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O Lucky Man! is a 1973 British comedy-drama fantasy film, intended as an allegory on life in a capitalist society. Directed by Lindsay Anderson, it stars Malcolm McDowell as Mick Travis, whom McDowell had first played as a disaffected public schoolboy in his first film performance in Anderson's film if.... (1968). The film was entered into the 1973 Cannes Film Festival.

Plot

The film opens with a short fragment outside the plot. Grainy, black-and-white, and silent, a title "Once Upon a Time" leads to Latino labourers picking coffee beans while armed foremen push rudely between them. One worker (McDowell with black hair and moustache) pockets a few beans ("Coffee for the Breakfast Table") but is seen by a foreman. He is next seen before a fat Caucasian magistrate who slobbers as he removes his cigar only to say "Guilty." The foreman draws his machete and lays it across the unfortunate labourer's wrists, bound to a wooden block, revealing that he is to lose his hands for the theft of a few beans. The machete rises, falls, and we see McDowell draw back in a silent scream. The scene blacks out, the word NOW appears onscreen and expands quickly to fill it.

Awards