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kottke.org posts about A Clockwork Orange

RIP, Pablo Ferro

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 19, 2018

Film & design legend Pablo Ferro died this weekend at the age of 83. Ferro was known for designing the iconic opening title sequences for Dr. Strangelove and Bullitt (among others).

He also designed what is probably my favorite movie trailer, for A Clockwork Orange:

I wrote about Ferro’s work with Stanley Kubrick in this post 10 years ago. From a piece by Steven Heller that I linked to in the post:

Kubrick wanted to film it all using small airplane models (doubtless prefiguring his classic space ship ballet in 2001: A Space Odyssey). Ferro dissuaded him and located the official stock footage that they used instead. Ferro further conceived the idea to fill the entire screen with lettering (which incidentally had never been done before), requiring the setting of credits at different sizes and weights, which potentially ran counter to legal contractual obligations. But Kubrick supported it regardless. On the other hand, Ferro was prepared to have the titles refined by a lettering artist, but Kubrick correctly felt that the rough hewn quality of the hand-drawn comp was more effective. So he carefully lettered the entire thing himself with a thin pen.

The Art of the Title also interviewed Ferro about the Strangelove opening credits.

The titles for Strangelove were last-minute; I didn’t have much time to produce it. It came up because of a conversation between Stanley and I. Two weeks after I finished with everything, he and I were talking. He asked me what I thought about human beings. I said one thing about human beings is that everything that is mechanical, that is invented, is very sexual. We looked at each other and realized — the B-52, refueling in mid-air, of course, how much more sexual can you get?! He loved the idea. He wanted to shoot it with models we had, but I said let me take a look at the stock footage, I am sure that [the makers of those planes] are very proud of what they did and, sure enough, they had shot the plane from every possible angle.

Update: The Art of the Title also did a huge three-part interview with Ferro as a career retrospective. Great deep dive into a substantial career.

Classic Movies in Miniature Style

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 11, 2014

For his Classic Movies in Miniature Style series, Murat Palta illustrated scenes from movies using traditional Ottoman motifs. Here’s A Clockwork Orange and Kill Bill:

Murat Palta Clockwork

Murat Palta Kill Bill

Great stuff. (via @pieratt)

Kubrick invented the box office report

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 18, 2012

Stanley Kubrick’s meticulousness about his movies extended right on down to how they were marketed. When A Clockwork Orange came out in the US, he spent weeks crunching theater ticket grosses to figure out which theaters the film should play in.

Clockwork would be shown in standard cinemas as a quality platform release, which meant there were many options per city. I knew that Don Rugoff’s Cinema 1, the most prestigious cinema in New York, had to be the New York theater, but how to be sure that the film would be booked into the best cinema in Indianapolis or Cleveland or Atlanta? To choose the right theater in each city, we needed to know which cinema sold the most tickets to the most interesting pictures. But while a studio would know what its own films grossed, detailed box-office figures of competitive films were closely held secrets. There was no comparative information, and that is exactly what Stanley wanted.

Influenced by Kubrick’s system, Variety released their first nation box office rankings chart a few months later. (via df)

Seizure-inducing opening credit sequence

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 28, 2010

You aren’t going to believe the opening credit sequence for Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void (make sure you can hear the sound too):

Really well done but there’s a 95% chance you’ll hate this. Ok, more like 98%. Reminds me of the still-brilliant trailer for A Clockwork Orange…but what a difference the music makes. (thx, jim)