A Clockwork Orange (Film)

From Biblio to Sinny: How Faithful an Adaptation is Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange? College

John Huston’s 1941 version of the classic private detective tale The Maltese Falcon remains one of the most faithful film adaptations of any novel ever turned into a movie in Hollywood history. Entire chunks of dialogue by not just leader character Sam Space but every other major character are lifted straight out of Dashiell Hammett’s novel placed verbatim into the mouths of actors recreating scenes just as they are found within the pages of the novel. Dialogue is just one element of a work literary fiction that can determines the faithfulness of a film adaptation, however. In the case of A Clockwork Orange, creating a faithful film adaptation in the manner of The Maltese Falcon was made practically impossible by the author, Anthony Burgess. His invented language that mashes up slang, Russian and some elements of Gypsy for his character—a language he termed Nadsat--densely populates the book’s descriptive elements as well as its dialogue to the point that a glossary must be consulted every few scenes.

Trying to transfer such incomprehensibility intact to the screen would prove not only impossible, but pointless since the primary point of Nadsat is to allow the reader to disengage from the endlessly bleak and violent narrative....

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