In an indictment of the British public school system, we follow Mick and his mostly younger friends through a series of indignities and occasionally abuse as any fond feelings toward these schools are destroyed. When Mick and his friends rebel, violently, the catch phrase, "which side would you be on" becomes quite stark.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The final shot actually repeats the same short bit of action backward and forward several times (smoke can be seen rising and then going back down, for instance) before finally going to a freeze frame See more »
Travis steals a bike and drives to the Packhorse Cafe. As he rides in, there are no cars parked near the café. In the next shot, when he gets off his bike, there's a car in the background that wasn't there before. See more »
The film's opening prologue states: Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding PROVERBS IV:7 See more »
In the UK, the BBFC requested that scenes of male and female frontal nudity be removed from the film in order to pass with an X certificate. The director removed the male frontals however, he negotiated with the BBFC and the female frontal nudity of a woman walking down a hallway was allowed. See more »
"Don't forget boy Look over your shoulder 'Cause there's always someone coming after you"
The first entry to the Mick Travis trilogy ("If...", 1968, O Lucky Man, 1973, and "Britannia Hospital", 1982), "If.." is a surreal black comedy about an English private boys' school and a student rebellion. In his three films, Anderson had covered all aspects, politics, and institutions of British Society from 1968 to 1982 with its complex system of class differences and privileges. "If..." which was released in 1968 at the peak of youthful rebellion in Europe and USA, received BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations and won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival where it competed with 27 films from all over the world.
Anderson was in part inspired by Jean Vigo's 41 minutes long "Zero for conduct" (1933) about the similar to "If..." subject. Like in Vigo's film, Anderson inserts some surrealistic episodes shot in black-and-white and according to him, it was driven by budget rather than style. Malcolm McDowell in his first big screen role and the first of three Mick Travis' movies is a charismatic leader of the rebel students who call themselves the Crusaders and like to break the rules. The cruel corporal punishments from the faculty and the older students provoked a bloody uprising against the school system.
Made almost 40 years ago, "If.." still has a power to shock as well as to entertain and it remains an outstanding and controversial depiction of the problems that have not disappear from the English public school system or from any school system as well as from society in general.
I am sure that Stanley Kubrick saw "If..." and was impressed by McDowell's debut performance, by his charisma that shines through his close-ups and especially in the final shot of "If...", and by his face that strangely combines innocence and youthful openness with cynical scornful almost reptilian contempt for humanity. I believe that "If..." was the reason Kubrick offered the part of charming psychopath Alex to the young actor.
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