Putting aside the fact that O’Lucky Man! is a very unique and individual satire on the state of England, covering the usual suspects of; North - South divide, the ruling class, power, poverty, corruption, social degeneration, what most excites the viewer is the sheer freedom of style and technique used to tell the story. What follows is a quivering selection of moments from the film to entice the reader into experiencing one of the best films ever made.
The use of the core group of actors playing multiple parts, and what great actors! Peter Jeffrey offering Malcolm McDowell a heartfelt apple, Arthur Lowe with a mischievous grin as the hotel manager, leading his charges into the den of projected sex movies and buxom waitresses. Mary McLeod offering Michael Travis her breast beneath the harvest festival festooned altar, the mad doctor Graham Crowden taking a pulse whilst shaking the old woman’s hand, Rachel Roberts reciting her shopping list whilst tidying her dingy flat before doing herself in.
The film features one of cinema's most shocking moments, when young Travis enters a hospital room and pulls back the bedding of a sick man to discover he has a huge quivering sheep’s body (MacDowell delivers the perfect scream at this point) Also on offer is the sight of Arthur Lowe, black-faced for his part as an African leader, a move completely fitting with the madcap and sometimes blunt satire of the film.
Saving the best for last, Ralph Richardson oozing effortless eccentricity whilst cleaning his glasses with a greasy old tie. Alan Price beating out his great tunes on camera and even popping up as himself, whisking a young and gorgeous Helen Mirren away in his band's van, driving to London and, adding to the film‘ s 'within a film' poignancy, Malcolm McDowell's naiveté, brought to a halt in the best of all movie endings when Lindsay Anderson asks him to smile, ’Why, I’ve nothing to smile about.’ All in all ‘A vigorous Robuster.’