O Lucky Man

Directed By: Lindsay Anderson Starring: Malcolm McDowell

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Product Overview

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.


Studio Warner
SKU 205115564
UPC 085391200314
UPC 14 00085391200314
Format DVD
Release Date 11/8/2011
Big Business
Black Comedy
Rags To Riches
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
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.
Plot Summary
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.
Memorable Quotes
Quote "If you have a friend, on whom you can depend you are a lucky man." -- title song (ALAN PRICE)
Quote "Smile while you're makin' it| Laugh while you're takin' it| Even though you're fakin' it| Nobody's gonna know..." -- (ALAN PRICE)
Quote "Sell, sell, sell -- sell everything you stand for." -- (ALAN PRICE)
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
Uncut 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
Lindsay Anderson
Malcolm McDowell
Cast & Crew
Alan Price - Original Music By
Alan Withy - Art Director
Arthur Lowe - Actor
David Gladwell - Editor
David Sherwin - Writer
Helen Mirren - Actor
Jocelyn Herbert - Production Designer
Lindsay Anderson - Director
Malcolm McDowell - Actor
Malcolm McDowell, et. al. - Producer
Miroslav Ondricek - Cinematographer
Ralph Richardson - Actor
Technical Info
Original Release Date 1973
Catalog ID 120031
UPC 00085391200314
Number of Discs 2
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Audio Tracks English
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  1.78:1
Winner (1974) British Academy Awards, Alan Price, Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music,British Academy Awards, Arthur Lowe, Best Supporting Actor
Nominee (1974) Golden Globe, Alan Price, Best Original Score
Nominee (1973) Cannes Film Festival, Lindsay Anderson, Golden Palm Award
ReviewSource Variety
Review 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.
ReviewRating 9
ReviewSource Jigsaw Lounge
Review 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.
Reviewer Neil Young
ReviewRating 9
DVD, Special Edition, Widescreen, English, French, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
Chuck Rudolph, Matinee Magazine Courts brilliance by tempering its cynicism with a hefty dose of protracted, but never quite gullible, innocence in its main character.
Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress Rich, densely layered, disturbing, unique and strangely satisfying in a way few films ever have been.
Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide Brilliant performances. A memorable screen experience.

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