O Lucky Man! (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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"O' Lucky Man's" greatest strength is its incredible scope: in merely three hours, the film provides a nihilistic and a-humanist answer for the meaning of life... a remarkable accomplishment for a single feature film. As salesman Travis journeys across the United Kingdom and attempts to sell coffee in England and Scotland, he has a series of loosely-connected experiences with a series of individuals, played by eleven actors in multiple roles, who represent fundamental literary archetypes. The situations Travis encounters run the gamut of human experience, from titillating and humorous to wildly surreal to sublime and poetic -- yet all revolve around the picture's central theme: that true success in life depends exclusively on luck and chance, instead of ethics or morality. Sherwin and Anderson handle the story's constant shifts in mood with finesse and ease, and during the picture's three-hour running time, every scene (without exception) packs a huge punch. Thematically, "O' Lucky Man" draws from classic allegories, notably "Candide.Read more ›
Other reviews have detailed the plot and themes in this sprawling, surrealistic allegory, so I'll just comment on a few themes and symbols not mentioned previously. The apple that is given to Mick seems to symbolize the Biblical "fruit of the tree of knowledge", which is used in the movie to great effect when he arrives at the medical center where gruesome genetic experiments are being conducted. Also, the genetic experiments seem to evoke Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, in which a compliant population is genetically engineered to love it's servitude. The shocking scene with a genetic "freak" shows a man's head on a sheep's body. The sheep is symbolic of one who unquestioningly follows authority and conforms to society.
I disagree with the reviewer who interprets the ending scene as Mick being "literally beaten into smiling". I beleive this is a reference to the Zen Buddhist practice in which a Zen master, suddenly and without warning, strikes a student with a rod to shock him out of illusory delusion, and into sudden enlightenment. The scene in which Mick is approaching the military base has him listening to a radio lecture on Zen, which would support this interpretation. The fact that Lindsey Anderson "awakens" Mick by striking him on the face with the very script of the movie itself, adds a cosmic "mobius strip" ending to the movie, and enlightens Mick into understanding that his true self is not to be confused with any of the roles he has played in the story, good or bad! A brilliant allegory about life!
it is modern take on Voltaire's Candide but with ten times the
dark humour, bitter social satire and cynicism. I have seen that
movie when I was 16 and no other movie ever had equal effect on
me. It was liberating - like reading "Breakfast of Champions" or
"Slaughterhouse Five" for the first time.
I still think of it as an amazing bit of work, and was lucky enough to attend a seminar on it in Los Angeles, hosted by Lindsay Anderson and Malcom McDowell, in which we learned among other things that the song "My Home Town" had a sequence of someone attempting suicide, which Travis tries to stop by climbing a rain gutter and effect a rescue, only to have it tear away from the building at the last moment. Anderson discovered that even the original negative of the scene had been destroyed by Warners, who felt that film was too long, and ordered the cut. Anderson joked about the impact of a 3 minute scene on a movie that was already running at a "leisurely pace" and found a first generation print of the scene under his bed. That night was to be the first time the film was to be screened as it was intended. This was not to be, and although he hand carried a print of the scene to be spliced into the film for the night, somehow, it still never happened! Which led to a very funny, and pissed off director howling at Hollywood for it's classic ineptitude. I'm waiting for my VHS copy to arrive to see if the video release has the footage restored. I'm recalling this from memory, about 15 years ago.. so I hope I haven't made too serious a mistake here.
The music however is another matter. The integration of the Alan Price and his band into the film, the strength of the songwriting, made it one of my favorite albums.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An awesome picaresque that will leave you with a lot to talk about. Definitely watch it in a group.Published 1 month ago by Trey Dozier
This may be a nice movie for people into a slightly bizarro world sort of thing. I was expecting a more zany comedy type of thing and stopped watching after an hour. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Joanne
This is my favorite film. It's great to have a digital/flawless copy since the cinematography is so good. It really is a great story like a myth. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Thomas Guard
"You know the preachers, and the poets and scholars don't know it, the temples, and statues and steeples don't show it, If you've got the secret just try not to blow it stay a... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Nigel S.
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|Split Across Two Discs||
I've never had a problem with the film being split as long as it comes at one of the built in chapters...I'm guessing it's at the point where Mick wakes up at the "studio" of Alan Price's band, as it was on the laser disc and vhs....makes a great break for a pee or a snack. Have you... Read More
Oct 22, 2007 by J. A. Goodman | See all 4 posts
|Why isn't this out on DVD yet?||
This is one of Helen Mirren's early films, and she is splendid in it. You would hope that a distributor would notice that and use it to promote a DVD release.
Sep 4, 2006 by N.. Martin | See all 3 posts
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