By Jay Hunter – On this day, 45 years ago Stanley Kubrick unleashed his ultra-violent sci-fi magnum opus, A Clockwork Orange into British cinemas. The maligned classic was mired with controversy throughout Kubrick’s life, but has since become a much loved classic. With that being said, here’s 12 things you might not know about A Clockwork Orange.
12. Stanley Kubrick’s first cut (before hiring several assistant editors) ran almost four hours.
11. Malcolm McDowell’s eyes were anesthetized for the torture scenes so that he would film for periods of time without too much discomfort. Nevertheless his corneas got repeatedly scratched by the metal lid locks.
10. Alex performing “Singing in the Rain” as he attacks the writer and his wife was not scripted. Stanley Kubrick spent four days experimenting with this scene, finding it too conventional. Eventually he approached Malcolm McDowell and asked him if he could dance. They tried the scene again, this time with McDowell dancing and singing the only song he could remember. Kubrick was so amused that he swiftly bought the rights to “Singing in the Rain” for $10,000.
9. When Malcolm McDowell met Gene Kelly at a party several years later, the older star turned and walked away in disgust. Kelly was deeply upset about the way his signature from Singin’ in the Rain (1952) had been portrayed in A Clockwork Orange (1971).
8. In the scene after Alex talks with the priest about Ludovico therapy, we see the prisoners marching in a circle around the exercise yard, recreating an 1890 painting by Vincent van Gogh, “Prisoners Exercising (after Gustave Doré).”
7. The final scene was done after 74 takes.
6. Korova Milk Bar is named after the Russian word for cow.
5. The language spoken by Alex and his droogs is author Anthony Burgess’s invention, “Nadsat”: a mix of English, Russian and slang
4. Rated #2 of the 25 most controversial movies of all time by Entertainment Weekly, 16 June 2006.
3. The film was unavailable for public viewing in the UK from 1973 until 2000, the year after Stanley Kubrick’s death.
2. It is often claimed that Malcolm McDowell nearly drowned when his breathing apparatus failed during filming of the waterboarding scene. This is not true.
1. Despite the controversy and the unsettling content, the film is on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest movies of all time.
What is your favourite moment of A Clockwork Orange? Let us know in the comments below!