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Sometimes masterpieces don’t come cheap. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: a Space Odyssey was, a slow, complex, and costly production that racked up a bill of 12 million dollars. When it opened to a polarized critical reception there was pressure on Kubrick to prove to studios he could do a lower budget film. Three years later, he delivered A Clockwork Orange on a budget of 2 million dollars. That would be like if Christopher Nolan followed up The Dark Knight with Momento. Or if Peter Jackson followed up the Lord of the Rings trilogy with Dead Alive.
So, what was it like for Kubrick to transition to making a film on a fraction of a budget of his previous project? And how did he turn in a final product that feels big and cinematic on the cheap? From simplified staging to dynamic camera movement, from inexpensive in-camera lighting schemes to greater use of handheld, Kubrick’s low-budget pivots are elegant, intuitive, and adaptive. It is, obviously, not impossible to make a masterpiece on a tight budget, but seeing how Kubrick cut corners is certainly further proof of the man’s genius.
You can watch “Kubrick’s Low-Budget Masterpiece” here:
Who made this?
Brooklyn-based CinemaTyler has been providing some of the most in-depth analysis of auteur-driven cinema on YouTube for some time now. The channel is devoted to understanding filmmaking through in-depth analysis, and you can check out their YouTube account here. CinemaTyler’s scholarship on Stanley Kubrick, particularly 2001: A Space Odyssey, is noteworthy, and absolutely worth seeking out.
More Videos Like This
- “Are We Supposed to Identify with Alex?” another video essay from CinemaTyler on A Clockwork Orange
- Turning Like Clockwork, a documentary on the making-of and cultural impact of A Clockwork Orange
- Another video from CinemaTyler about Kubrick’s process writing A Clockwork Orange
- A 1973 interview with Malcolm McDowell on A Clockwork Orange
- An investigation into the way A Clockwork Orange provides a prototype of the “glamorous psychopath” character trope
- Maybe too real right now,: a video essay from Lessons From The Screenplay titled “The Shining — Quietly Going Insane Together“