O Lucky Man!

"Excellent"

O Lucky Man! Review


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 England. Soon he's making sales calls and finds himself sucked into an upscale swinger's club, complete with live sex shows. Life's looking up... at least until a lost Travis stumbles upon a secret military base and is tortured as a spy... only to be saved at the last second when something unseen goes awry, causing the base to evacuate.

And so it goes. Travis's escapades take him to an experimental medical compound (one of the best moments in the film), then to a hippie van, and on to becoming the assistant to a wealthy industrial magnate (Ralph Richardson, perfect here). Travis looks like he's finally about to make something of himself, as he promises throughout the film... only to find himself framed for exporting gold bullion and sentenced to prison for five years. He eventually emerges, completely non-bitter about the whole thing, and starts fresh again.

Yes, you'll wonder how long this can go on, but over the course of two DVDs you'll likely find yourself enthralled nonetheless. McDowell, appearing in nearly every scene, charms his way through the film's less sensical parts and offers hysterical reactions when he's faced with the impossible and the absurd.

Director Lindsay Anderson makes things even more surreal by casting almost all the major actors in multiple roles, making you question your own senses when the same faces pop up scene after scene. Will it all end as a dream? (No.) Will it really even make sense? (Well, in a way.)

Some have said that O Lucky Man! is a parable for capitalism, but that's true only in the scenes that deal with business. O Lucky Man! is actually an indictment of modern society in many ways, which makes it a cool companion piece to other McDowell classics If.... and A Clockwork Orange. Nothing is spared in this film. Under the happy surface and McDowell's smiling face, sexual politics, the military, the medical world, and even suicide find themselves skewered.

The DVD includes commentary from writer David Sherwin, McDowell, and Alan Price (who appears with a band to play musical numbers in between acts, one of the film's less successful affectations), plus an extensive profile of McDowell (about 80 minutes long), in which he discusses his entire career.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 178 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 20th June 1973

Distributed by: WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

Production compaines: Memorial Enterprises, Sam

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Fresh: 14 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Michael Arnold Travis, as Sir James Burgess, as Gloria Rowe / Madame Paillard / Mrs. Richards, Arthur Lowe as Mr. Duff / Charlie Johnson / Dr. Munda, as Patricia, Alan Price as Himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.