A Clockwork Orange
Kubrick originally intended an expansive biopic of Napoleon as his follow up to 2001, but after copious research, location scouting, and even enticing Jack Nicholson to portray the emperor, the project was shelved due to its hefty price tag, not to mention the recent box-office failure of Sergei Bondarchuk’s big budget epic Waterloo that mined similar terrain. Instead, Kubrick adapted Anthony Burgess’s novel about a dystopian future where roving teenage gangs terrorize London. Led by the charismatic, mop-topped Alex (Malcolm McDowell in a singular, career-defining role), these sadistic “droogs” indulge in drug-laced “milk plus” and unwind with “a bit of the old Ludwig Van” when not satiating themselves with random acts of “ultra violence.” Narrated by McDowell in Burgess’s invented Nadsat dialect and bopping to a switched-on Walter Carlos score that matches the film’s mod production design, A Clockwork Orange is perhaps Kubrick’s most stylized film. A transgressive, bleakly surreal vision of humanity’s near future, A Clockwork Orange became one of Warner Bros.' biggest box-office smashes, even though it was originally slapped with an “X” rating due to its explicit imagery. Copycat “droog” violence throughout England led to Kubrick withdrawing the film from distribution in his adopted country, where it remained embargoed until after his death in 1999.
Bing Theater | $10 for the general public; $7 for LACMA members, seniors (62+), and students with valid ID; $5 LACMA Film Club members with valid ID. | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.