A Clockwork Orange: setting?

I watched A Clockwork Orange for the first time in a few years last night, and I’m wondering, when is it set? I always assumed that the setting was England is some not-to-distant future, but, as I was watching this time, I noticed a dirth of futuristic technology. Alex goes to a record store that sells vinyl, listens to Beethoven on a minicassette, and the writer uses an electric typewriter. In 1971 (the film’s release date), home computers must have been in the foreseeable future. And, while the home decor is borderline surreal, the characters’ fashion and hair is pretty '70s (blue wig notwithstanding). Their neckties are like 3" wide! Even Alex’s treament used nothing more technologically advanced than eye-spanners and film projectors. I’m pretty sure Burgess didn’t invent aversion therapy.

So, what gives? Usually, period props are used to give a book or movie a sense of a particulr era. In science fiction, directors/authors like to use made-up inventions for invented eras, bu it seems like Kubrick went out of his was to make the movie look its release date. I know inventions aren’t the main thrust of the movie, but other types of technology and the non-contemporary setting are crucial to the plot line. If the movie is set in the future, one’d think that Kubrick would’ve employed some mood-setters to show demonstrate that to the audience.

I haven’t read the book (I’m a simpleton, I know), but in 1962 (its release date. When is it set? The film seems to be sest in an alternate universe England in 1971. Or maybe the movie is set in a stagnant future with no new household-type products.

Any helps?

The movie is set in an england of the not-toodistant future. It’s a corrupt, one-party regime and appears to be a vaguely socialist state.

There are hints of future technology. Alex listens to Beethoven’s Ninth on a mini-cassete tape. The beggar under the bridge talks about, “men on the moon, and men spinning around in space, and there ain’t no earthly law and order no
more!” The car Alex and his droogs drive to the writer’s house, the Durango I can’t remember the number, looks futuristic and moves much faster than cars of the period.
you also have to remember that the hairstyles and clothes look 70s because, well, the movie was made in 1971 and
it’s hard to escape the influence of one’s own time.

I think it’s supposed to be vaguely dystopian; i.e. a shiny, ultra-sleek future wouldn’t sit well with the portrayal of decadence, random violence and a society comfortable with such things. I think it looks better for it. Besides, in the little Burgess I’ve read he doesn’t seem to like ultra-bizarre flights of fancy, but keeps things grounded in gritty reality.

The book and the screenplay both refer to the car mentioned above thusly: “The Durango '95 purred down the road real horrorshow.”

So you’re looking at 1995 or 1996, because the car was around to be stolen but new enough that the droogs found it exciting enought to steal.

I’ve read somewhere that it first takes place in 2000. That means that the story would have ended in 2002 or '03, because Alex is in jail for two years when he is released for the treatment. If it’s 1996, then it’s 1996-1998/99. So, roughly around 1996-2000. But that’s the movie. The book, I think, starts when he’s around 16 and ends when he is 21. There’s a missing 21 chapter in American versions, I believe which deals with Alex’s decision with stopping his hooligan ways–tossing it away like it was a toy and now he’s adult, too grown-up to pursue such childish activities.

Not to spilit hairs, but the mini-cassette and space exploration existed in the early '70s. I didn’t realize mini-cassettes were around then, but he had one is his hand, an actual answering machine-type mini-cassette, just like grandma used to make. Since he writer seems relatively well-off, don’t you think he’d have something better than an Selectric? Or, if he was nostalgic/a luddite, wouldn’t he have an old manual Remington or something? It’s orange, for Bob’s sake!

The car was a Durango 95. I tried to use that as a date, too. '95 might be the setting, but in cars, years usually come after the name, not before (e.g. an Oldsmobile 88 is not necessarily an '88 Oldsmobile). It looks a lot like a contemporary Italian roadster. I kinda like the way the other sounds, though. I drive a Volvo '84. It looks nothing like any Italian roadster ever.

Maybe we’re supposed to be thinking about the dangers of mind control and totalitarianism intead of electric typewriter and HUGE ties, but hey, one notices these things. The look of a movie setting is such an important source of information to the audience that I can’t believe a director as reportedly thorough as Kubrick would leave in such contemporary aestetic (?) influences.

Maybe the movie’s set in some surreal dateless world, like Edward Scissorhands (all '70s cars, yet CD players). I guess the date isn’t important, but if I didn’t obsess so, I might do something valuable with my time.

I always assumed that it was just after the turn of the century, say 2001/2002. The lack of ‘cool futuristic stuff’ might have been intentional so as not to distract the audience from the main point of the film. I got the feeling that he made it look very similar to the time in which it was made in order to have the audience relate to it, but different enough so that they would know that it was ‘not of the now’. I’m only 20, so when I watch it it seems to me to be of a world completely different from my own, and my appreceiation of it is on a more intellectual level as I can’t relate to it personally. I could easily imagine someone in the early 70s finding it quite chilling as a potential future from their world.

If you see what I mean… Please tell me whether or not I’m making sense. I’ve had more coffee than I should have this morning (about 5 cups) and it’s affecting the way my brain is working.

It’s great… work hasn’t been this interesting in ages :slight_smile:

FWIW, I always saw the setting to be futuristic to imply well, future events but that he left many of the contemporary touches to help emphasize the creepy, chilling thought that it wasn’t far enough in the future for it to be foreign. Kind of making the viewer feel that a world such as this was alot closer to home than he might think.

Not completely to the point, but I know WHERE a good deal of it was filmed- Brunel University- my British Alma Mater. The behav-mod scenes are in one of the main lecture theatres, the housing block is one of the engineering blocks and the ‘hospital’ room is in the same block of the dorm where I lived 71-72.

It amuses me when I watch it!