What is the attraction of violence? What is the relationship between real and imagined violence? What should be the state's response to both? These questions are raised by Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971). The film is a graphically violent, sexually explicit, wickedly funny, visually stunning and deeply ambiguous adaptation of Anthony Burgess's 1962 novel. A Clockwork Orange became one of the biggest hits of the early 1970s and was widely acclaimed as a masterpiece. At the same time, it was the target of extraordinary critical attacks, which condemned its apparent message about human nature and its presumed negative impact on young cinemagoers. Drawing on new research in the Stanley Kubrick Archive, Peter Kramer's study explores the production, marketing and reception as well as the themes and style of A Clockwork Orange against the backdrop of Kubrick's previous work and wider developments in British and American cinema, culture and society from the 1950s to the early 1970s. 'This is a remarkable and highly unusual book.
Kramer turns aside from the endlessly repeated queries about whether a film like A Clockwork Orange might 'cause people to go out and rape', and asks instead: how does this film participate in that very debate? What philosophy of human nature drove Kubrick to construct the film? Kramer takes us into the film's detailed construction, so we can judge its contribution for ourselves.' Martin Barker, Aberystwyth University Peter Kramer is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK. He is the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey in the BFI Film Classics series (2010) and The New Hollywood: From Bonnie and Clyde to Star Wars (2005).