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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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- Relatedly: a video from PBS Digital on the importance of production design
- “Are We Supposed to Identify with Alex?” another video essay from CinemaTyler on A Clockwork Orange
- Here’s how the pre-production work on Blade Runner inadvertently designed the future
- Turning Like Clockwork, a documentary on the making-of and cultural impact of A Clockwork Orange
- Here’s the Kubrick Archive Oral History Project on the design of A Clockwork Orange
- What makes A Clockwork Orange a “Kubrick Movie”?
- Here’s how Christopher Nolan made the far off worlds of Interstellar feel real