A memorable film. I'm sure if it's a great film, but memorable, yes. Not least for a very early appearance from the wonderful Helen Mirren. …
I remember its release in 1973 very well, largely because of the Alan Price soundtrack that made some waves at the time. Deservedly so, for it is an excellent set of tuneful and witty songs. Alan Price – a great talent who is pretty much forgotten these days. Such is the pop life. But I never saw the film until now.
The movie is satire on capitalism and greed that occasionally sparks but often just slow burns. We found our attention wandering frequently over the 3 hours of play time. This is film better appreciated as a set of loosely connected set pieces that make better sense if watched separately. Something that's easy to do in these DVD days.
It stars Malcolm McDowell, at the time – and maybe these days – best known for his portrayal of the violent anti-hero of Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange". It's easy to spot the homages to Kubrick's film in many of "O Lucky Man!"'s scenes, from the white hats worn in the coffee factory in the opening scene to a dystopian episode where McDowell's character, Mick Travis, is tortured by government officials. However, Anderson's film is less disturbing – and less effective – than Kubrick's shocking masterpiece.
"O Lucky Man!" is well worth seeing. It is not a film that you are going to forget in a week's time, unlike the great majority of movies. It's not a classic. It may or may not be a film you come to love. It's quirky, somewhat schizophrenic, individualistic, unsatisfactory and yet full of brilliant little moments. It reminded me of a darker 'Monty Python' at times, and perhaps showed the way for Terry Gilliam's grimmer but more effectively realized post-Python gem, "Brazil". It is very well acted by a host of well-known British character actors as well as McDowell and the always stunning Helen Mirren.
I'm glad I saw it. Not least because it was a visual reminder of the England I knew as a teenager.