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A Clockwork Orange (1971)

When financing for Napoleon fell through, Kubrick searched for a project that he could film quickly on a small budget. He settled on A Clockwork Orange (1971). His adaptation of Anthony Burgess's novel of the same name is an exploration of violence and experimental rehabilitation by law enforcement authorities. LoBrutto describes the film as a "sociopolitical statement about the government's threat against personal freedom", and Ciment explains that, through the story, Kubrick "is denouncing brainwashing of every kind and making a plea for free-will". Kubrick did not deny those conclusions, asserting that even with good motives there were limits to how society should maintain "law and order": "The State sees the spectre looming ahead of terrorism and anarchy, and this increases the risk of its over-reaction and a reduction in our freedom." Because of its depiction of teenage violence, the film became one of the most controversial films of the decade, and part of an ongoing debate about violence in cinema. Detractors claimed the film glorified violence. Kubrick personally pulled the film from release in the United Kingdom after receiving death threats following a series of copycat crimes based on the film; it was thus completely unavailable legally in the UK until after Kubrick's death, and not re- released until 2000. Kubrick disagreed that a film could transform a person into a criminal, and argued that "violent crime is invariably committed by people with a long record of anti-social behavior." Kubrick defended the depiction of violence in the film, arguing that "The violence in the story has to be given sufficient dramatic weight so that the moral dilemma it poses can be seen in the right context", otherwise the viewer would not reach a "meaningful conclusion about relative rights and wrongs". The State cannot turn even the most "vicious criminals into vegetables". Kubrick also expanded his ideas to the nation's popular media and worried that it could have a similar effect on a wider scale. In a letter Kubrick had published by the New York Times in 1972, he warned against what he described as multimedia "fascism" that could also turn human beings into "zombies". Author Julian Rice explains that, in this larger context, Kubrick implies that "spectators" of media can become a "massive entity subject to predictable response". A Clockwork Orange was rated 'X' for violence in the US on its original release, just a year before that rating became linked to pornography. Kubrick later released a cut version for an 'R' rating, though the original version has since been re-rated to 'R'.

Quick facts

Directed by Stanley Kubrick Produced by Stanley Kubrick Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick Based on A Clockwork O range by Anthony Burgess Starring Malcolm McDowell Patrick Magee Adrienne Corri Miriam Karlin Music by Walter Carlos Cinematography John Alcott Edited by Bill Butler Production companies Polaris Productions Hawk Films Distributed by Warner Bros. Columbia-Warner Distributors (United Kingdom) Release dates December 19, 1971 (New York City) 2 February 1972 (United States) Running time 136 minutes[1] Country United Kingdom[2] United States[2]
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A Clockwork Orange (1971)

When financing for Napoleon fell through, Kubrick searched for a project that he could film quickly on a small budget. He settled on A Clockwork Orange (1971). His adaptation of Anthony Burgess's novel of the same name is an exploration of violence and experimental rehabilitation by law enforcement authorities. LoBrutto describes the film as a "sociopolitical statement about the government's threat against personal freedom", and Ciment explains that, through the story, Kubrick "is denouncing brainwashing of every kind and making a plea for free-will". Kubrick did not deny those conclusions, asserting that even with good motives there were limits to how society should maintain "law and order": "The State sees the spectre looming ahead of terrorism and anarchy, and this increases the risk of its over-reaction and a reduction in our freedom." Because of its depiction of teenage violence, the film became one of the most controversial films of the decade, and part of an ongoing debate about violence in cinema. Detractors claimed the film glorified violence. Kubrick personally pulled the film from release in the United Kingdom after receiving death threats following a series of copycat crimes based on the film; it was thus completely unavailable legally in the UK until after Kubrick's death, and not re-released until 2000. Kubrick disagreed that a film could transform a person into a criminal, and argued that "violent crime is invariably committed by people with a long record of anti-social behavior." Kubrick defended the depiction of violence in the film, arguing that "The violence in the story has to be given sufficient dramatic weight so that the moral dilemma it poses can be seen in the right context", otherwise the viewer would not reach a "meaningful conclusion about relative rights and wrongs". The State cannot turn even the most "vicious criminals into vegetables". Kubrick also expanded his ideas to the nation's popular media and worried that it could have a similar effect on a wider scale. In a letter Kubrick had published by the New York Times in 1972, he warned against what he described as multimedia "fascism" that could also turn human beings into "zombies". Author Julian Rice explains that, in this larger context, Kubrick implies that "spectators" of media can become a "massive entity subject to predictable response". A Clockwork Orange was rated 'X' for violence in the US on its original release, just a year before that rating became linked to pornography. Kubrick later released a cut version for an 'R' rating, though the original version has since been re-rated to 'R'.

Quick facts

Directed by Stanley Kubrick Produced by Stanley Kubrick Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick Based on A Clockwork O range by Anthony Burgess Starring Malcolm McDowell Patrick Magee Adrienne Corri Miriam Karlin Music by Walter Carlos Cinematography John Alcott Edited by Bill Butler Production companies Polaris Productions Hawk Films Distributed by Warner Bros. Columbia-Warner Distributors (United Kingdom) Release dates December 19, 1971 (New York City) 2 February 1972 (United States) Running time 136 minutes[1] Country United Kingdom[2] United States[2]
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