Features and Columns

How ‘A Clockwork Orange’ Captured the Feel of the Future On-Location

Here’s a video about the real futuristic locations and artwork that Stanley Kubrick used for the production design of ‘A Clockwork Orange.’
A Clockwork Orange
By  · Published on June 8th, 2020

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A Clockwork Orange is full of dichotomies: from sophisticated psychopaths to pacifying treatments that rely on violent imagery. Likewise, A Clockwork Orange is set in a futuristic London defined by contradictions: extravagance and decay; exaggeration and realism; glitter and blood. It’s a world that is simultaneously unfamiliar and too close for comfort; a push-pull that underpins the sense of unease that defines Stanley Kubrick‘s film.

There is a simple explanation for why A Clockwork Orange‘s dystopic vision of the future feels so unflinchingly real: the film was shot entirely on location with the exception of four sets (the milk bar, the prison intake, and two rooms in the writer’s house). Armed with a library of British architectural magazines, a fleet of VW minivans, and an army of production assistants, Kubrik scouted the metro-London area like he was conducting a manhunt. The result: dilapidated casinos, experimental apartment complexes, brutalist universities, and bespoke modern homes. Supplemented with the work of pop artists and sculptors like Allen Jones and armed with a camera optimized for location shooting, Kubrick crafted a futuristic sci-fi setting with what was right in front of him.

The video essay below breaks down the real futuristic locations and artwork that Kubrick used for the production design on A Clockwork Orange. The video also details the new technologies Kubrick used in recording sound and shooting on-location.

You can watch “The Real Futuristic Art and Locations Kubrick Found for A Clockwork Orange” here:

Who made this?

Brooklyn-based CinemaTyler has been providing some of the most in-depth analysis of auteur-driven cinema on YouTube for some time now. The channel is devoted to understanding filmmaking through in-depth analysis, and you can check out their YouTube account here. CinemaTyler’s scholarship on Stanley Kubrick, particularly 2001: A Space Odyssey, is noteworthy, and absolutely worth seeking out.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).