7.8/10
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77 user 33 critic

O Lucky Man! (1973)

This sprawling, surrealist musical serves as an allegory for the pitfalls of capitalism, as it follows the adventures of a young coffee salesman in Europe. Many actors play multiple roles, giving the film a stagy tone.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (based on an original idea by)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mick Travis / Plantation Thief
...
Sir James Burgess / Monty
...
Gloria Rowe / Madame Paillard / Mrs. Richards
...
Mr. Duff / Charlie Johnson / Dr. Munda
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Patricia Burgess / Casting Assistant
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Stewart / Prof. Millar / Meths Drinker
...
Factory Chairman / Prison Governor
Dandy Nichols ...
Tea Lady / Neighbour
Mona Washbourne ...
Neighbour / Usher / Sister Hallett
Philip Stone ...
Jenkins / Interrogator / Salvation Army Major
Mary MacLeod ...
Mary Ball / Salvationist / Vicar's Wife (as Mary Macleod)
Michael Bangerter ...
William / Interrogator / Assistant / Released Prisoner
Wallas Eaton ...
John Stone (Coffee Factory) / Col. Steiger / Prison Warder / Meths Drinker / Film Executive
...
Master of Ceremonies (Nightspot) / Warner / Male Nurse
Bill Owen ...
Supt. Barlow / Insp. Carding
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Storyline

Follows the literal and associated life journey of middle class Brit, Mick Travis, representing the "everyman", as he tries to make his mark in his so far young life. He is able to make great strides in his traditional view of success by being what those in authority want him to be. As such, he achieves in a few weeks what it usually take years for others, namely having his own sales territory - the northeast and ultimately Scotland - for Imperial Coffee. He is also able to garner a plethora of fringe benefits from this job, including women throwing themselves at his feet. But he will ultimately face a struggle in class and authority warfare, which culminates with his encounter with the Burgess family - wealthy Industrialist Sir James Burgess and his daughter Patricia, who Mick wants to marry - the former who is contemplating investing in the shady dealings in Zingara. Mick will also find that the class struggle not only applies in his case in an upward direction, but also in a ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Smile while you're makin' it. Laugh while you're takin' it. Even though you're fakin' it. Nobody's gonna know...

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

20 June 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un hombre de suerte  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(opening sequence)| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lindsay Anderson: as himself, casting 'O Lucky Man' itself. He also appears in the opening and closing musical renditions of the title song, sitting in the recording studio, and embracing Malcolm McDowell in a scene at the end. See more »

Goofs

When the crowd at the "orgy" starts calling for "Chocolate Sandwich" Travis' cigarette suddenly appears in his mouth, where it wasn't an instant before. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Duff: Always remember gentlemen, that you are a failure in catering if you don't know what to do with your leftovers.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Na plovárne: Miroslav Ondrícek (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

O Lucky Man!
Written by Alan Price
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User Reviews

 
An overlooked, strangely upbeat satirical masterpiece.
4 March 2002 | by (Bronx, New York) – See all my reviews

This remarkable, often overlooked film deserves a higher critical reputation than it has largely received. It represents a blossoming of the themes introduced in "if..." (the previous film in Anderson's trilogy) and a playful, even strangely upbeat reworking of those ideas.

"if..." was an explosion of the subconscious, repression fermenting into fantasized revolution; in "O Lucky Man!" the repression has matured into deep, abiding social, political, and economic corruption-- but the fantasies have matured as well. Mick Travis's journey through early '70s England features calamity after calamity, atrocity piled onto atrocity, but it feels lighter than air. It rises like a joke-filled balloon. That vantage point gives the viewer the two advantages unavailable to Travis: wisdom and perspective, and the film's humor comes from the distance between us and the characters scurrying below. (But the film is not, I think, cynical; the road to enlightenment may be hard one but the film makes it clear that it's not unreachable.)

Surrounding Malcolm McDowell's indefatigable Candide of a hero, the supporting cast flows in and out of their multiple roles like a comic repertory company, in which the same actors show up in scene after scene shuffled into a new assortment of scoundrels, con-artists, victims and sages, climaxing (don't worry, I'm not going to spoil it) in a beautiful, subtle joke which has to be seen to be understood.

From the silent-movie pastiches through Price's terrific songs (the music is used admirably) through wild, spontaneous moments of parody, uninhibited symbolic flourishes, and a few small scenes of genuine poignancy, "O Lucky Man!" deserves to be recognized as one of the great films of the 1970s, and perhaps of all time. It's certainly one of my personal favorites. Movies, I think, though bigger than ever, have become smaller and smaller at heart; more films should have the ambitions this film does and deliver on so many of them.


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