, they simply carried the novel as a reference for dialogue in the scenes.
The actress who sings at the Korova Milk Bar was a good friend of Malcolm McDowell's who played the part as a favour.
Scenes filmed but not used include: The Droogs assaulting a man carrying library books (a scene from the book), who meets Alex later. This was scrapped when the actor died; The Droogs bribing old ladies with drinks and snacks to give them an alibi; The Droogs actually stealing the Durango 95 that they are later seen riding in; The Droogs reflectively stargazing after their long night of mayhem; The Droogs riding the train home and vandalizing it; Alex using the milk dispenser at The Korova; Alex taking the girls from the record shop for a meal at Pasta Parlour; In the trailer, there is a scene of Alex's snake leaving his room; After Alex has sex with the two girls, his dad comes home and they try to sneak out, but are caught.
At the beginning of the rape scene (at around 10 mins), Mrs. Alexander is seated in the infamous Retreat Pod by Roger Dean, best known for his designs for the covers of Yes albums.
When Malcolm McDowell, a cricket fan, came in for a costume fitting with his gear, including protective cup, Stanley Kubrick told him to keep them out and incorporate his white shirt and cup into the costume. When McDowell started to dress by putting the jockstrap under his pants, Kubrick told him it would look better over his trousers instead, and the look made it into the final movie.
The large yellow book in the tray on the prison governor's desk is actually a "Wisden Cricketers' Almanack."
A year after the film's release, composer Walter Carlos became Wendy Carlos via a sex-change operation.
Malcolm McDowell claimed that Stanley Kubrick conducted screen tests of actresses for the nude scenes by having them read Shakespeare during screen tests while the camera operator zoomed in for a closeup of their breasts. Kubrick then had prints made of the breast closeups so he could flip through them in his office.
On the commentary for the Special Edition, Alex toasting the viewer with his glass of milk is highlighted.

This appears to occur at the 1.00 min mark, when Alex holds his glass slightly higher than required, presenting the toast.

When Stanley Kubrick noticed this very subtle move in the dailies, he asked Malcolm McDowell if he realized what he had done. McDowell said - "Stanley, I just wanted the audience to know they were in for one hell of a ride".
When Alex returns home after being released, the song "I Want to Marry a Lighthouse Keeper" by Erika Eigen is heard playing on the radio. However, the second verse is not the same as that on the soundtrack album.
Technically, to achieve and convey the fantastic, dream-like quality of the story, Stanley Kubrick filmed with extreme wide-angle lenses such as the Kinoptik Tegea 9.8mm for 35mm Arriflex cameras, and used fast- and slow motion to convey the mechanical nature of its bedroom sex scene or stylize the violence in a manner similar to Funeral Parade of Roses (1969).
The society depicted in the film was perceived by some as Communist (as Michel Ciment pointed out in an interview with Stanley Kubrick) due to its slight ties to Russian culture. The teenage slang has a heavily Russian influence, as in the novel; Anthony Burgess explains the slang as being, in part, intended to draw a reader into the world of the book's characters and to prevent the book from becoming outdated. There is some evidence to suggest that the society is a socialist one, or perhaps a society evolving from a failed socialism into a fully fascist society. In the novel, streets have paintings of working men in the style of Russian socialist art, and in the film, there is a mural of socialist artwork with obscenities drawn on it. As Malcolm McDowell points out on the DVD commentary, Alex's residence was shot on failed Labour Party architecture, and the name "Municipal Flat Block 18A, Linear North" alludes to socialist-style housing. Later in the film, when the new right-wing government takes power, the atmosphere is certainly more authoritarian than the anarchist air of the beginning. Kubrick's response to Ciment's question remained ambiguous as to exactly what kind of society it is. Kubrick asserted that the film held comparisons between both the left and right end of the political spectrum and that there is little difference between the two. Kubrick stated, "The Minister, played by Anthony Sharp, is clearly a figure of the Right. The writer, Patrick Magee, is a lunatic of the Left... They differ only in their dogma. Their means and ends are hardly distinguishable."
Before he would famously go on to portray Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, David Prowse had his first "big break" by being cast in this film. Coincidentally, James Earl Jones (the voice of Darth Vader), had his first big break in another Stanley Kubrick film: as Lt Lothar Zogg in 'Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb' (1964).
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Anthony Burgess has expressed sorrow and bemusement at A Clockwork Orange being his most famous book. This is because he wanted the book to do well due to its own merit as opposed to the film.
The Cards Test at the end of the film is called a "Thematic Apperception Test".
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First cinema film of Pat Roach, in the non-speaking role of Korova Milkbar bouncer.
The film prominently features a sculpture by Dutch artist Herman Makkink (the phallic-shaped "Rocking Machine") and nine paintings and a sculpture (called "Christ Unlimited") by his brother Cornelis Makkink, all of which had been featured in Tinto Brass' film Dropout (1970) a year before.
Legendary composer Ennio Morricone was invited by Stanley Kubrick to write the music for the film, but Kubrick made the error of asking Sergio Leone (then at work on DUCK, YOU SUCKER!) if Morricone was now free to work with him, to which Leone replied he was still needed - which was absolutely not true. Not getting the chance to work with Stanley Kubrick is something Morricone much regrets to this day.
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Anthony Burgess has complained that writing this book has made people think he's a sociopath, as if he were Alex himself, and the whole thing was autobiographical.
The band Heaven 17 is named after one of the bands highlighted on the record store's Top-10 list that Alex visits.
The film was originally rated X until Stanley Kubrick voluntarily made some cuts.
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Malcolm McDowell and the cast and crew had thought the film they were making was a black comedy when the film was shooting.
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In the book, "A Clockwork Orange", the two women with whom Alex partakes in a sped-up 28 minute sex scene with are actually said to be no more than 10 years old.
The movie was the most popular film of 1972 in France with admissions of 7,611,745.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Both the "William Tell" overture and the "Ode to Joy" song heard on the soundtrack are from musical compositions based on the work of German poet/playwright Friedrich Schiller. Schiller's "Sturm und Drang" dramas attest to his fascination with young, violence-prone troublemakers like Alex, from Don Carlos to Joan of Arc, and the plot of his "William Tell" in particular, which centers on a band of rebels whose leader comes into conflict with their authoritarian government, has obvious parallels to Alex's story. During the opening reels meanwhile Alex reenacts, on his own thuggish terms, things the "Ode to Joy" describes. After getting "feuertrunken" off the drug-laced beverages at the Korova bar, he and his gang enter a kind of "Heiligtum" ("shrine") --- the theater which, though wrecked and decaying, still has vestiges of the classically-styled decorations intended to mark it as a temple of culture. "Ein holdes Weib" ("precious lady") is also "errungen" (literally, "conquered") by Alex, and when he calls the bound and gagged husband of his victim "brother" he is echoing the refrain (with its cry of "Brüder") from Schiller's poem.
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The fight between Alex and the rich older woman harks back to the scene from Kubrick's "Killer's Kiss", where two characters briefly battle each other with the plastic body parts they happen to find at a mannequin factory.
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Was the 11th highest-grossing film of 1972 at the British box-office.
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Ironically, Malcolm McDowell and Aubrey Morris (Mr. Deltoid) became good friends for the rest of Morris' life, and McDowell frequently advocated for Morris to be cast in his films whenever possible.
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Andy Warhol called Videodrome (1983), the "Clockwork Orange of the 80s".
The commentary on the Special Edition claims that all the sound was recorded live, and that this may have been one of the first movies to use radio microphones. These had been sourced by Stanley Kubrick from Sennheiser in Germany. These allowed them to sound record on the London Embankment without picking up traffic noise.
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The train blowing up in Alex's imagination is the same stock shot used many times in Hogan's Heroes (1965). The series sometimes reversed to make it look slightly different, but it's obvious by the way the big pieces fly off the exploding train that it's the same shot.
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In the mid-1960s, Brad Dexter, best known as one of The Magnificent Seven (1960), and who later became a producer for Frank Sinatra, wanted to breathe new life into Sinatra's film career by helping him display the same professional pride in his films as he did in his recordings. He gave Sinatra the novel to read, with the idea of making a film, but Sinatra thought it lacked potential and didn't understand the language used in the novel.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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Due to the controversy surrounding A Clockwork Orange (1971), it was not released on VHS and DVD in Australia until 2000.
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The psychiatrist at the end of the film, played by actress Pauline Taylor, has a name tag that says "Dr. P. Taylor."
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The first science fiction film to be Oscar nominated for Best Picture.
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The plot of Rossini's "La Gazza Ladra". which is tapped several times for background music, involves a character closely resembling Deltoid --- Gottardo, the petty official whose lustful advances are rebuffed by the opera's young protagonist. The snippets of the score Kubrick chooses to incorporate feature motifs that are heard when the opera protagonist is visited by Gottardo while in custody awaiting trial after being accused of a serious crime. One such snippet plays just before the scene in which Deltoid confronts Alex at the police station.
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Alex and his Droogs have been compared to the girls in Spring Breakers (2012), or a teenaged version of the boys in Lord of the Flies.
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Terry Southern wrote a screenplay when he had David Hemmings lined up to play Alex.
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The music system in Alex' bedroom consists of a Transcriptors turntable, Bang&Olufsen Beomaster 5000 FM tuner, and Beolab 5000 amplifier. The cassette player is a prop, and not related to any existing product. It is shown to use the Philips mini-cassette system. The Deutsche Grammophon Beethoven and Polydor Gogol tapes shown are also props. The mini-cassette system was of low quality, intended for dictation only, and was never used for commercial music releases.
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In the record shop scene, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)'s soundtrack album can be seen next to John Fahey's album "The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death". The ninth track on this album is a song named "Bicycle Built For Two (Daisy Bell)". It's the very same song that HAL 9000 sings when it's shut down, in "2001: A Space Odyssey".
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The only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year not to be nominated in any of the acting categories.
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It is the only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year not to win any Academy Awards.
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Director Trademark 

Stanley Kubrick: ["The End"] Kubrick maintained the tradition of putting the words "The End" in the end credits of all his movies, long after the industry had abandoned it.
Stanley Kubrick: [eyes] Alex's cuff links are bloody eyeballs, and his own eyes are emphasized throughout his "cure."
Stanley Kubrick: [Maniacal staring face] of Alex in the opening shot.
Stanley Kubrick: [114] Alex is given Serum 114 when he undergoes the Ludovico treatment. It is perhaps an in-joke on Kubrick's repeated use of CRM in his films, as serum sounds almost like CRM sounded out.
Stanley Kubrick: [faces] Frank, when he realizes who Alex is.
Stanley Kubrick: [three-way] Alex vs Government vs Alexander.
Stanley Kubrick: [wheelchair] Frank is in a wheelchair during the second act.
Stanley Kubrick: [drowning] Alex is nearly asphyxiated in a watering trough.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Alex "popping" his mouth open for food was entirely improvised, as Stanley Kubrick got incredibly bored during the scene and Malcolm McDowell started acting silly just to keep everyone's attention focused.
To film Alex's suicide attempt from his own perspective, a Newman Sinclair camera enclosed in a custom-built plastic box was thrown off a building six times until it finally landed pointing downwards. It broke the lens, but the camera itself survived otherwise unscathed. Stanley Kubrick later marveled at the durability of this particular type of camera.
Alex's prison number is 655321 (Six, double five, three, two, one), truncated from the book's 6655321. The combination to Alex's bedroom door is 17-34-89. When the Dim and Georgie as police are dragging Alex between them, their numbers are 665 and 667, implying that Alex is 666.
The book never tells us Alex's last name. He nicknames himself Alexander the Large while raping the music-loving girls. Malcolm McDowell ad libbed the name "DeLarge," a pun on "the Large," in "Scene 15," registry into prison, which is original to Stanley Kubrick and not in the novel. A continuity error occurs when a caption in "Scene 31," hospital, perhaps filmed earlier, gives Alex's last name as Burgess after Anthony Burgess. His full name is given as Alex Burgess in a number of the newspaper articles seen after his (coerced) suicide attempt.
In adapting the Anthony Burgess book, minor incidents and characters were omitted or conflated. Some of their dialogue was reassigned to other characters, including a nameless court official's line "I hope to God it'll torture you to madness," reassigned to PR Deltoid. Characters not in the film include a librarian harmed by Alex who gets revenge two years later, prison friends (including a kindly abortionist who helps fellow prisoners injured in brawls), and prison enemies (including a man who dies of a heart attack after Alex strikes him in self-defense). A more drastic change is a scene of Alex drugging and raping two 10-year-old girls from the record shop, filmed as a consensual encounter with girls his own age. The film omits the 21st chapter of the book, which wasn't in the US edition. In this, Alex (no longer 'cured') has recruited a new gang and continues his mayhem. Later, he runs into Pete, who now has a job and a family. Alex, having grown older and bored with mayhem, chooses to follow suit. He decides it is more challenging and pleasurable to build and create rather than destroy, and that he would like to build a future for himself. Stanley Kubrick only discovered this additional chapter when the screenplay was "virtually finished," and never gave any serious consideration to using it, as he felt it was inconsistent with the style and tone of the rest of the novel. It is often erroneously reported that he was unaware of the final chapter during the making of the film.
In the novel: It was not a hobo who Alex and his droogies beat up, it is a librarian. The revenge sequence for both the hobo and librarian is very similar.
The novel and the film end very differently. The theme in the film is dark and evil, as Alex goes back to his old ultra violent ways. As for the novel, Alex indeed resumes a violent life, but that isn't the ending. Eventually, Alex genuinely wants to stop being a menace to society, to get a wife and live like a good citizen.
Miss Weathers the cat woman was weak and helpless in the novel. She was made strong and proud in the film so she could hold her own against Alex' attack, therefore the audience won't lose all sympathy for him when he kills her. Miss Weathers uses a bust of Ludwig van Beethoven, Alex's favorite composer, as a weapon against him, but he soon gets the upper hand and clobbers her. To spare us the violence of her demise, Kubrick cuts to a montage of paintings hanging in the same room.
In the novel, Georgie and Dim don't beat Alex as police men; the beating is carried out by Dim along with Billy Boy, their former rival gang leader.
Malcolm McDowell insisted that a new shoe that had never touched the floor be used for the closeup of Alex licking it.
When Alex returns home from prison one of the smaller headlines in the newspaper his father is reading says: "Marty Feldman's Wife Banned."
Many phallic references: snake crawling between the legs of the woman in the poster, the popsicles held by the girls in the record store, the tip of Alex's walking stick, the object used by Alex to kill the woman.
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Stanley Kubrick): [Bathroom]: Mr. Alexander discovers Alex's identity while Alex sings "Singin' in the Rain" in the bathtub.
Despite eventually receiving an X rating, the production was trying to stay within an R rating during filming. This is evidenced by the topless girl in the demonstration scene wearing panties so as to avoid a graphic full frontal nudity shot when Alex leers up at her in closeup.
Malcolm McDowell's rib was accidentally broken during the demonstration scene in which he is prodded by the actor's shoe: "GO ON!" The take is in the film. McDowell further suffered a blood clot that was not diagnosed when his rib was treated, sending him back to the hospital a second time.
10 minutes into the movie. The rape couple's doorbell sounds like Beethoven's symphony. Which predicts a bad thing was going to happen
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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