Cinema: Enlightened Mischief

O LUCKY MAN!

This nearly overwhelming film is part epic allegory, part lighthearted Brechtian morality play and part three-ring circus. It is the saga of a young English coffee salesman (Malcolm McDowell), a description as precise and inadequate as saying that Gulliver's Travels concerns the misadventures of a ship's surgeon. In O Lucky Man! Lindsay Anderson calls on all the resources of the cinema, challenges them and extends them. The movie is brash, eclectic, innovative, deeply personal and elusive—all at once. It is a transcendent movie; perhaps even a great one.

The story is a sort of streamlined Pilgrim's Progress shot through...

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