Kubrick's Clockwork Orange: Relation of Film to Text


Burgess' A Clockwork Orange
SK's A Clockwork Orange: Narrative Structure
A Clockwork Orange: Filmic Transformation
A Clockwork Orange:Transcript
A Clockwork Orange: Voice-overs

The Four Basic Questions about an Adaptation

The place to begin a discussion of the art of adaptation is to examine in detail how the filmmaker uses the text in making the film. One way to do this is to ask four basic questions about the relationship between the originating text and the film:

  1. What does the film take from the text?
  2. What does the film omit from the text?
  3. What does the film add to the text?
  4. What does the film alter significantly?

What does A Clockwork Orange take from the Novel?

( For a graphic representation of the answer to this question see my annotation of the transcript: A Clockwork Orange : Transcript.)

What does A Clockwork Orange omit?

What does A Clockwork Orange add?

( For a graphic representation of the answer to this question see my annotation of the transcript: A Clockwork Orange : Transcript.)

What does A Clockwork Orange alter?

Characters

  • Alters the music and violence motif. In the novel, many different classical music pieces stimulate Alex to violence. Kubrick makes it only Beethoven's Ninth.

  • Major scenes are altered by music. Most of the violent scenes become ballet. Billyboy and Alex and his Droogs, The Surprise Visit, Alex in his room, Sex with the girls, Teaching his Droogs, the Cat Lady, Hitler and his troops.

  • Scenes altered by adding erotic dimensions, especially in the visual art and decor: The Korova Milk Bar, Alex and Ludvig van, Cat Lady and the Penis, Doctor and Nurse in the hospital scene.

  • Alters the Surprise visit by eliminating Alex's reading "A Clockwork Orange" and all discussion of the theme of the book. The scene focuses entirely on the rape and humiliation of the Writer.

  • Alex's fantasies in his room while listening to the Ninth. Changed from vicious beating and raping to scenes from B movies.

  • Alters Alex's last fantasy when he's listening to the Ninth. Instead of his violent fantasy of "carving the whole litso of the creeching world with my cut-throat britva (p. 179), Kubrick substitutes one of his dreams while undergoing his "cure": ...dreams of doing the old in-out-in-out with devotchkas, forcing like them down on the ground and making them have it and everybody standing round clapping their rookers and cheering like bezoomy (p.172). Reworks this fantasy so it isn't rape but consensual sex.