Combustible Celluloid
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With: Malcolm McDowell, Ralph Richardson, Rachel Roberts, Arthur Lowe, Helen Mirren, Graham Crowden, Peter Jeffrey, Dandy Nichols, Mona Washbourne, Philip Stone, Mary MacLeod, Michael Bangerter, Wallas Eaton, Warren Clarke, Bill Owen, Michael Medwin, Vivian Pickles, Geoffrey Palmer, Geoffrey Chater, Anthony Nicholls, Brian Glover, Edward Judd, Pearl Nunez, Jeremy Bulloch, David Daker, Edward Peel, Alan Price, Colin Green, Clive Thacker, Dave Markee, Ian Leake
Written by: David Sherwin, based on an idea by Malcolm McDowell
Directed by: Lindsay Anderson
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 178
Date: 03/26/1973

O Lucky Man! (1973)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Smell the Coffee

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After their successful collaboration on If... (1968), Malcolm McDowell approached director Lindsay Anderson about working together again. Anderson told him that good scripts don't grow on trees and that he needed to write his own, so McDowell concocted a yarn out of his own life story (even though he was only thirty). The screenwriter David Sherwin wrote the final script, and O Lucky Man! was born. It's as audacious as anything made in the 1970s, running three hours without much of a plot. McDowell plays Mick Travis, a promising young man who gets a job as a coffee salesman. His employment doesn't last long, however, as he soon begins following fate rather than any kind of plan. He's kidnapped and questioned, he signs up for a bizarre medical experiment (but escapes) and meets the beautiful, carefree daughter (Helen Mirren) of a sinister entrepreneur (Ralph Richardson). In the end, a homeless mob attacks him and he auditions for a part in a movie. The satirical point is that Mick's naked ambition to rise in society is beaten down by society itself. Most actors play more than one role, as if their re-appearances help drive home this idea. McDowell is a perfect foil for all the insanity, charging ahead with his particular brand of confidence and inexperience, while Anderson seems to luxuriate in the bizarre mood and ample running time. Alan Price, the keyboardist for the Animals, appears as himself and plays several tunes.

DVD Details: In late 2007 Warner Home Video released this movie on a two-disc DVD set in conjunction with its remastered A Clockwork Orange. Both DVDs include the great new documentary O Lucky Malcolm!, directed by Jan Harlan. O Lucky Man! is broken up over both discs and contains a commentary track by McDowell, Alan Price and screenwriter Sherwin. There is also a vintage featurette and a trailer.{subid}&url=hitlist.asp?searchfield=marvel
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