Last week I neglected to post my DVD pick of the week, but the pickings were slim and I couldn’t recommend anything. This week there are plenty of great new DVD releases to get excited about such as Polart’s release of Andrzej Zulawski’s The Devil (Diabel, 1972), The second Mario Bava DVD Box Set and Warner’s new Stanley Kubrick DVD Box Set, but my DVD pick of the week is Lindsay Anderson’s O Lucky Man! (1973), which was released by Warner as an impressive Two-Disc Special Edition on Tuesday.
I’ve been really happy to see Lindsay Anderson’s films finding there way onto on DVD this year. Anderson is one of my favorite British directors and one of the most important figures of the British New Wave, but his early films have often been hard to see in the U.S. and they were never made available on DVD until recently. Thankfully that’s finally changing. Criterion released Anderson’s brilliant If…. (1968) on DVD earlier this year and they recently announced their plans to release This Sporting Life (1963) in early 2008. Now Warner has entered into the Anderson DVD arena with their impressive Deluxe 2 Disc release of O Lucky Man! which as I mentioned over at Cinedelica earlier this week, promises to be one of the best DVD releases of the year.
O Lucky Man! is the second film in Lindsay Anderson’s trilogy focused around the character of Michael Arnold Travis aka Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell) who first appeared in If…. and made his last appearance in Anderson’s Britannia Hospital (1982). All three films offer a critical and humorous look at social and political concerns in Britain, which I personally find just as relevant today as they were some 40 years ago. O Lucky Man! is a sort of surreal musical satire that often veers off in the most unexpected directions, but I’ve always found it really engaging and that has a lot to do with Malcolm McDowell’s terrific performance as Mick Travis. Some of the musical numbers in the film don’t always work for me, but Anderson’s ability to mix brilliant eye-catching imagery with smart dialogue is hard to top. O Lucky Man! contains some of the director’s most impressive scenes, but this middle film in Anderson’s terrific trilogy seems to often be overlooked. Thankfully the new Warner DVD will give more people a chance to see the director’s follow-up to If…. and hopefully a new DVD release of Anderson’s Britannia Hospital is in the works since the Anchor Bay release is now out-of-print.