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If...: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray]

4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Christine Noonan, Robert Swann
  • Directors: Lindsay Anderson
  • Format: Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Aug. 30 2011
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B005152CAU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,438 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

If…., directed by Lindsay Anderson (This Sporting Life), is a daringly chaotic vision of British society, set in a boarding school in late-sixties England. Before Kubrick made his mischief iconic in A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell made a hell of an impression as the insouciant Mick Travis, who, along with his school chums, trumps authority at every turn, finally emerging as a violent savior against the vicious games of one-upmanship played by both students and masters. Mixing color and black and white as audaciously as it mixes fantasy and reality, If…. remains one of cinema’s most unforgettable rebel yells.

BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• Restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček and assistant editor Ian Rakoff, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Audio commentary featuring film critic and historian David Robinson and actor Malcolm McDowell
• Episode of the Scottish TV series Cast and Crew from 2003, featuring interviews with McDowell, Ondříček, Rakoff, director’s assistant Stephen Frears, producer Michael Medwin, and screenwriter David Sherwin
• Video interview with actor Graham Crowden
• Thursday’s Children (1954), an Academy Award–winning documentary about a school for deaf children, by director Lindsay Anderson and Guy Brenton and narrated by actor Richard Burton
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein as well as reprinted pieces by Sherwin and Anderson

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
This movie with Malcolm McDowell is a strange and bizarre piece of work, and prior to the modern day obsession with serial killers, this one is ahead of its time. I saw this film many years ago, and it still stays in my mind as a "trip." Of course being made oin l968, it is thematic for the times. It's got the music of the 60's and the styles and the language, but the character is out there, and the ending...you've got to see it to believe it. And this is many years before the Columbine massacre. All in all, though, I'd classify this movie in the dangerous realm, but interestingly provocative. Recommended!! (Not for the kiddies, though!)
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Format: DVD
Youth desires freedom - always has, always will. This movie, with some strong acting, captures that yearning. And it has the only attractive homosexual scene (romantic rather than explicit) that I've ever happened to see. Beyond that, the story gets silly. Yes, there were some harsh boys' schools, already reformed or gone when this film was shot. As a larger social analogy, "If" attacks a society that was at worst boring, at best wonderful, but hardly evil - Britain in the Sixties could not be classified as Stalinist or Hitlerian. Beyond our teens, most of us outgrow that sweet, intense need for anarchy. We accept with some degree of grace the limitations that define the human condition, usually through love for our spouses and kids who need us to behave in responsible ways. Other individuals (including an awful lot of artistic types) never do manage to mature. Most of the immatures just continue fantasizing like juveniles - that part of myself is still drawn to this film. Other immatures collapse over time into genuine nihilism, usually through intoxicants but sometimes violence, breeding sorrow and destruction for anyone unfortunate enough to love them. Incidentally, If is an exceptionally overpriced DVD (at the time of writing) for no apparent reason beyond corporate greed. So let's machine gun the capitalist pigs.
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Format: VHS Tape
When i got out of the Navy and moved to Atlanta in 1972, there was a great hole-in-the-wall cinema (174 seats, one broken) called "The Film Forum". George and Mike Ellis served the best fresh popcorn in town, and ran movies you just didn't see anywhere else in the early 70's -- I first saw "The Boys in the Band", "The Ruling Class" and "Phantom of the Paradise" at the Film Forum. I saw so many great films there that i can forgive them for running "Harold & Maude" about every fifth week...
In addition to two shows a night every evening of their regular feature for that week, they also ran a special $1 midnight movie on Fridays and Saturdays. (In later years, "Rocky Horror" became the midnight standard for a couple of years.)
And that is where i saw "...if..." for the first time.
I've been an anglophile most of my life (beginning at a rather tender age with "Swallows & Amazons"), so i had some idea of what English Public (private) School life was likely to be like, and may have understood what was happening here more quickly than some of my firends who saw it with me.
In the context of what starts out as a pretty starightforward-appearing school film, Anderson & MacDowell give us a rather Marxist allegory of modern class struggle, steadily but almost imperceptibly moving from realism to a surreal parable of revolution.
The final sequences, with the little old lady with the submachine gun blazing away screaming "Bastards! Bastards!", the school prefects organising the "good" (loyalist) students to fight the Revolution and pitched battle raging, have stayed with me ever since, even when i wouldn't see the film for years at a time.
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Format: VHS Tape
When I was in high school, we had a tradition where we'd go out and rent bad movies. Gradually, this changed to renting weird movies and eventually segued into renting GREAT movies. One of our favorite actors was Malcolm McDowell, the smirking imp we'd seen in "A Clockwork Orange" and later in "O Lucky Man!", another collaboration with the great British director Lindsay Anderson ("This Sporting Life", "In Celebration", "Britannia Hospital", and, incredibly, "The Whales of August"!) I grew particularly fond of his blend of sarcasm and vulnerability (vainly believing I possessed same; I may have been right) and as a result became quite desperate to see this rare movie, which was actually supposed to be BETTER than "O Lucky Man!" I didn't get to do so until a few weeks ago, fully nine years since I graduated high school. I was not disappointed.
As it stands, "If..." isn't only a great Malcolm McDowell film, it's also a great movie about the 60s in both Western society and more specifically Britain in its post-imperial hangover (one of the last British imperial dramas before the Falklands, the conflict in and evacuation of Aden--present-day Yemen--reached completion in 1967, probably while "If..." was filming). The title itself apparently comes from the famous Kipling poem which embodied the highest ideals of imperial Britain. College House, the school attended by Mick Travis--McDowell--and his two friends, is dominated by prefects, or "whips," seniors who control the student body in the name of the weak-willed headmasters and teachers, who represent the 60s radical view of liberal democracy.
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