The Music of If…. (1968, Lindsay Anderson).

Celluloid Wicker Man

Lindsay Anderson’s If…. (1968) has so many obvious visual qualities that it can sometimes be easy to overlook its highly original and thematically motivated use of music.  Anderson’s films are littered with all sorts of aural qualities though often tended to be more overt in his trilogy of Mick Travis films, the other two instalments being O’Lucky Man (1973) and Britannia Hospital (1982).  If…., however, marks a turning point in this musical style, perhaps a grounding where all of his aesthetic ideas and qualities found their freedom that perhaps were yet to materialise in earlier work such as This Sporting Life (1963) and Red, White and Zero (made only a year before If….).

The film’s surreal, haphazard narrative follows a young rebel, Mick (Malcolm McDowell), in a private school of the Eton/Harrow mold as he comes face to face with the miniature regime embodied, not in the school’s teachers…

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