29 October 2007 | Galina_movie_fan
O Lucky Day!
Finally, I hold in my hands The Two Discs Special Edition "O Lucky Man!" (1973), one of my most beloved movies ever released by Warner Bros. Pictures. It took 34 years for the second, and IMO, the best chapter in Lindsay Anderson's Mick Travis trilogy to receive the DVD transfer, and to become available for the happy fans all over the world. Called by Leonard Maltin, "a memorable screen experience", it is for me an unforgettable experience, the movie that I first saw on the big screen thirty years ago in Moscow and since that time, it has became a constant source of joy, the example of inspiring, ahead of its day movie-making, the movie which I would watch over and over and never would get tired of or bored with. Brilliant performances, interesting twisted story that was in part inspired by Malcolm McDowell's own experience as a young coffee salesperson, and the great directing by Lindsay Anderson for whom, "To make a film is to create a world", made the film an instant classic and the cult favorite. The last but not the least are Alan Price and his band that provide the music commentaries to the Mick Travis adventures in the traditions of a Greek Chorus or Brecht's Theater. Each song, every note and each word feel so perfectly simple and so joyously cool that once you hear then, you won't forget them.
***Warning***: Keep in mind, three hours long movie is divided into two parts and recorded on two discs. If you plan to rent it from "Netflix" or "Blockbuster on line", make sure to include the bonus disk on your rental list.
The set contains the very welcomed bonus features - vintage featurette "O lucky man! Innovations in Entertainment", theatrical trailer, and new feature-length career profile "O Lucky Malcolm" (2006) directed by Jan Harlan. I highly recommend this documentary. Malcolm McDowell is terrific in it - exuberant, witty, self-ironic and enormously charming. He shares with the viewers his memories about Lindsay Anderson whom he calls the best after war British director, and his mentor and best friend. Anderson propelled him to the stardom after their very first film, "If...". When Stanley Kubrick who was thinking about adapting Anthony Burgess' ultra-violent controversial anti-utopia "A Clockwork Orange" saw Malcolm in "If..." he said to his wife Christiane, "that's it, this is Alex". Long after "A Clockwork Orange" was made, Kubrick said, "If Malcolm (McDowell) hadn't been available I probably wouldn't have made the film." It is interesting that originally Kubrick considered casting Mick Jagger as Alex de Large and the rest of Rolling Stones as his "droogs".
McDowell recalls his first American movie, Time After Time (1979). In the Time Travel Romance, he plays one of very few "good guys" of his career, H.G. Wells who not only wrote about a time machine, but actually created a working model. Wells runs after Jack the Ripper (David Warner) as far as the 1970s and meets the young modern woman (Mary Steenburgen) with whom he fells in love. McDowell and Steenburgen fell for each other in the real life, married and had two children. The marriage lasted for ten years but both actors are steel good friends. Steenburgen and the couple's two children, Lilly, the actress, and Charley, the producer/director, all participated in the documentary and found many good words for Malcolm. After watching the documentary, I have added three McDowell's films to my rental queue, "Time After Time", "Gangster #1"(2000) which the actor claims his best work since "A Clockwork Orange" and "Evilenko" (2004) which is based on the true story of Andrei Cikatilo, the worst Russian serial killer, nicknamed the Butcher of Rostov and 'The Red Ripper.' He was convicted of the murder of 52 women and children in the Russian Soviet Republic between 1978 and 1990.