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

Malcolm McDowell , David Wood , Lindsay Anderson    R (Restricted)   Blu-ray

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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.

• 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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLU-RAY EDITION IS A MUST HAVE Oct. 20 2011
By Robin Simmons - Published on Amazon.com
Divisive, entrenched, English class struggle is at the heart of Lindsay Anderson's much-lauded but controversial film about students at a private school who revolt against their repressive, bureaucratic environment. Malcolm McDowell is non-conformist Mick Travis who, with his like-minded friends, stages small acts of rebellion and defiance for which they are punished with severe beatings.

At the time of initial release, the movie was considered dangerous and a possible incitement to violence against the powers-that-be. And in many ways, it was (and still is)!

The film was editorialized as a dangerous, irresponsible film (not unlike A CLOCKWORK ORANGE or Z). Edited with jolting but effective use of color and black and white footage, the most famous scene is the surrealistic and bloody student uprising against the reserved, humorless, restrictive adult world. Daring and unpredictable, the film was a great success among the youth of the time and further empowered the counter-culture that included that other English import, the Beatles. The new Blu-ray edition is one for the library.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Blu Ray Disc only Oct. 2 2011
By Gadget Freak - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I will confine myself to a review of this Criterion Blu Ray Edition.

The transfer is every bit as good as you would expect from Criterion and even if you have the Criterion DVD, its worth the upgrade. The extras are excellent, not least the commentary tracks and booklet. My only hope is that before too much longer Criterion do justice to Oh Lucky Man!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mick Travis: "One man can change the world with a bullet in the right place." March 6 2014
By Annie Van Auken - Published on Amazon.com
The original script of IF.... (1968) was entitled "Crusaders," which is also the name of the eighth and last chapter of this movie.

It's an arty film done in both Eastmancolor and b&w that's probably considered very un-PC in these post-Columbine (and other school tragedy) days.

The boys' college depicted, with its corporal punishment, poor food, multiple strict rules and sharply defined hierarchy, seems more suited to 1868 than a century later. The character played by Malcolm McDowell, who came to prominence with his maverick role here, is labeled "Guy Fawkes" by a classmate; a peg that fits the boy well, for anarchy is what Mick Travis "majors" in.

It all seems so wrong. The parents of these children of wealth pay £623 per annum to have their sons harrassed, cold-showered, humiliated, whipped and browbeat into the sort of men who will one day send their own progeny to such a backward thinking institution.

Traditions are set in stone. It's a miserable life for otherwise privileged kids, but rebellious Mick has his own agenda, a way to fight back that's ironically foretold in a Bible passage heard during a Sunday sermon. He and three other "Crusaders" set off a smoke bomb under the floorboards of their venerable school chapel, and await from rooftop perches a panicked exiting crowd of mostly elders....if....
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT April 3 2014
By Peter M - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Controversial when originally released. The film has never dated and the music is unforgettable. One of the all-time greats in British films.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Only for the Delusional, Pathetic IMDB Fanboys. Feb. 9 2014
By Austin Somlo - Published on Amazon.com
Viewed: 2/14
Rate: 3

2/14: If not for Malcolm McDowell (who was good in anything he did), If.... would be dismissed as a pseudo babble allegorical picture about England's school system and be long forgotten. Nothing in the movie made sense. I was forced to agonizingly watch the backwardness of all the characters involved. There was the inexplicable scene where the female faculty member walked naked in the boys' dorm. Explain that to me, but wait...I don't really care. Ditto for the "tiger mating" scene with the nude waitress. It's said that Malcolm just wanted to see Christine Noonan naked; hence, he asked her, and the rest was history. Of course, to solve the problem was to have a school shooting. Brilliant thinking. However, I was a bit confused there; was the schooling voluntary for many of them, and they can leave anytime they want? I read that some of the viewers who found many of the instances in If.... to be true when they were former students at the schools. Well, pity the fools for doing nothing about it and letting go of the situation. That's why the United States of America was founded: to escape the backward Dark Ages culture. Probably one of the most annoying aspects about the film was the back and forth between color and black/white. It's been mentioned that the makers ran out of money and had to make do with black/white to finish off the film. The other reason was that they simply got lazy and shot the scenes in black/white. All in all, If.... was an ineffably ridiculous picture, and it's solely made for the delusional, pathetic fanboys.

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