O Lucky Man! Lindsay Anderson

O Lucky Man! Lindsay Anderson

For O Lucky Man!, Malcolm McDowell returns to his debut role as Mick Travis, the rebellious high school student first introduced in the critically-acclaimed If..., although the loose connection of character is all that holds these two movies (and the final film in the trilogy, Britannia Hospital) together. Here, the story of Voltaire’s Candide merges with Malcolm McDowell’s pre-acting adventures as a coffee salesman. His surreal adventures are used as a satirical critique of British society, skewering the money hungry, the rich, the poor, the prison system, the military and much more. At nearly three hours, the movie has many long moments of drama powered by intense moments of comedic consequence taken from reality and expanded on exponentially. The surreal aspects are further underpinned by the small selection of actors in a variety of roles throughout, as well as the inclusion of the Animals keyboardist Alan Price and his band acting as a Greek chorus of sorts, providing commentary to the action via songs integrated into the movie as rehearsal sessions. This even brings them into contact with Mick Travis around the midway point. O Lucky Man!, a career highlight for both the actor and director, holds up extremely well, its condemnations being just as valuable today as they were more than 20 years ago. The addition of an informative new commentary by McDowell, Price and screenwriter David Sherwin, as well as a new feature-length featurette on McDowell, and a vintage featurette on the movie, make for an even better package, although there’s a bit of repetitiveness between the commentary and the McDowell documentary. As well, considering the importance of the music to the film, the sound could have been much improved; I had my TV and surround sound at volumes higher than normal just to hear the conversations. Still, it was worth the hassle. (Warner)