Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange will open in more than 180 cinemas across the UK from April 5, 2019.
Only two years away from its 50th anniversary, Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s 1962 decline-of-civilisation novel remains a chilling, thrilling and unsettling cinematic vision of nihilistic violence and social control.
The film will be released by the BFI in cinemas around the UK from April 5 2019 and marks its first theatrical release in the UK since 2000, enabling a new generation to experience the film’s unsettling power, striking visuals and unforgettable moments of violence.
A mesmerising classic from 1971, A Clockwork Orange’s hallucinatory visuals – depicting a strange, nihilistic society of the future, steeped in seventies art deco and harsh, contrasting lighting – paint a bleak, uncompromising picture. Kubrick’s use of implied violence, death and cultural destruction throw the viewer into a hellish, emotional quagmire of pessimism and hate.
Neal Damiano said on Top 10 Films in his feature on the best Stanley Kubrick films that the film is like a car accident, in that when you see it, it’s difficult to turn your head away in spite of the carnage in front of you.
“The brilliance of A Clockwork Orange is how ahead of its time the film was. Kubrick knew something we didn’t, violence and sex sells more than anything else in society. The idea of someone apathetic to the order of society is interesting. Then to see them fall and get reformed is even more fascinating. This is a common theme in a lot of Stanley Kubrick films, he warned us. The man was a brilliant storyteller and director,” says Damiano.
Fittingly making a number of lists on Top 10 Films, A Clockwork Orange is notorious for its impact on audiences. Indeed, its legacy has seen it lumped together with video nasties, a term coined during a period when the British government took a number of home video releases off the shelves due to sex and violence.
Allegedly, Kubrick’s effort was to blame for several murders including, most notably, two incidents of teenage boys imitating the film. One, dressed as a Droog, stabbed a classmate, the other assaulted a tramp to death. In another incident, a girl was gang raped by a group singing the song Singing in the Rain, which features in Kubrick’s film.
In the glare of publicity Kubrick received death threats. He personally asked Warner Bros. to withdraw the film from distribution in 1974 and it was not seen on the big screen again in the UK until after his death in 1999. But aside from its notoriety, A Clockwork Orange has been endlessly influential – its visual style, use of music and iconic costume and make-up design inspiring other filmmakers, musicians, performers and more. And it possesses one of Malcolm McDowell’s greatest performances.
Mark Fraser, in his article, Top 10 Films Which Should Have Helped Rescue Malcolm McDowell’s Career, said the actor delivers “a top shelf performance in a classic movie made by one of the greatest directors of all time,” adding that “McDowell suffers not one bad moment.”
Stuart Brown, BFI Head of Programme and Acquisitions, says: “Kubrick occupies a singular position in the history of cinema, being arguably not just the greatest filmmaker but one of the greatest and most enigmatic artists of the 20th century in any medium. Kubrick’s ability to convey bold and complex ideas to a mass audience, coupled with his now-infamously meticulous approach to his craft, produced films that were rich in meaning and have had unparalleled influence.”
The release is part of a retrospective Stanley Kubrick season at BFI Southbank (April 1 – May 31) and coincides with Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition at The Design Museum (April 26 – September 15) which the BFI is partnering with.
See A Clockwork Orange on the big screen from April 5, 2019.