O Lucky Man! (5 stars)

O Lucky Man!

(15) 169min (Warner Home Video)


Lindsay Anderson’s 1973 masterpiece is long overdue a proper DVD release, particularly since it’s rarely shown on our television or cinema screens. In O Lucky Man!, Clockwork Orange star Malcolm McDowell draws heavily on his own formative experiences as a coffee salesman, working in collaboration with director Anderson and writer David Sherwin, the same team behind 1968’s revolutionary If . . . .

Inspired by Voltaire’s Candide, the result is a rambling, picaresque and consistently entertaining account of one British life, with Arthur Lowe, Ralph Richardson, Rachel Roberts and a youthful Helen Mirren playing recurring roles as they lead Mike Travis (McDowell) through an episodic set of scenes dealing with sex, racism, genetic engineering, social satire and suicide, complete with top notch musical interludes by Alan Price. Extras include a commentary from McDowell, Sherwin and Price and feature-length documentary O Lucky Malcolm; A biography of Malcolm McDowell. But O Lucky Man! is Anderson’s film, a deep, dark and blindingly brilliant attack on society’s mores, made with a passion and scope rarely matched in British cinema.