Well, we ended the year in the Red, so we might as well start this new one with the Blues! I'm thinkin' we should all be feeling pretty lucky just to be alive on this 01-01-10 day of days, so to celebrate, today's special feature, is going to be "O Lucky Man," a UK jewel of a film filled with dry wit that most people wouldn't consider a 'monster movie,' but has a sequence in it that is just about as horrifying as it gets for me! That added to the fact that it's based on a concept by the star of the film, another Dungeon hero, Malcolm McDowell, and what more do you want? The prefect beginning to eine Jahre Neue, a Feliz Año Nuevo!, and hopefully at least one more year of stuff you need to know about!!!! So! Let's Rock!
"O Lucky Man" is about 3 hours long and filled to the brim with music by Alan Price, a man with many, many accomplishments, but will always be known as being the founding member and organist for the legendary iconic 60's band, The Animals! The Animals basically only released 3 albums, so you have no reason not to listen to each and every one of them!!
There's a whole lot of story here, so let's just get started!
This is a tale of a meager coffee salesman, and his quest for a decent day's earnings! With 9 films currently in some kind of production, Malcolm McDowell himself might be just as much of an overachiever as the character he portrays in this film, Michael Arnold Travis!
Rookie Michael has been given a big chance due to the untimely demise of another salesman, and on one of his first sales calls on his new route, before you know it, it starts getting weird, and he ends up in a private club, getting soused with the Mayor of the local township!!
They watch a few dirty movies, and then the chant goes out for everybody's fave routine, "Chocolate Sandwich!!" We, in turn, get the treat of hearing how cool and sleazy a Wurlitzer can really sound, thanks to Mr. Price!
There's just too much that happens in this film for me to try and describe it adequately with a couple of minutes of music and a handful of stills, so I'm gonna try to hit some of the high points!!
Michael innocently gets a little off course, which in turn, gets him into a whole lot of big-time trouble!! Here we have Michael being interrogated, and tortured a bit by Phillip Stone on the right and Michael Bangerter on the left! Almost all the actors in this film uniquely have at least 2 or 3 roles! I.E. Phillip Stone was also the character Jenkins, and the Salvation Army Major, and Mr. Bangerter also played William, one of the Assistants, and one of the prisoners!!
The whole damn compound blows to Hell, without the viewer ever knowing or even needing to know what was going on, and Michael barely escapes in all the confusion!!!
Michael then gets picked up hitchhiking and volunteers for some medical testing! That series of wires and cables on his head really looks like a crown of thorns to me, and I doubt it's a coincidence!
What's next is the part that really scared the living crap out of me the first time my young and impressionable mind saw it. Crossing animals and people is pretty damn horrifying and even more so, because Michael was going to be the next in line!!
Michael jumps out a window to escape that madhouse, and gets picked up again, this time by a traveling rock band! Enter Alan Price and the rest of the band, some of the few players with a solo role in this film!
The remarkable Helen Mirren is the free-spirited Patricia, the band's groupie and also the daughter of one of the richest men in the world! Helen began her career in the surreal 1967 film "Herostratus," and has made quite a career out of portraying herself, having over 100 TV appearances as Helen Mirren!! She also has a number of films in production today! What a Gal!!
Michael takes the lead, and goes to see Patricia's father to get his career jumpstarted again!
At that point, a commissioned scientist can't take the madness anymore and leaps out a window taking Patricia's Dad's assistant with him! Can you say instant job opening?
Patricia's Dad, Sir James Burgess is none other than Sir Ralph Richardson, a very fine actor whose career dates all the way back to the 1933 Boris Karloff film, "The Ghoul" (A film we're going to get around to one of these days) and also included another 1933 film, "Friday The 13th!" He was Bulldog Drummond in a couple of films, and played 'The Boss' in "Things To Come," but this might be the best still of him ever!!
A eulogy is delivered by Sir James to the under staff members and associates, and then it's back to work!!
And the band just keeps on playing!!! Here we have guitarist Colin Green, who went on to play with Tom Jones and Elton John etc, and bassist Dave Markee who has played with Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, Joan Armatrading and more, and still gigs today as the Dave Markee Jazz Collective, and promotes the Croydon Jazz & Blues Festival!!! He's not in this picture, but the band was filled out by a marvelous jazz drummer, Clive Thacker, who has worked with Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger for years!
As Capitalist Fate would have it, Michael gets pinned with yet another crime, that he has no knowledge of!!
Director Lindsay Anderson assures you that there is no chance of acquittal with this jury of peers!
Michael takes the fall, and does his time! Is this freakin' classic or what???
And after he's served his time........nice juxtaposition of Malcolm and Marc Bolan!!
In a moment of reassurance, the guy holding the sign is the same man who was part pork earlier in the movie!
Malcom/Michael gets the part, everything goes full circle, and there's one big cast party!! Life is a paártee, with you, or without you!!!!!!!!
Happy Freakin' New Year! Thanx to all you readers, may Bela and Boris watch over each and every one of you!!