DVD: O Lucky Man!

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Long out-of-print on videotape, Warner Home Video finally released the long-awaited Lindsay Anderson masterpiece "O LUCKY MAN!" in a 2 disc Special Edition for the first time on DVD in the fall of 2007. One of the best films you've never seen; as relevant today as it was when it was made. The film vanished into obscurity because it was too big, too strange, and too much for its time. (Politically and socially, its time was very much like our time today) Independent filmmaker Lindsay Anderson's big-budget epic, after a long career in independent film and London stage directing, as well as his part as a social documentary filmmaker in Britain's "Free Cinema" movement of the 1950's.

Features on this special edition 2 disc DVD include:
Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation
English and French subtitles
Commentary by Malcolm McDowell, Alan Price and Screenwriter David Sherwin.
New Feature-length Career Profile: "O Lucky Malcolm!" Produced/Directed by Jan Harlan, edited by Katia de Vidas
Vintage featurette "O Lucky Man - Innovations in Entertainment"
Theatrical Trailer


"At first glimpse the film seems very British, but the essence of the story is universal... The amazing thing, which is really a tribute to the great man [director] Lindsay Anderson is that even though the film is [more than 3 decades] old, it isn't dated at all. In fact it has become even more relevant today with medical experimentation on humans and cloning that was going on in the film. Malcolm [McDowell] said in New York, 'The only thing that dates the film is the cars.' ... When Mick enters the busy streets [of Leicester Square, London] at the end, an [illuminated] news ticker [on a building] goes by that reads 'Troops and Terrorists Clash.' This really hits home, as it could say the same thing today! In this case I feel the film is more important today than it was when it was made. A long time ago Malcolm said Lindsay wouldn't be appreciated until after he was gone and sadly I think he was right...I can't recommend this film enough." Alex Thrawn, New Jersey (www.malcolmmcdowell.net)

"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. Thank goodness a movie comes along now and again that says 'no you don't you know nothing!' O Lucky Man! is like Pulp Fiction and High Hopes it is a smarter film than you are a film watcher...
O 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... If you think film is about anything more than simple entertainment, O Lucky Man! is a must-see..." Peter Hayes, United Kingdom, 5/9/05

"What films do we include in our top lists? The ones that affected us in some very personal ways or changed something not maybe our lives but he way we watch movies... O Lucky Man! is a constant source of joy when I watch it again and again...one of the best unfairly forgotten films ever." Galina, Virginia, U.S.A., 6/18/04

"Fighting means commitment, means believing what you say, and saying what you believe. It will also mean being called sentimental, irresponsible, self-righteous, extremist and out-of-date by those who equate maturity with skepticism, art with amusement, and responsibility with romantic excess. And it must mean a new kind of intellectual and artist, who is not frightened or scornful of his fellows." Lindsay Anderson (1923-1994) director: "This Sporting Life" (1963 first feature film); "If...." (1969); "O Lucky Man!" (1973); "Britannia Hospital" (1982); "The Whales of August" (1987); "Is That All There Is?" (1992 autobiographic documentary)

"He had a tremendous complicity with actors, so that you always felt you were creating something with him, not for him, and I found him unique among directors in this regard." Alan Bates

"He was a conscience for us all." Karel Reisz, independent filmmaker British "Free Cinema" movement

"Anderson is the greatest film satirist of all time...the films (If..., O Lucky Man!, and Britannia Hospital) are also deeply funny, eerie, lacerating and sobering. You will not think the same of your upbringing, your job and where it's going after seeing them. He was a master of pacing and storytelling; his films are always the Big kind, like Kubrick or Greenaway, but unlike those very much with his feet in the mud with the rest of us." John Roberson 12/9/99

"For me, this magnificently challenging film is simply Anderson's masterpiece. Though very much a part of its time (just look at the multi-language sing-along titles during Alan Price's song 'Changes'), there's really nothing like this long, darkly humorous variant on Candide. Rich, densely layered, disturbing, unique and strangely satisfying in a way few films ever have been." Ken Hanke, 5/30/07

"Probably, no definitely, THE greatest 'sleeper' I've ever seen." Les Easterling, Jr. 7/8/04

"Without a doubt, the movie that felt it all. Timeless." Ron Bieselin 9/27/01

"If Kafka had written 'Candide' the result would have been 'O Lucky Man!' " - Toni Mastroinanni, Cleveland Press 8/30/73

"Intelligent, witty and subtle. Marvellous film, great music, superb performances." Lord Smiley 8/9/01

"The gradations of sham and corruption and the quirky contours of Lindsay Anderson's modern Candide/Everyman. Mick Travis learns the bitter lesson of how to play the game for all it may (or may not) be worth in this valiant, comic, yet quietly sad three hour journey to a kind of wisdom." - Don Druker, Chicago Reader

"Quintessentially surreal, and very English." Wayney 2/6/01

"Saw this in a film class in college with the prof. prefacing the screening by saying it's the film that changed his cinematic life. Having been a fan of [this same director's film] 'IF....' I was equally impressed with the followup. I'm so happy this is on DVD now. Now I can buy the DVD and the Alan Price soundtrack and float away on a blissful cloud of social commentary..." - Steve C. 11/26/07 (avclub.com)

"It's easy to regard 'O Lucky Man!' as an extended riff on Stanley Kubrick's 'A Clockwork Orange', released two years earlier and also starring the then-meteoric McDowell. What's tragic is that one [film] is rightly regarded as a classic, while the other is all but forgotten. Both are episodic black comedies. Both put their protagonists through a series of intense changes. There are stretches served behind bars, and heartfelt reformations that come to naught. Key members of the supporting casts overlap. Kubrick is a lot darker, inevitably, though Anderson's freewheeling saga contains...assault and a torture-induced confession that'd make Dick Cheney proud. And long before she became Dame Helen and won a gazillion awards, Helen Mirren shares a substantial chunk of screentime as Patricia, Mick's elusive object of desire. She's still a beauty today, but at age 26 she was a voluptuous, Shakespearean-trained stunner... It's a vital, vastly entertaining movie, even if the ending winds up with Mick Travis morphing into Malcolm McDowell, [auditioning for and] winning a starring role in a project that looks suspiciously like "If...." Having swallowed its own tale, the film concludes with [musician and writer of the film score] Alan Price belting out the title tune. It's an anarchic finale very much in keeping with its time, perhaps the one element in the package that looks dated. Price, once the keyboard man with The Animals, composed an LP's worth of original songs for the film and they're a splendid set, deeply integral to what transpires during the narrative. O Lucky Man! was already a great film from a decade rich in subversive fare, but Price's sublimely sardonic contribution knocks it out of the ballpark. See the movie any way you can, but definitely buy the hook-laden soundtrack CD." John Boonstra, Slant magazine, April 2007

"Great movie, cutting edge yet soft and subtle, with none of the over-the-top excesses of modern-day ...Hollywood. I guess that's what I like most about this film: the awesome power of the movie which you discover is wrapped in nothing more than quiet, unassuming garb. Christ-like in its presentation. Cinematography is remarkably fresh and current-looking. I was amazed to see this film was dated thirty years ago, 1973." Eric, Seattle, WA 8/2/03

"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... Very rarely a director and actor can bring such glories from each other. DeNiro and Scorsese. Von Sternberg and Dietrich. Kazan and Brando and very few others." Marco Saguado, Los Angeles 3/13/04

"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, travelling through my brain as a familiar song with constant new messages. Malcolm McDowell and Lindsay Andersn have blown us away with 'If....' a couple of years before [O Lucky Man!]...
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 whet your appetite. If you haven't seen it, don't miss it." C.C. Rivelli, Rome, Italy

"This remarkable, largely 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...
Mick Travis' journey through early '70's 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 a hard one, but the film makes it clear that it's not unreachable.) ...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 poignance, 'O Lucky Man!' deserves to be recognized as one of the great films of the 1970's, and perhaps of all time." Miloc, Bronx, N.Y. 3/4/02

"There is something intriguing about this film. It won't suit everybody, but if you are in a reflective mood you'll find yourself drawn into the story and becoming fascinated by it. It is a journey through life and its experiences direced with a deftness and real respect for the material. The points are all made with a lightness which somehow makes the film all the more effective. You watch the story unfold and are reminded of your own life's progression. ...A classic often overlooked by mainstream film critics."
Neilmac, Sydney, Australia, 10/11/03

"Having seen the film several times since (and turned some friends on to Lindsay Anderson), I was truly surprised at how this film has not only not [become] dated, but actually has more relevance now than it did some 27 years ago." [as of 2001] John Redmond, Seoul, South Korea, 9/24/01

"There is something about the film O Lucky Man!, perhaps a mixture of the oddness, the apparent randomness of it all, the impacts of the events and people, and McDowell's great portrayal of a seemingly clueless but sympathetic character that draws the viewer in to care about the events. Ultimately this is a movie that I doubt anyone can fully appreciate right after viewing, much less while actually viewing it. I think that full appreciation requires at least some time to digest the film afterwards and possibly another viewing later..." Wolfstan10, U.S.A., 11/1/05

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