Blu-Ray Review: Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ Gets 40th Anniversary Treatment

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CHICAGO – To coincide with the Blu-ray box set of Stanley Kubrick films (including “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Shining,” and eight more films), Warner Bros. has released a very special edition of “A Clockwork Orange,” timed to the four-decade anniversary of one of the most influential movies ever made. With stellar new special features, a great transfer, and a timeless film, this is one of the best Blu-ray releases of the year to date. Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0

Honestly, what more could I possibly add to the conversation about “A Clockwork Orange”? It’s one of the most written-about films of the last fifty years and one of the most important of its era. I don’t think it’s a perfect film but it’s undeniably one of the most influential of all time. One of my favorite bits in the excellent collection of special features on this release features a writer who only saw the film for the first time two years ago and couldn’t get over how much of it reminded him of movies made since 1971.

As for those special features, they are spectacular, particularly a new one called “Turning Like Clockwork,” in which many of the major players (including Malcolm McDowell) and filmmakers inspired by the movie (including Oliver Stone) discuss its making and its importance. McDowell is a spectacular interview subject and the piece is very well-made, serving as both informational and in appropriate awe of its subject matter. Older bonus material is also included (a Channel Four documentary and a vintage featurette) along with a great commentary by McDowell and Historian Nick Redman.

A Clockwork Orange: Anniversary Edition was released on Blu-Ray on May 31, 2011
A Clockwork Orange: Anniversary Edition was released on Blu-Ray on May 31, 2011
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Home Video

What most people who love “A Clockwork Orange” are going to care about is how amazing the film looks in HD. One of the special features notes how Kubrick purposefully included shots that he knew would become iconic and memorable. Seeing those images in HD can be jaw-dropping. Kubrick is one of the form’s best filmmakers, particularly for the way he could frame an image like a work of art. In other words, he was HD before there was HD.

Stomping, whomping, stealing, singing, tap-dancing, violating. Derby-topped teddy-boy hooligan Alex (Malcolm McDowell) has his own way of having a good time - at the tragic expense of others. His journey from amoral punk to brainwashed proper citizen and back again forms the dynamic arc of Stanley Kubrick’s future-shock vision of Anthony Burgess’ novel. Controversial when first released, A Clockwork Orange won New York Film Critics Best Picture and Director awards and earned four Oscar nominations, including best picture. Its power still entices, shocks and holds us in its grasp.

Special Features:
o Malcolm McDowell Looks Back
o Turning Like Clockwork Considers the Film’s Ultraviolence and Its Cultural Impact
o Commentary by Malcolm McDowell and Historian Nick Redman
o Channel Four Documentary Still Tickin’: The Return Of Clockwork Orange
o Featurette Great Bolshy Yarblockos!: Making A Clockwork Orange
o Theatrical Trailer

“A Clockwork Orange” stars Malcolm McDowell, Patrick MaGee, Adrienne Corri, and Miriam Karlin. It was written by Anthony Burgess and directed by Stanley Kubrick. It was released on Blu-ray on May 31st, 2011. content director Brian Tallerico

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