A Clockwork Orange: Inspiring Modern Cinema Since 1971

Talking about remarkable years in the history of cinema industry will definitely bring up the seventies on the top of thepile of eras. During that period, movies had gone under major tweaks in its structure and content, which were the establishing block for setting up the modern-day orientation of such field. Recalling that era will surely feature some time-transcending classics as The Godfather, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Taxi Driver. However, such conversations usually overlook a masterpiece that lacked proper publicity despite topping artistic elites; Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.

Not only did the 1971’s hit successfully aim for perfection, but was also a game changer with an impact that echoed on later projects. Thus, we favored shedding some light on a dismissed stunner, to highlight how the elements of the 46-year-old project are the still-intact influencing manual for today’s filmmakers, and how it revolutionized the industry as a whole.

1- The Film’s Intro

For a filmmaker, earning a positive first impression summarizes an ultimate objective. Therefore, films’ initial minutes are their most critical interval, to determine whether viewers’ enthusiasm would be ignited, or faded for boredom and conventionality. For A Clockwork Orange’s, it tutored simple yet attention-grabbing intros, following Kubrick’s iconic opening in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kicking off the film with edgy music and seconds of static redness did emit peculiar vibes that rapidly developed into eagerness as the screen cut off to a close-up shot of the main character’s wickedly facial expressions. As that shot grew wider, overviewing his surrounding atmosphere, we already knew we were about to eye a unique project that kept us hooked for 130 minutes to come.

2- Costume and Production Design

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Prior to the seventies, most movies were narrations to either historic or daily events with mere tendency to tackle future-centered plots. Therefore, it was on that time’s filmmakers to establish that category’s standards for choosing suitable shooting locations, production plans and costume designs that grants the audience a reliable trip through the anonymous future. Being a pioneer itself, A Clockwork Orange was a key player in such process, for basing its story on fictional futuristic events. This had Kubrick’s brush paint his long-term vision through bizarre layouts of residences, venues, outfits and even cars. Following this, audience’s taste familiarized diversity, which paved the way for distinguished directors as David Lynch and Alejandro Jodorowsky to construct their unusual worlds in the following years.

3- Innovative Script

Advantaging from the time factor had always been the mutual characteristic of all movie classics. They only got better with the passage of years as they proved their suitability for every era and generation, and being an all-time classic, A Clockwork Orange wasn’t an exception, thanks to its outstanding script. In addition to catchy reciting and intense dialogues, the script had developed the Voice-Over narrations as we know it today. Despite being present prior to 1971, Kubrick’s innovative utilization to such technique supervised its refining process, to be directors’ favorite storytelling tool in modern cinema, as in Martin Scorsese’s case.

Going along the movie’s discrete world, the filmmakers were also in favor of securing their Sci-Fi creation from reality’s intervention, so they replaced alphabetical words with some odd others in the dialogued lines. Later on, that initiative was widely employed in various fictional projects to sell us the reality of their imaginary worlds as in HBO’s Game Of Thrones, where an entire alphabet was precisely developed for such purpose.

4- The Struggling Character

Naturally, great characters are made of complexity, struggles and bursting acting moments, but when A Clockwork Orange took matters into its own hands, things went to whole new levels. Personifying Alex at the age of 28, Malcolm McDowell delivered his lifetime performance that he failed to re-achieve in all his later roles. His portrayal marked a turn for the better regarding characters’ struggles, as he swayed between contradictory extremes which were never that bitter in preceding cinematic representations. Through the film’s two opposing halves, he was the movie’s protagonist and antagonist, the kind-hearted good and the devilish evil, the one who we absolutely stand against and who we sympathize with towards the end. Such complexity in the character’s construction was A Clockwork Orange’s trademark that skied filmmakers’ limits and had audience prepared for distinguished productions.

5- The Directing Job

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Being a Stanley Kubrick’s project, it’s no news mentioning the excellence of A Clockwork Orange’s directing job. The beauty of Kubrick’s work lies in its noticeable features even if you’re not an experienced cinephile. You’d easily find yourself astonished with the steadiness of his camera and scenes’ symmetry that were his fundamental token in the production of his habitual unique, colorful and philosophically-messaged pictures. Since then, scenes were often acquired with implied visual meanings after its effectiveness was acknowledged. In addition to that, Kubrick’s orientation of symmetrical and steady shots became director’s irreplaceable tool for its dynamism with different movie genres.

6- Music

Unlike most filmmakers, Kubrick always chose for his projects’ scores to be based on classic symphonies, substituting the preference of composing originals. Hence, it was inevitable for A Clockwork Orange’s soundtrack to be compacted with Beethoven’s features, to go along with the main character’s passion towards the German composer. However, A Clockwork Orange’s real audible singularity was Kubrick’s emotional manipulation through his music integration. Through escorting violence with light classical pieces, he turned what could’ve been classified as repelling gore into new a form of entertainment, without acquiring such scenes a comical theme. Before A Clockwork Orange, that setting did often harm the tone of the events’ flow, but as soon as Kubrick’s adjustment manual was out there, directors did repeatedly seek it out when tolerable violence was their aimed goal.

It’s true that A Clockwork Orange is old, but it’s not outdated. Its retained entertainment doesn’t demand a seventies’ mentality in order to be enjoyed, so don’t let a release date deny you the pleasure and make sure it’s your next movie!