A Clockwork Orange in 4K UHD, the review: Kubrick’s film (in steelbook) as you’ve never seen it before

Malcolm McDowell in a scene from MECHANICAL ORANGE, directed by Stanley Kubrick

Fifty years after its release in theaters, one of Stanley Kubrick’s most celebrated masterpieces is added to the Titans Of Cult collection, which includes not only the 4K UHD version, but also a special package with a fabulous steelbook and gadgets. And as we will see from A Clockwork Orange review in 4K UHD, the product launched by Warner Bros. Entertainment Italia undoubtedly hits the mark. The bold and shocking Kubrickian interpretation of Anthony Burgess’s novel thus arrives at what can be defined as his definitive home video edition.

An elegant package with the beautiful steelbook and two pins inside

Orange Pack

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The Titans of Cult package by A Clockwork Orange, with the steelbook and the two enamel pins inside

The edition Titans of Cult of A Clockwork Orange by Warner Bros. Entertainment Italia, presents itself in a sumptuous way, with an elegant plastic packaging, which recalling the film is in milky white color, inside which we find the beautiful collectible steelbook containing two discs, one with the 4K UHD version and the other with HD blu-ray with extras. It should be emphasized that the plastic box has the title in Italian and also the discs inside have the orange artwork localized in our language. Inside the box, in addition to the aforementioned steelbook, also the traditional gadgets of the necklace, on this occasion two enameled metal pins that recall themes inherent to the film.

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4K video: a clear leap in quality in contrast, detail and chroma

McDowell in a MECHANICAL ORANGE scene

McDowell in a MECHANICAL ORANGE scene

But obviously, in addition to the form, there is the content. And there is no doubt that the most awaited evolutionary step is the one concerning the video, given that A Clockwork Orange had not yet landed in the magical world of 4K UHD. Don’t forget that Stanley Kubrick’s film dates back 50 years, so don’t expect the sharpness and detail of recent digital products. That said, it must be said that the 4K version, which strictly respects the 1.66: 1 aspect ratio, represents a very clear leap in quality compared to blu-ray. The picture is thicker on all parameters, from the denser, organic and natural grain, to the certainly sharper detail both in close-ups and on the backdrops, to the much greater contrast.

Paul Farrell, Warren Clarke, Malcolm McDowell, James Marcus and Michael Tarn in a scene from the film MECHANICAL ORANGE

Paul Farrell, Warren Clarke, Malcolm McDowell, James Marcus and Michael Tarn in a scene from the film MECHANICAL ORANGE

But above all there is a decidedly more variegated and intense colorimetry thanks to HDR: the shades are richer, the colors brighter and more saturated, shades emerge that previously seemed like caged, the white is brighter while the black is deeper. In short, overall a robust step forward, from which a more balanced and natural picture emerges, which does not falter even in the darkest scenes such as that of the initial aggression. For the rest, if sometimes a certain softness prevails, especially at the edges of the image, if not even blur, this is due solely to the shot and to the well-known extreme shooting techniques with particular angles, and on this the pouring obviously does not center. nothing.

James Marcus, Michael Tarn, Malcolm McDowell and Warren Clarke and in a scene from MECHANICAL ORANGE

James Marcus, Michael Tarn, Malcolm McDowell and Warren Clarke and in a scene from MECHANICAL ORANGE

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Less stunning audio, but still satisfying

Malcolm McDowell in a legendary scene from MECHANICAL ORANGE

Malcolm McDowell in a legendary scene from MECHANICAL ORANGE

Less striking theaudio, which for the Italian track remains anchored to Dolby Digital 5.1 with the historic Italian dubbing, while for the English track there is the DTS HD Master Audio 5.1. Already the original track is not one of those that impress, with a modest use of surrounds and basses, even if the front axle is quite open and pleasant in some effects, and especially in the soundtrack it is engaging. Although the dialogues are perhaps more natural and balanced in the mono track present. Even in Italian, the listening is obviously rather limited in frequency, with somewhat muffled dialogues and the overall rendering a little flat, far from the richness of modern multichannel tracks, although still clean and always pleasant, without major smudges.

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The extras: two and a half hours of contributions, but nothing new

Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, James Marcus, Adrienne Corri, Warren Clarke and Michael Tarn in a scene from MECHANICAL ORANGE

Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, James Marcus, Adrienne Corri, Warren Clarke and Michael Tarn in a scene from MECHANICAL ORANGE

The extras, which are all on the blu-ray disc, are the old ones that were already in the HD edition, but it is still over two and a half hours of material. We also find the audio commentary by Malcolm McDowell and Nick Redman, which unfortunately is not subtitled. Regular subtitles instead in the other contributions, starting with the documentary Still Tickin ‘: A Clockwork Orange is back, which lasts 44 minutes and is a very interesting and comprehensive analysis of the film, its themes and meanings, all dealing with Kubrick’s intentions, Anthony Burgess’ original 1962 novel, the controversial release of the film and its influences on modern cinema.

Malcolm McDowell in a scene from MECHANICAL ORANGE (1971)

Malcolm McDowell in a scene from MECHANICAL ORANGE (1971)

Following Great Bolshy Yarblockos!: il making of (28 ‘), a look at the making, production and legacy of A Clockwork Orange, with interventions by famous directors discussing Kubrick’s approach to Burgess’s text and language, the challenges faced during filming, photography , music and work on the set. To close, in addition to the trailer, the long documentary in HD Oh, lucky Malcolm! (on the menu improperly called Interview with Malcolm McDowell, while the title is right on the band), which lasts 86 minutes and explores the life and career of Malcolm McDowell far and wide, with interviews and memories of the same actor but also of many characters of the cinema.

Conclusions

As we saw in the review of A Clockwork Orange in 4K UHD, the Titans of Cult edition by Warner allows you to see the cult of Stanley Kubrick as never before, with a video that despite the limitations of age and footage is a true splendor and marks a clear leap in quality compared to blu-ray for detail and chromatic intensity. The audio is discreet but less convincing, while the extra department repeats the old contributions with over two and a half hours of material.

Because we like it

  • The steelbook is really beautiful and as a gadget there are two pins.
  • 4K video brings new luster to the movie.
  • The leap in quality is clear in contrast, detail and chroma.
  • There are over two and a half hours of extras.

What’s wrong

  • The audio is discreet, but the weight of the years is felt.
  • There are no new special content.

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