- The Test Of Time 8/26/2005 12:00:00 AM by ccrivelli2005
It became my favorite film the day I saw it for the first time, 22 years ago! It still is. I saw it again on video a week ago and here it is, traveling through my brain as a familiar song with constant new messages. Malcolm McDowell and Lindsay Anderson had blown us away with "If..." a couple of years before. But if "If..." was the courting, marriage and honeymoon of two great artists, "O Lucky Man" is a confirmation of a great love story. I know there are a few other members of this menage, David Sherwin for instance or the amazing group of superb British character actors from Mona Washbourne to Helen Mirren but the incomparable presence of McDowell inhabiting Anderson's universe makes this "O Lucky Man" one of the happiest movie adventures of my movie going life. As you may have noticed, I haven't told you anything about the film, I just wanted to share my thoughts hoping to wet your appetite. If you haven't seen it, don't miss it.
- An overlooked, strangely upbeat satirical masterpiece. 3/4/2002 12:00:00 AM by miloc
This remarkable, often overlooked film deserves a higher critical reputation than it has largely received. It represents a blossoming of the themes introduced in "if..." (the previous film in Anderson's trilogy) and a playful, even strangely upbeat reworking of those ideas.
"if..." was an explosion of the subconscious, repression fermenting into fantasized revolution; in "O Lucky Man!" the repression has matured into deep, abiding social, political, and economic corruption-- but the fantasies have matured as well. Mick Travis's journey through early '70s England features calamity after calamity, atrocity piled onto atrocity, but it feels lighter than air. It rises like a joke-filled balloon. That vantage point gives the viewer the two advantages unavailable to Travis: wisdom and perspective, and the film's humor comes from the distance between us and the characters scurrying below. (But the film is not, I think, cynical; the road to enlightenment may be hard one but the film makes it clear that it's not unreachable.)
Surrounding Malcolm McDowell's indefatigable Candide of a hero, the supporting cast flows in and out of their multiple roles like a comic repertory company, in which the same actors show up in scene after scene shuffled into a new assortment of scoundrels, con-artists, victims and sages, climaxing (don't worry, I'm not going to spoil it) in a beautiful, subtle joke which has to be seen to be understood.
From the silent-movie pastiches through Price's terrific songs (the music is used admirably) through wild, spontaneous moments of parody, uninhibited symbolic flourishes, and a few small scenes of genuine poignancy, "O Lucky Man!" deserves to be recognized as one of the great films of the 1970s, and perhaps of all time. It's certainly one of my personal favorites. Movies, I think, though bigger than ever, have become smaller and smaller at heart; more films should have the ambitions this film does and deliver on so many of them.
- O Lucky Me 3/13/2004 12:00:00 AM by marcosaguado
To see this film again has been a monumental thrill. Lindsay Anderson, what an extraordinary director. IF. THIS SPORTING LIFE. BRITANNIA HOSPITAL. THE WHALES OF AUGUST. So very few films, but each one of them, a journey of discovery. Entertaining but angry and provoking. His repertory of actors, from Malcolm McDowell his star and, I imagine, his lover to Arthur Lowe. The Anderson-McDowell collaborations deserve an in depth study. Very rarely a director and actor can bring such glories from each other. De Niro and Scorsese. Von Stemberg and Dietrich. Kazan and Brando and very few others. The joys of Rachel Roberts, Ralph Richardson, Helen Mirren, Mona Washbourne and a cast of a thousand glorious British character actors. The film is so filled with surprises that you don't want ever to end.
- Everyone is going through changes - No one knows what's going on. -And everybody changes places-But the world still carries on. (Alan Price) 6/18/2004 12:00:00 AM by Galina_movie_fan
Lindsay Anderson + Malcolm McDowell + Alan Price = O, Lucky Me!
What films do we include in our top lists? The ones that affected us in some very personal way or changed something ? not, maybe our lives but the way we watch movies.
"O Lucky Man!" (1973), directed by Lindsay Anderson (with Ralph Richardson, Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren) is a constant source of joy when I watch it again and again. Off I go with Mick Travis (McDowell) in his crazy surreal journey up and down, back and forth, "around the world in circles" along with the Alan Price's band that provide the music commentaries in the traditions of a Greek Chorus or Brecht's Theater (whichever you prefer). And in the end we find themselves in?. Well, can't tell you. You have to find out for yourself.
I saw it again yesterday, and it still stands as one of my favorite films. This time, though, I noticed that it was much darker than I remember. The good things and the bad things happen to our hero, Mick Travis, and I think that he really changed - he started to think more and smile less. The look on his face in the end of the move after asked to smile was not that charming, winning smile that he had in the beginning. It was pain, confusion, and anger.
Wonderful film - I am never tired of it. Even though, I know all the turns on the Mick's way to the top and back, it is still so interesting to watch him. I believe it was best McDowell's performance. I know that his most famous one was in Kubrick's Clockwork Orange but my favorite is the everyman Mick Travis who just wanted to succeed.
Young Helen Mirren was lovely as Patricia who traveled in her own crazy circles; the rest of the cast did great job, each of them playing more than one character.
Alan Price - I love his songs to the film very much. Possibly the best use of a rock soundtrack in a film. I am a proud CD owner and I listen to it constantly in my car. It is short, unfortunately.(sigh)
"O Lucky Man!" is one of the best unfairly forgotten films ever.
I remember when I saw it for the first time in the theater, I did not know anything about it ? I just liked the title. The girl who was next in line to the box office said to me, "You will like it ? it is a very cool movie, I saw it already." Where ever she is today ? I want to thank her.
- Classic cinema that makes you stop, listen and learn. 5/9/2005 12:00:00 AM by Pedro_H
A coffee salesman takes a rambling tour of 1970's Britain.
There comes a time when you think you know something about movies: What is good, what is bad, how things should go, how things should work, etc., etc. Thank goodness a movie comes along now and again that says "no you don't - you know nothing!" Oh Lucky Man! is like Pulp Fiction and High Hopes - it is a smarter film than you are a film watcher.
After a build up like that you might expect for me to say that this is a perfect film or that everything works. But it doesn't. The story rambles and pauses, moves left and right and tries to keep the audience on its toes. The humour is mostly black, but very true to life. People are often selfish and acting for themselves - while Travis (our hero - if we can call him that) is quite kind and thoughtful. Like an Adam that has been put in to the modern world rather than the garden of Eden.
I have seen this film twice. Like many films, once when I was too young to understand it. It is quite sexual graphic at times and that stuck in my memory for a long time. In one scene a black man plays out a scene at a sex club - and to this day I am puzzled as to what this represents. That the entirely white audience see the black as an entertainer to laughed at or cheered. That this is his only place?
Most anything-goes films are comedies, and while this has plenty of black comedy, I see it as social comment. Life has moved on from the 1970's, people have escaped their own class more, women have more of a role to play, people get away with things less. But no one can say - even viewing today - that it doesn't tell plenty of home truths about the UK.
(People that live outside the UK and never visit must be puzzled by what goes on here. I bet you would have to answer hundreds of questions if you watched it beside, say, an American.)
Lindsey Anderson sees all authority as being violent, ugly and corrupt. This is the kick in the balls society that existed before CCTV in police stations and human rights acts. Where people were fitted up for crimes that the police knew they couldn't have committed. I never wanted to walk down a time tunnel to 1970's Britain and this film is probably the last tie I have to that ugly and desperate decade.
Oh Lucky Man! is one of the best films ever made. It has something that few films ever have - instant cult appeal. You could watch this over and over again and not get bored with it, see something different and learn something new. They should bring it back as a musical or a stage play. While not every scene works and not every tune pleases, it is cinema from another world that we never quite had - but might have had if only the money men of Hollywood hadn't made their ugly mark on the world.
If you think film is about anything more than simple entertainment Oh Lucky Man! is a must-see...