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O Lucky Man (1973)

Director: Lindsay Anderson     Starring: Malcolm McDowell
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Learn more about O Lucky Man:

Format: DVD
Sku: 205115564
UPC: 085391200314
UPC 14: 00085391200314
See more in Drama
Malcolm McDowell provides the original idea for and stars as wide-eyed innocent (not for long) Mick Travis in Lindsay Anderson's epic comedy O Lucky Man! Armed with ambition and a work ethic, coffee salesman Mick hits the road and finds that desire alone can't bring wealth and status. He meets rich and poor alike...and finds cunning and cruelty across the social spectrum. Ralph Richardson, Helen Mirren, Arthur Lowe, Rachel Roberts, Mona Washbourne and other stars in multiple roles knit Mick's picaresque adventures together. And commenting with wit and irony is Alan Price, providing a memorable song score. Once you meet Mick, you're the lucky one.

"Courts brilliance by tempering its cynicism with a hefty dose of protracted, but never quite gullible, innocence in its main character.  Chuck Rudolph, Matinee Magazine
"Rich, densely layered, disturbing, unique and strangely satisfying in a way few films ever have been.  Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress
"Brilliant performances. A memorable screen experience.  Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide

Editor's Note
Lindsay Anderson, working again with Malcolm McDowell and Robert Sherwin, continues his comic comment on corruption in British society when Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell), the school boy from IF. . ., sets out, like a modern Candide, to make his way in the business world. Anderson stretches the boundaries of cinema with an eclectic use of movies within movies, silent-film-style title cards, surreal fantasies, actors playing multiple parts, and a live soundtrack. Alan Price appears on screen singing several songs. In the lyrics to one song he sings, "Someone has to win in the human race, if it isn't you, then it has to be me," which is thematically linked to Mick's rise and fall in his career journey from lowly coffee salesman to assistant to Sir James Burgess (Ralph Richardson), the most evil man in the world.

This is a very fast-paced, wildly creative, cinematic tour-de-force that set the standard for expanding the boundaries of British cinema in the early 1970s. McDowell, who is on screen in almost every scene, keeps the bizarre situations from overwhelming the human emotions with a marvelously expressive performance. In the end, with a sly Zen message, Anderson tells us that in a crazy world we can only look within ourselves for a reason to smile.


Video Features DVD, Special Edition, Widescreen, English, French, Subtitled

Technical Info

Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Warner
Video Release Date Release Date: 11/8/2011
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 1973
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 120031
Video UPC UPC: 00085391200314
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 2

Audio & Video
Video Original Language Original Language: English
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks: English
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio Anamorphic Widescreen  1.78:1
Entertainment Reviews
Expert Review O Lucky Man! - DVD Review
By: Christopher Null DVD Reviews
Published on: 5/8/2009 5:39 PM
Countless "human pinball" movies (think After Hours) owe a deep debt to O Lucky Man! Complex, fascinating, and even a bit confusing, the film is a sprawling, three-hour adventure that will quite literally have you guessing until the very end. After an opening vignette that tells us exactly what it means to be "unlucky," we meet our "lucky" hero: Michael Travis (Malcolm McDowell) a sales trainee for a British coffee company. His first day on the job, that inimitable McDowell smile lands him an instant position in the field as a traveling sales rep serving the northeast part of the full review

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Arthur Lowe
Video Cast Info Helen Mirren
Video Cast Info Malcolm McDowell
Video Cast Info Ralph Richardson
Video Cast Info Alan Price - Original Music By
Video Cast Info Alan Withy - Art Director
Video Cast Info David Gladwell - Editor
Video Cast Info David Sherwin - Writer
Video Cast Info Jocelyn Herbert - Production Designer
Video Cast Info Lindsay Anderson - Director
Video Cast Info Malcolm McDowell, et. al. - Producer
Video Cast Info Miroslav Ondricek - Cinematographer
Plot Summary
In O LUCKY MAN!, young Mick Travis, a trainee sales rep for a coffee company, earnestly begins his journey up the ladder of success, and has a wild series of misadventures along the way. Travis becomes a political scapegoat for his girlfriend's father, and almost gets mutilated when a surgeon tries to use him as a human guinea pig in a questionable scientific experiment. Then Travis finds religion and goes on another ill-fated mission to save souls. But, in the end, he falls on his feet again, and realizes that he's a very lucky man indeed, just to be alive.


Winner (1974)
   Video Award Name British Academy Awards, Alan Price, Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music
   Video Award Name British Academy Awards, Arthur Lowe, Best Supporting Actor

Nominee (1974)
   Video Award Name Golden Globe, Alan Price, Best Original Score

Nominee (1973)
   Video Award Name Cannes Film Festival, Lindsay Anderson, Golden Palm Award

Memorable Quotes

"If you have a friend, on whom you can depend you are a lucky man." ---- title song (ALAN PRICE)

"Smile while you're makin' it| Laugh while you're takin' it| Even though you're fakin' it| Nobody's gonna know..." ---- (ALAN PRICE)

"Sell, sell, sell ---- sell everything you stand for." ---- (ALAN PRICE)

Professional Reviews

Film Comment
"There are moments worthy of Bunuel here....This is Anderson at his peak, surrounded by a great cast playing multiple roles..." 09/01/2007 p.75

Sight and Sound
"[N]owhere in cinema will you find such a bleak worldview infused with such infectious, ebullient, indomitable joy, attentive to the magical propensities of life even when at its darkest." 01/01/2008 p.96

4 stars out of 5 -- "The result is a brilliant, rambling dissection of religion, politics, philosophy, sex; the whole kitchen sink..." 06/01/2008 p.125

Variety 9 of 10
No less than an epic look at society is created in Lindsay Anderson's third and most provocative film. It is in the form of a human comedy on a perky, ambitious but conformist young man using society's ways to get to the top...Malcolm McDowell, though practically on screen throughout, displays a solid grasp of character and nuances. He is first a salesman, then guinea pig to science, assistant to a great business tycoon, railroaded to prison as a fall guy, converted to near saintliness, almost martyred and then returned to conformism by an almost mystical reaching of understanding through a Zen-Buddhist-like happening...The film bows to various film greats but always assimilated to Anderson's own brand of epic comedy. The music and songs of Alan Price also add by underlining and counterpointing the action...Ralph Richardson gives his pointed aplomb to the rich man and as a wise old tailor who gives the hero a golden suit; Rachel Roberts is a sexy personnel chief, rich society mistress and a poverty row housefrau who commits suicide with expert balance in all. In fact, all are good, especially Helen Mirren as the way-out rich girl and Arthur Lowe as an unctous African potentate.

Jigsaw Lounge 9 of 10
Director Anderson explicitly presents O Lucky Man! as a sprawling state-of-the-nation polemic: his vision is of Britain as a semi-moribund zone of ennui, increasingly out of place in a world it once dominated. The days of Empire seem long gone: instead the country seems to hover on the verge of some final, cataclysmic collapse...O Lucky Man! would work just fine as a double-bill companion to Jorge Grau's similarly bleak vision of an anomie-plagued England, 1974's gleefully gory The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue...But what really holds the picture together is Anderson's tone: snarky, sarky, scabrously sour, pitilessly misanthropic, bluntly Swiftian in his extremity and excess. He can barely suppress a sardonic sneer when he appears (as himself) during the glibly self-referential finale, in which Travis is "cast" as the hero in Anderson's new project O Lucky Man! This process involves Travis/McDowell being brusquely smacked across the head with the script by Anderson... and while the audience may feel like they've endured a similar kind of assault, we, like Travis, realise we're better off for the experience. - Neil Young

Product Attributes

Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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