(aka 'Coffee Man')

Directed by Lindsay Anderson
UK / USA 1973


Made in 1973, as a follow-up to 1968’s If...., O Lucky Man! transposes Voltaire’s Candide[1] to modern Britain as it follows Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell) through the vagaries, hypocrisies and amoralities of contemporary society.  The viewer is plunged, along with Mick, headfirst into all of this, and is left reeling by what is a bewildering medley of surrealism, realism, music, self-reference, satire, spy-film, polemic and poetry.  Of course, this doesn’t make the reviewer’s job[2] easy.  Threads must be grabbed, and synopses eschewed, in the hope that some method or truth will be discovered beneath the madness.  What follows is an exercise in thread-grabbing.


The most tangible strand – and thus the first observation – is that O Lucky Man! is Lindsay Anderson's epic.  However, “epic” is here not meant in the familiar swords-and-sandals sense, which evokes such films as The Ten Commandments (1956) or Ben-Hur (1959), but in what Anderson designated the “classical, poetic sense”.[3]  The latter relates to a tale in which the main character undertakes a journey; faces diverse situations and characters; and, learning from his experiences, comes to some moral revelation by the end of the work.  This schema certainly fits nicely onto O Lucky Man!, just as it fits onto its literary precursors such as Candide or Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels Here Mick Travis bursts beyond the school boundaries which defined If..... to frolic across the whole of Britain; he meets an assortment of characters who are at once as outlandish and as recognisable as any Lilliputian or Brobdingnagian; and he achieves a new worldview by the end of the film.

Excerpt from Pete Hoskin's article on DVDBeaver located HERE



Theatrical Release: June 13th, 1973

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DVD Review: Warner (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover


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Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Runtime 1:27:51 (disc 1) + 1:30:15 (disc 2) = 2:58:06
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.73 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Disc 1


Disc 2

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1) 
Subtitles English, English (CC), French, None

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Malcolm McDowell, David Sherwin and Alan Price
• Featurette: O Lucky Man! - Innovations in Entertainment
Featurette: O Lucky Malcolm!
• Theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: October 23rd, 2007

Keep Case
Chapters: 23 + 22 = 45




Warner has done a very admirable job with Anderson's modern classic.  The 3 hour film is spread over 2 dual-layered discs (approx. 1.5 hours on each) - anamorphically and progressively transferred. The track is an unnecessarily bumped 5.1 and is supported by optional English (both STD and CC) and French subtitles.  I can see some good film grain (I'm sure its smooth grain and not digital noise) - detail and contrast are strong while colors seem somewhat muted (although this may be inherent in the film stock used). Overall image quality and audio (very consistent and clear) are both excellent.

Supplements include an optional commentary by Malcolm McDowell, David Sherwin and Alan Price. It's extremely informative - McDowell takes the lead and he is always interesting (he even talks of Kubrick's influence on the film) but I was also impressed by Price's knowledge - Sherwin sounds quite old but his recall was adequate bringing up salient points. This is a long film and there are many gaps where the narrative (or songs) are left to run. Each take turns for a while re-introducing themselves and taking the lead as if they were entering the room again. I think Anderson aficionados will enjoy it though (NOTE: We strongly recommend checking out Peter Hoskin's new article located HERE).

There are also two featurettes - O Lucky Man! - Innovations in Entertainment on disc one is short but on disc 2 we have O Lucky Malcolm! on Malcolm McDowell's career - it runs a full 1.5 hours and has input from the man, his friends, colleagues and others.  NOTE: This latter extra is also available on the new 2-disc A Clockwork Orange Special Edition (and hi-def versions of that film).

A great representative of 70's cinema with Anderson's unique talents shining through. "Masterpiece' is an appropriate term to use with this film. The supplements are a strong addition and we give this a very high recommendation! For the price this is an essential purchase.   

Gary W. Tooze



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Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC


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