Fake Ass Posters’ benmadethis has created yet another stunning poster, this time for Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.
How about the stylization of the violence? A lot of it is very funny, and what actually happens to Alex, in the brainwashing sequence, is much more unpleasant to watch than what he does to anyone else.
Kubrick: Well, of course, the violence in the film is stylized, just as it is in the book. My problem, of course, was to find a way of presenting it in the film without benefit of the writing style. The first section of the film that incorporates most of the violent action is principally organized around the Overture to Rossini’s Thieving Magpie, and, in a very broad sense, you could say that the violence is turned into dance, although, of course, it is in no way any kind of formal dance. But in cinematic terms, I should say that movement and music must inevitably be related to dance, just as the rotating space station and the docking Orion space ship in 2001 moved to The Blue Danube. From the rape on the stage of the derelict casino, to the super-frenzied fight, through the Christ figures cut, to Beethoven’s Ninth, the slow-motion fight on the water’s edge, and the encounter with the cat lady where the giant white phallus is pitted against the bust of Beethoven, movement, cutting, and music are the principal coasiderations—dance?
And the use of speeded-up motion, in the scene with the two girls Alex picks up at the drugstore?
Yes, of course, I forgot to mention the high-speed orgy. This scene lasts about forty seconds on the screen and, at two frames per second, took twenty-eight minutes to shoot. I had the idea one night while listening to Eine kleitie Nachtmusik. The vision of an orgy suggested itself, shot at two frames per second. As it worked out in the film, though, the fast movement William Tell was more suitable to the purpose of the scene.
How much do you preplan scenes? You don’t do the Hitchcockian kind of detailed advance planning?
I do a tremendous amount of planning and try to anticipate everything that is humanly possible to imagine prior to shooting the scene, but when the moment actually comes, it is always different. Either you discover new ideas in the scene, or one of the actors by some aspect of his personality has changed something—or any one of a thousand things that fail to coincide with one’s preconceived notions of the scene. This is, of course, the most ci-ucial time of a film. The actual shooting of a scene, once you know what you are going to do, is relatively simple. But it is here that the picture always hangs in the balance. The problem, expressed perhaps a bit too simply, is to make sure that something happens worth putting on film. It is always tempting to think of how you’re going to lilm something before you know what it is you’re going to film, but it’s almost always a waste of time. —An interview on A Clockwork Orange, Saturday Review, 1971
In Great Bolshy Yarblockos! Making A Clockwork Orange, we follow Stanely Kubrick as he creates one of the most controversial films of all time, one that retains its power to shock audiences, even after 35 years. At the time of its release, A Clockwork Orange created a firestorm of controversy. Through interviews with collaborators, filmmakers, screenwriters and authors, we come to appreciate Stanley Kubrick as an artist unafraid to take risks and court controversy, committed unwaveringly to his single-minded goal: the highest artistic quality of his films.
The powerful things that you remember may be the images but perhaps their strength comes from the words that precede them. Alex’s first-person narration at the beginning of the film increases the power of the images.
Kubrick: You can’t make a rule that says that words are never more useful than images. And, of course, in the scene you refer to, it would be rather difficult to do without words to express Alex’s thoughts. There is an old screenplay adage that says if you have to use voice-over it means there’s something wrong with the script. I’m quite certain this is not true, and when thoughts are to be conveyed, especially when they are of a nature which one would not say to another person, there is no other good alternative.
This time you wrote your script alone. How would you equate the problems of writing a screenplay to writing a novel?
Writing a screenplay is a very different thing than writing a novel or an original story. A good story is a kind of a miracle, and I think that is the way I would describe Burgess’s achievement with the novel. A Clockwork Orange has a wonderful plot, strong characters and clear philosophy. When you can write a book like that, you’ve really done something. On the other hand, writing the screenplay of the book is much more of a logical process — something between writing and breaking a code. It does not require the inspiration or the invention of the novelist. I’m not saying it’s easy to write a good screenplay. It certainly isn’t, and a lot of fine novels have been ruined in the process. However serious your intentions may be, and however important you think are the ideas of the story, the enormous cost of a movie makes it necessary to reach the largest potential audience for that story, in order to give your backers their best chance to get their money back and hopefully make a profit. No one will disagree that a good story is an essential starting point for accomplishing this. But another thing, too, the stronger the story, the more chances you can take with everything else. —Kubrick on A Clockwork Orange, an interview with Michel Ciment
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