CLOCKWORK ORANGE, A: SPECIAL EDITION: DVD
Alex (Malcolm McDowell), a teenage hooligan in a near-future Britain, leads three other youths in a rampage of violence and rape. The police intervene but not before Alex attacks the owner of one home, a feisty woman who pays dearly for her bravery. Alex is charged and jailed. Two years later he volunteers to be a guinea pig for the latest experimental aversion therapy proposed by the government, to make room in prisons. 'Cured' of his hooliganism, he is released, but rejected by friends and relatives. Eventually nearly dying, he becomes a major embarrassment for the government, who arrange to cure him of his cure.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Released as a special edition DVD with extra features that include behind the scenes and a couple of other featurettes, this celebrated film is violent in a particularly brutal way, even by today's standards, and also sexually graphic. In the spirit of Aldous Huxley's 1984, Anthony Burgess wrote this book as a warning about the direction that Britain seemed to be headed. Now, of course, it looks like alarmist over-reaction. Still, there are valid fears expressed about the potential for authority to manipulate elements in society 'for the greater good' and it pays to be always aware of that danger. Not that the film is didactic and overtly political. It was and remains confronting, over 30 years after it was made.
Its stark use of colours throughout, offbeat production design elements and the notoriously counter-programmed soundtrack featuring Singing in the Rain as accompaniment to a bashing and rape, as well as Beethoven, Elgar, Rimsky-Korsakov and Rossini, continue to make it a fascinating, unnerving film, edgy and paranoid, seductive and repulsive all at once.
Kubrick has compared Alex to Richard III; a man you should loath and fear, yet we find ourselves drawn into his world, seeing him as the victim, not the aggressor. The first half of the film is sensational filmmaking, gripping and invigorating; the second half slumps under the weight of its exposition in pursuit of its socio-political warnings.
Nonetheless, it is one of the most memorable British films ever made, and one that is still valid, entertaining (in its own way) and peppered with many extraordinary scenes.
Published May 8, 2008
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CLOCKWORK ORANGE, A: SPECIAL EDITION: DVD (R)
CAST: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke, John Clive, Adrienne Corri, Carl Duering, Paul Farrell, Clive Francis, Michael Gover, Miriam Karlin, James Marcus, Aubrey Morris, Godfrey Quigley, Sheila Raynor
PRODUCER: Stanley Kubrick
DIRECTOR: Stanley Kubrick
SCRIPT: Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Burgess
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Alcott
EDITOR: William Butler
MUSIC: Wendy Carlos, Henry Purcell
PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Barry
RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Behind the Scenes: The Making of A Clockwork Orange; Featurette: The Return of A Clockwork Orange; Other: O Lucky Malcom
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video
DVD RELEASE: December 5, 2007