Clockwork Orange, A

WSR Score5
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Warner Home Video
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Stanley Kubrick
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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From Anthony Burgess's novel comes Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, the future-shock thriller about Alex (McDowell), a derby-topped thug who leads his gang of "droogs" in the pursuit of sex, drugs, and extreme violence. When he is caught for committing a brutal crime, Alex is forced to undergo an experimental treatment to eradicate his violent tendencies. Frightening and far too violent for some, A Clockwork Orange is a provocative classic from a legendary director. (Laurie Sevano)

Special features include commentary by Malcolm McDowell and Historian Nick Redman; four featurettes: Still Tickin': The Return Of Clockwork Orange (SD 43:42), Great Bolshy Yarblockos! (SD 28:19), Turning Like Clockwork (HD 26:19), and Malcolm McDowell Looks Back (HD 10:30); the theatrical trailer; BD-Live functionality; and a digital copy of the film.

First reviewed in Issue 34 as a non-anamorphically enhanced dual-layered DVD matted at 1.55:1, the socking imagery was mediocre. While fine detail was wanting, color fidelity was presented with natural fleshtones, rich hues, and deep blacks. Some interior scenes appeared plugged-up, with distracting compression pixilation, moiré patterns, and video artifacts. The non-anamorphic 1.66:1 DVD reviewed in Issue 51 exhibited subtle, yet noticeable differences in the vibrancy of color and smoothness of the picture, when compared to the previously issued non-anamorphic DVD. Colors were bolder and more vivid, with good balance and deep blacks. Fleshtones were generally accurate, though, a bit reddish at times. Images were generally sharp, with good detail, contrast, and shadow delineation. Still, there were instances in which fine details shimmered slightly and some pixilation was detected. Occasional source element artifacts were noticed. This release exhibits the same 1.66:1 1080p VC-1 picture as that released previously on Blu-ray Disc™. The color palette is strongly saturated with rich and vivid hues, though, entities are inconsistent from scene to scene. The colors are very bold, and blacks are deep and mostly solid. Fleshtones remain reddish in tone. Resolution also remains inconsistent, with some segments and close-ups nicely detailed and others softly focused. Noise is better controlled and artifacts are less distracting. While the presentation far surpasses the DVD releases and is effectively the best presentation of the film available on home video, a full restoration should be an improvement. (Gary Reber)

Issue 34's DVD soundtrack was presented in Dolby® Digital 1.0 mono. The fidelity was appropriately dated for a 1971 film, with a predominance of background hiss. Dialogue was intelligible but compressed and distorted. Bass extension was limited and sounded boomy. Issue 51's Dolby Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack was a remastering effort for which the primary element of dimension was the re-purposed stereo music, which was quite nicely spread around the soundstage. The surrounds were utilized actively, sometimes prominently, and served to effectively envelop the listener and enliven the soundfield. Otherwise, the audio was focused toward mono, with subtle directionality, for a gentle sense of atmosphere. The original soundtrack's limited characteristics were apparent in that remastering and some background hiss and hum could occasionally be noticed. Nonetheless, the noticeable improvement over the vintage mono audio, with the incorporation of the multichannel music, was readily noticed. The .1 LFE was utilized quite frequently for the music, and the low-end presence was notable. As with the previous LPCM soundtrack, this transfer to lossless DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1 is essentially the same. The classical music score sounds "bright" overall and sans the bass. LFE energy is limited in this presentation. Dialogue is crisp and intelligible but generally thin sounding. McDowell's narration, however, is well balanced. Surround envelopment is subtle and comprised of the original monaural element. The soundtrack retains a dated presence and is a reminder of the age of the film and the production limitations. (Gary Reber)